Allison Janney loves putting Q-tips in her ear, against the advice of her doctor


Allison Janney has a new movie coming out, Breaking News in Yuba County, on Feb 12. You can watch the trailer here. It looks batsh*t crazy, but like, in the best way possible and I cannot wait to see it. The cast is incredible and look like they are having a blast with their roles. Allison is also, of course, promoting the 8th season of Mom that is currently filming during COVID. She said she’s grateful to be able to film now, given so many other productions are still shut down. But they are taking every precaution including testing several times a week. Allison said she’s getting the mid-nose, swirl tests, rather than the “brain tickle,” and confessed she actually loves how they feel. The discussion turned to Q-Tips and Allison admitted she defies her doctor and goes for full penetration when it comes to ear Q-Tipping, simply because it feels so darn good.

On her germaphobe co-star whom she won’t name
Before COVID I had a scene partner I had to kiss. He was such a germaphobe he put Neosporin on his lips and asked me to put it on mine too before he would kiss me. I kind of unnerved me, but people are germaphobes.

She loves her mid-nose COVID tests and Q-tips in her ear
I really love the way it feels. It’s like a puppy getting scratched. It relaxes me.

There was an ear doctor [who] said ‘don’t put anything in your ear smaller than an elbow.’ I did not listen to him. I love the Q-tip in the ear.

Jimmy: I love it too. My ENT said ‘you’re going to put my kids through college.’ I have perforated my eardrum a number of times [doing that]. I’ll get ear infections out of it.

She keeps in touch with her West Wing costars
I love it. All of us are on an enormous text chain with each other. We text about everything. There’s a lot of abuse given on those text chains.

[From Jimmy Kimmel Live on YouTube]

For years I kept using Q-Tips for the very same reason. I remember the first time I heard my first-person horror story – a mom who had to run her young daughter to the emergency room in the middle of the night with a burst eardrum because she had no idea she was supposed to only keep the swap outside the ear. It horrified me. And yet, it still took me a decade to stop. My husband still uses. I am proud that I never swabbed my kids, they are and always have been swab free. It was odd getting used to a wet ear after the shower but I don’t even notice now. And my doctor confirmed my ears look fine, no buildup. But OMG do I miss the feeling. Watching my husband use a Q-Tip is like watching pr0n.

I am holding a tube of Neosporin in my hand and were I a germaphobe, like Allison’s costar, I think I would use it like lip balm. Many of the inactive ingredients can be found in lip balms as well. Neosporin’s whole schtick is that it prevents germs from getting in. It wouldn’t work, but I can see it acting as a placebo. But I also understand Allison seeing it as a commentary on the condition of her mouth. My favorite part, though, was the discussion about The West Wing text chain because I haven’t quite gotten over the WW. I love that Allison stays out of the put down battles because she recognizes Josh Malina, Dulé Hill and Bradley Whitford are merciless. Oh to be a reader on that chain.

I love, love, love Allison’s hair. She’s been sporting this cropped grey cut for a while and I thought it was for a role, but I guess this is her look now and she’s wearing a wig for Mom. It’s sharp. Speaking of Mom, I think it’s surviving post Anna Faris just fine. I really wish they would work on diversifying the cast, though. They just cannot seem to get that message.

Here’s Allison’s segment. I love all the dogs that wander in and out of frame during the interview.


Photo credit: YouTube, Instagram and Avalon

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43 Responses to “Allison Janney loves putting Q-tips in her ear, against the advice of her doctor”

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  1. Susan says:

    Q tip in the ear is how this middle aged former bad girl gets her kicks these days.

    OHGOD does this make me anti science?? I hope this isn’t my gateway drug into essential oils and Covid denying. If I start showing signs of this please intervene.

    • kimberlu says:

      I would like to up this bad girl behavior with a Qtip soaked in hydrogen peroxide in the ear. … eyes roll back in delight just thinking about how clean my ears will be and the feeling of the bubbles…..

      *just put them in your ear and don’t move them around…

      I have extremely small ears and canals, this is amazing and i heat better lol=)

    • Golly Gee says:

      Do you find it like an ASMR tingle, or more like scratching an itch? It’s a bit of both for me.

    • cassandra says:

      You can pry my q-tips out of my cold dead hands. 100 % the most satisfying feeling in the world haha

  2. Leigh says:

    Same, girl, same. *hangs head in shame*

  3. Soni says:

    I don’t feel completely clean after a shower until that Q tip goes in my ear!

    • E.D says:

      That’s me too.
      I have tried to give up my q-tip addiction as I know they are not only bad for your ears but also bad for the environment and I KNOW it’s just a ‘mental-conditioning’ thing but I just don’t feel clean without going in there after a shower.

  4. Stacy Dresden says:

    I just don’t like plunge it deep into the ear. Just a swirl. I’ve never had an issue

    • Teresa says:

      Yea I feel it’s very easy to control how deep you go. I go in, get my satisfaction, then stop. I haven’t had an ear infection I would imagine since I was a baby. Never one I can recall. So q-tips remain a go for me. Also my husbands ears are always gunky looking and mine are pristine. If you want to be safer roll up some toilet paper and dig in there. Without the stick it’s harder to screw up.

      • lucy2 says:

        I’ve never understood how people can push so far in as to break the eardrum! I’ve always clean inside my ears, and have never had any issue with it, no impaction, no blocked hearing, nothing.

  5. greenmonster says:

    The movie looks amazing and it has Clifton Collins Jr. in it! This alone makes me want to watch the movie. Oh and yeah, I use Q-tips, too.

  6. Sandra says:

    Still use them after my shower every morning. Can’t not! I panic if I run out. Yeah, maybe it’s a problem. I also have to use hand cream every time I dry my hands..
    I do like Janney with silver hair.

  7. Mignionette says:

    Urgh this is a horrible habit for me despite numerous ear infections.

    I need to stop.

  8. megs283 says:

    I love her hair color. It’s more flattering than the blonde (which washes her out). The grey brings out a rosiness in her complexion!

    • psl says:

      I ditched the dye 11 months ago, and am almost all grown out. I LOVE seeing Allison this way!!!

    • ClaraBelle says:

      My hair color is the same silver-white as hers and I love it. I wear it very short (pixie) and I get way more compliments than I did when I was younger and had mousey brown hair!

    • Anne Call says:

      I need that hair cut ASAP. Haven’t cut or colored my hair in 5 months and I think that’s the look I want. We have similar coloring and my hair is growing out very white.

    • megs283 says:

      Love it, ladies!!! I only have a few grey hairs (>20) but I’ve been letting them grooooow.

  9. Seeker542 says:

    I routinely clean my ear canals, and the trick is to use swabs with paper sticks because they at least bend versus plastic will hurt your ears. Of course don’t go so far in that you could perforate an eardrum.

    I will defend my use of swabbing with tea tree oil every so often because a few years ago I came down with the nastiest double ear infection and never want to be sick like that ever again. (Definitely needed if I’m wearing earbuds a lot.)

    • Nikki* says:

      Do you mean tea tree oil prevents ear infections??

      • Seeker542 says:

        It’s all sorts of antimicrobial so it gets the job done. I haven’t had an ear infection since 🤞🏻

        I can’t say if it’s a medically recommended solution per se.

  10. Jess says:

    I was an obsessive q-tip user until I started working in urgent care and cleaning out impacted ears, and realized I had the same thing! For years I heard ringing in my ears and constantly asked people to repeat themselves, one of the doctors I work with checked my ears and sure enough both were full of hard wax! I couldn’t believe how much better I felt when those came out.

    Now I fight with my coworkers over who gets to clean out ears, I find it oddly satisfying. Patients are always apologizing and embarrassed when these huge balls of wax and cotton come out and I’m like don’t apologize you just made my day, lol.

    • Ash says:

      Oh my god, having your ears professionally flushed out (as the recipient of you and your colleagues’ hard work!) is so so satisfying. I’ve also never apologized to the doctors/nurses who’ve had to do it to me every few years as seeing that huge, gross wax plug fall out…bliss. So I’m glad to hear they, like you, may enjoy it too!

    • ClaraBelle says:

      I’ve used Q-tips after showering for decades and never had an issue. I think the risk is probably greater if one has DRY wax (mine’s wet). Whether you have wet or dry ear wax is genetically determined.

    • IMUCU says:

      Yes, I do ear flushes too at work and all of us RNs show each other what we get if it’s decent size. I actually had to have mine flushed a couple of weeks ago, first time ever, and some impacted wax (not a lot, but more than I imagined) came out…so I’m off the QTIP wagon now, and I loved those things too!

    • Anne Call says:

      I never had ear wax until the last 5 or 6 years and now I have to go get it flushed out every 6-9 months. Dying right now because it’s really driving me crazy but I just got first vaccine shot last weekend and not going anywhere until my second. So canceled my doc appt and will just be saying “pardon” and “what” to my husband a lot for the next month.

    • megs283 says:

      That reminds me of when I went to get a cyst looked at and then squeezed out by my NP. I wanted to vomit during the process, but she said I was making her day. ARGGHHHH

  11. Mireille says:

    Speaking of Mom, does anyone know the real reason why Anna Faris left? She was under contract for another 2 years. I really liked Mom at first as I have experience with developing friendships with members of a 12-step program, but I hate the recent changes. As for diversifying the cast, they had Octavia Spencer and Leonard Roberts on the show with great storylines, but dropped them completely. There’s goes any sense of trying to diversify the cast and storylines. They were great. And then they casted Kristen Johnston, loud-mouth and one-note actress who’s just playing her character from 30 Rock from the Sun. The 2 older women on the show — Mimi Kennedy and Beth Hall — who have been on the show for ages and whose characters could have been better developed — get pushed aside for storylines involving Kristen and Jaime Pressley (who just comes off as rich snob bully on the show). That smacks of ageism to me. I really liked the show at first and loved Octavia, Leonard, Anna, and Allison, but now they’re focusing a lot on the more mediocre characters — the “pretty rich girl” and the “loud-mouth boor”.

    • molly says:

      I’d be curious why she left too. Eight seasons of a network sitcom might not be professionally fulfilling, but it’s $eriou$ money and relatively easy work.

  12. Case says:

    I’ve always used them to just sorta clean around the outside edge of my ears – I never plunge it in deep so I feel like I’m not causing any issues.

  13. lucy2 says:

    I love Allison’s hair, she’s rocking the cut and color.
    Her house looks pretty too, that vase of flowers behind her is lovely.

  14. Valerie says:

    Okay, I’ve never really liked her (except in 10 Things I Hate About You), but if I may be shallow for a minute, she looks SUPER hot with gray hair, omg. And in the red carpet one, I can see why people mix her up with Christine Lahti.

  15. kimberlu says:

    mine tingles :D

  16. Maria says:

    Those baby safety swabs are my favorite.

  17. souperkay says:

    I have something similar to this:

    But I have found that I don’t use it much. I have learned the lesson that the ear is self-cleaning and I use my soft & flexible silicone face scrubber on the outer canal to remove wax w/Cerave gentle face wash in the shower. This gets the exiting wax pretty well, so I don’t frequently feel the need to use the spiral cleaner.

  18. GuestwithCat says:

    Almost all the earbuds now are the kind that jam into the ear. I think it’s horrible but that is how they’re designed. It’s hard to find the old style like I had in college.

    So I clean my ears with a q-tip after a shower. I have a technique that hopefully doesn’t push the wax in.

  19. Jaded says:

    I cannot STAND the feeling of water in my ears after showering. It’s sort of itchy and uncomfortable so I too am among the legions of people who have healthy ears even though I Q-tip daily.

  20. Winnie Cooper’s Mom says:

    I’m obsessed with Q-tipping my ears and even take it one step further with a Bobby pin (the curved part). Yes I know it’s dangerous to even try it but I’ve been doing this for 10 years without any issues, and it’s beyond satisfying. I call it an “eargasm.” It’s crazy all the stuff that comes out!

    • elle says:

      You just made my day. I have a bobby pin here at my desk for that very reason.

      I must live under a rock. What else are Q-tips for? They’re ear-canal-sized! I also didn’t know ear-flushing was a thing or that one could go to a doctor for it.

  21. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    Q-tips seem like one of those products that only exist because people misuse it. I mean, if everyone stopped using Q-tips in their ears, why bother manufacturing them?

  22. Dude says:

    I had a friend that called this an “eargasm”