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Thread: Purple Stuff - Ear Cleaning

  1. #1
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    Default Purple Stuff - Ear Cleaning

    This may sound like a totally stupid question, but I was trying to buy the ingredients to make the purple ear cleaning solution that so many swear by:

    16 oz. bottle isopropyl alcohol (or witch hazel)
    4 tablespoons Boric Acid Powder
    16 drops Gentian Violet 1% Solution

    I went to Walgreens, and they had the Genetian Violet solution. However, when I asked the pharmacist where to find the boric acid powder, he said look on the insecticide aisle - for boric acid used to get rid of roaches.

    So, my question is: do different types of boric acid exist (like one for first aid, one for insecticide, etc.)?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member zipmarc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K Armes View Post
    This may sound like a totally stupid question, but I was trying to buy the ingredients to make the purple ear cleaning solution that so many swear by:

    16 oz. bottle isopropyl alcohol (or witch hazel)
    4 tablespoons Boric Acid Powder
    16 drops Gentian Violet 1% Solution

    I went to Walgreens, and they had the Genetian Violet solution. However, when I asked the pharmacist where to find the boric acid powder, he said look on the insecticide aisle - for boric acid used to get rid of roaches.

    So, my question is: do different types of boric acid exist (like one for first aid, one for insecticide, etc.)?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    I had the same problem with Walgreens and finally got it at Longs Drugs.

    You would want the straight boric acid powder found in the first aid section, and not the insecticide which comes in a different chemical form and bears a slightly different name.
    Mimi Cary Drake
    Zipmarc Retrievers
    Just Train Your Dog ~ Rex Carr

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jim Pickering's Avatar
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    Unless the boric acid in the insecticide section has other ingredients, it is likely the same thing. Boric acid is an effective for roach control as well as an effective fungicide. When we build our house just before any cabinets were installed I sprinkled boric acid on the floor where the cabinets were to be placed. The remainder went into a batch of the purple stuff.

    Check it out - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boric_acid
    Jim Pickering

  4. #4

    Smile

    CVS is a great source for these ingredients. Everthing you need at one store. Ask the pharmacist for the violet and the boric acid. Witch hazel is easy to find. Works great.

  5. #5
    Senior Member twall's Avatar
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    The boric acid crystals act as an irritant. While it may be toxic if the roachs ingest it that is not how it works.

    As far as cleaning ears. I work in an urgent care center and we flush ear on a regular basis. Unless the wax has hardend it is easily flushed out with warm water. Some nurses like to mix in some hydrogen peroxide too. Either a bulb syringe or a 10 cc or greater syringe, no needle, can be used to flush. A regular syringe allows for more force to be applied while flushing. The best way to plug ear canals is to use a q-tip in your ear and push the wax in deeper.

    Tom
    Tom Wall

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    Thanks for your replies - I think I've got it now.

    Took the house beagle to the vet yesterday with double-ear infections. He sold me some ear cleaner for over $10. Made me decide it might be time to give the purple stuff a try and save some $$$ -- too many canine ears to clean around here to spend $10 a pop on cleaning solution!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
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    bump, time to clean
    "So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold

    "The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery is not Ignorance -- It is the Illusion of Knowledge" ~ Daniel Boorstin

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    Senior Member fred's Avatar
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    Another thread on RTF that makes me realize I do not know enough about the care of my dog.

    So what is the correct way to clean my dogs ear? What is needed? How often?

    I normally use a car key to clean mine.
    Damon

  9. #9
    Senior Member badbullgator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twall View Post
    The boric acid crystals act as an irritant. While it may be toxic if the roachs ingest it that is not how it works.
    Tom
    Tom, just nit picking here, but it actually kills roaches and other insects through contact with their integument, the stuff that makes their exoskeleton hard. Since insects have no lungs they breathe through their skin. Boric acid effectively blocks respiration in the insect and causes it to slowly suffocate. It is a slow death in terms of an insect’s lifespan.

    The acid kills any yeast or bacteria found in the ears and not becase it is an irritant, but because it has a very low pH.

    Boric acid is not all created equally, but if it is pure boric acid it is probably fine to use in the purple stuff, however, reagent or pharmaceutical grade is preferred. The biggest issues with the BA for insecticides is purity and dissolvability. Impurities should not be an issue because it is an acid and not a lot of impurities will tolerate an acidic environment, certainly not any sort of microbial contaminate. The dissolvability could be an issue because you don’t want to be rubbing crystals into your dog’s ears; it would be kind of like rubbing them with sandpaper.
    Views and opinions expressed herein by Badbullgator do not necessarily represent the policies or position of RTF. RTF and all of it's subsidiaries can not be held liable for the off centered humor and politically incorrect comments of the author.
    Corey Burke

  10. #10
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    While I use & recommend "gentian violet solution", the common trade name for the solution under discussion, in recent years I have seen consistent recommendation to only use the witch hazel version due to the potential to damage the hearing of dogs that may already have ear infection through alcohol exposure.

    This solution is primarily a preventative treatment & not a treatment to cure or contain an existing issue. I use it after water work where water-borne bacteria might be a concern & otherwise every couple of weeks for general ear cleansing. As far as results, I can't remember any of my dogs having ear issues since I began using it.

    And BTW, it can be purchased at a reasonable price commerically at Urban Carnivore, www.urbancarnivore.com
    David Didier, GA

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