We use a tea tree oil-containing ear cleaner about twice a month, but I use dry kleenex and elbow grease everyday to get the wax out. Every few months I use some ear drops prescribed by the vet just to keep things at bay. If you have witch hazel, use that on a thin washcloth and see if gentle wipes can break up the buildup. I wouldn't use water or mineral oil, unless only on the cloth. If the build up is blackish it could be yeast buildup, and douxo wipes containing chlorhexidine will help. We use douxo once in a while in Lola's ears, but mostly on toes and tail pocket.