Have you been putting Q-tips in your ears?

Well, you shouldn't be. As The Washington Post noted last January, "Plenty of consumer products are widely used in ways other than their core function ...[but] Q-tips are one of the only, if not the only, major consumer products whose main purpose is precisely the one the manufacturer explicitly warns against."

That's right: experts say putting Q-tips in your ear canal can increase the risk of infection, and can even rupture your eardrum or other small and delicate ear bones.  

"You don't push a Q-tip in there because ... you can really clog your ear up," said medical ethicist Arthur Caplan.

"It isn't the best tool. It looks like it's working but things are made, oftentimes, worse," he continued.

Caplan recommends, when the urge strikes, using a gentle oil or cleanser to get stubborn wax out instead.

"You want to wash your ear out," he said. "There's a way to clean it, but it's not by ramming things into your ear."

Click the audio player above to hear more from Art Caplan.