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Cleaning baby eyes, nose and ears

0-18 months

Your baby’s eyes, nose and ears need gentle cleaning once a day.

Cleaning baby’s eyes, ears and nose: basics

You can clean your baby’s eyes, ears and nose when you’re bathing him. Warm water is all you need. Avoid using soap because your baby’s skin is sensitive, and soap can dry it out.

Steps for cleaning baby’s face

Here are the basic steps for cleaning baby eyes, baby ears and baby noses:

  1. Get some cotton balls.
  2. Soak one cotton ball in some warm water.
  3. Clean the corners of your baby’s eyes, wiping gently from the inside corners to the outside corners.
  4. Use a new cotton ball for each eye.
  5. Wipe gently around each nostril to get rid of mucus. It’s best not to put anything inside your baby’s nostrils (including cotton buds). This can hurt the lining of the nose and cause bleeding.
  6. Wipe behind your baby’s ears and around the outside of each ear. Be careful not to stick anything (including cotton buds) inside her ear, because it’s very easy to cause damage.
  7. Wipe gently under your baby’s chin and neck, making sure you wipe between the folds of skin.
  8. Gently pat your baby’s skin dry using a soft towel. Make sure you dry under the skin folds and behind his ears.

Your baby might get upset when you try to clean her face. Talking gently to her or singing a song can help with this.

Newborns often have snuffly breathing when they’re overstimulated or tired. This is because they have very narrow nasal passages. If you notice your newborn sneezing a lot, don’t worry. This is normal and helps him get rid of mucus from his nose.

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Last updated or reviewed
10-10-2017

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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