Home Remedies for Ear Infections

Ear infections are caused by bacteria or viruses in the middle ear. Ear infections occur more often in children than adults. Some causes and contributing factors that lead to ear infections are wax buildup, upper respiratory infections, food allergies, environmental allergies, fetal alcohol syndrome, genetics, nutritional deficiencies and internal injuries. Some common signs that someone is suffering from an ear infection are pain in the ear, tugging at the ear, difficulty sleeping, headache, poor response to sounds, high fever, fluid draining from the ear, vomiting, diarrhea and so on.

ear infection

The ear is made up of three parts: outer, middle and inner.

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Each part has specific functions that help a person hear. You can see in the diagram that the outer ear which shape like a leaf captures the traveling sound waves. In the outer part of our ear, there is a section called as pinna and through this section the sound waves enter into the ear canal. Through the ear canal the sound waves reach the eardrum which is located in the middle part. In addition, the middle section of the ear also has other important ear organs like hammer, anvil, stir up, semicircular, and middle canal. Through the canal, sound waves travel to the inner section of our ear. In the inner part of the ear, there are important ear parts like cochlea, Eustachian tube, and nerves. Sound waves from the canal are sent to the nerves so that the brain can process the sound. After that we are able to recognize the sound and understand it.

An ear infection can occur in any of the three parts. Inner ear infections are the most serious. It is important to treat an ear infection to prevent complications, including damaging or rupturing the ear drum. Untreated ear infections can also lead to chronic recurrence and can even cause deafness! It is important to consult a doctor, but for immediate relief you can try some natural treatments. There are many time-honored, simple and easy home remedies that can help to get rid of the pain and other symptoms of an ear infection.

Here are the top 10 home remedies for an ear infection.

1. Salt

Salt is probably the most readily available home remedy.

  1. Heat up one cup of salt on a microwave, pan, or double boiler for about three to five minutes.
  2. Put the hot salt inside a thick cloth or sock. Seal the open end with a rubber band or tie a knot.
  3. When it is bearably hot, lay down and put the cloth on the affected ear for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Repeat this remedy daily as many times as needed. The heat generated from the sock will help draw out fluid from the ear and relieve swelling and pain.

As an alternative, you can use one cup of rice in the same manner described above.

2. Garlic

Garlic has antimicrobial properties and natural pain relieving qualities, making it highly effective in the treatment of ear infections. There are a few ways to use garlic as a home treatment.

  • Make garlic oil by cooking two garlic cloves in two tablespoons of sesame oil or mustard oil until it turns blackish. Strain the solution. When it is bearably hot, use two to four drops of this oil in the infected ear as ear drops.
  • Alternatively, you can also boil two or three fresh garlic cloves in water for five minutes, then crush them and add some salt. Put the mixture in a clean cloth and place it against the affected ear.
  • Consuming two to three cloves of raw garlic daily also helps speed up the healing process.

3. Basil

You can also use holy basil to treat minor earache and ear infections. It can relieve ear pain as well as reduce infection.

  • Crush four to five fresh holy basil leaves gently to extract the juice. Apply the basil juice on or around the infected ear. Avoid getting the juice in the ear canal.
  • You can also mix a few drops of holy basil oil with an equal amount of carrier oil like coconut oil. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and gently wipe just inside the ear, around the outer edge and behind the ear. Repeat the process twice daily.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

To get rid of the fungus that may be causing the ear infection, apple cider vinegar is a good option.

  1. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water or alcohol. Soak a cotton ball in the solution.
  2. Put the cotton ball in your ear like a plug and leave it for about five minutes.
  3. Remove the cotton ball and lay down on your opposite side to drain the liquid from the ear. Use a hair dryer to dry your ear as much as possible.

If apple cider vinegar is not available, you can use white vinegar. If the cause of the ear infection is in the Eustachian tubes, try gargling with apple cider vinegar.

5. Olive Oil

One of the main causes of an ear infection is wax in the ear catching some fungal or bacterial growth leading to a blockage in the Eustachian tubes. You can easily clear the obstruction with the help of olive oil.

  1. Warm some olive oil slightly. Put a few drops of the warm oil into the infected ear.
  2. The oil will cause the wax to soften. Remove the infected wax with cotton-tipped swabs. Be careful not to put the swab too far in the ear or you might damage the eardrum.

Alternatively, you can also use mustard oil.

6. Warm Water Bottle

As soon as possible, apply some heat to the infected ear. This will quickly relieve some of the pain and will also prevent micro-organism infestation.

  • Press a warm water bottle or heating pad against the ear.
  • You can also use a warm compress. Dip a clean washcloth in lukewarm water, ring out the excess water and then place the washcloth on the infected ear.
  • Do not apply heat to the ear for long periods of time. Start with five minutes, remove the heat for a while and then repeat the process as needed.

 

 

 

  1. betty shadoan May 9, 2013, 12:30 am

    t y,,,, for ur help,,,, I always had trouble with my ears ,, from age 3 to 41,,, n idk,, I get ear infections a lot,, , I am gonna let my family no about ur site,,, a lot of us has ear infections,, ty ,, hv a wonderful week end ,,,,, betty

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  2. tthanks for these remedies, my son was in pain and crying uncontrolably just after midnight,(the thought of going to the clinic was just a pain to me too) on trying the first remedy of warm water my child ‘s pain was gone in a few minutesand we both slept well the rest of the night

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  3. Thanks for these remedies.

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  4. Question about the Apple cider remedy…
    do i take the cotton ball out while lying down, and blow drying.. or do i leave it in..
    so far so good :)

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  5. Thanks so much for the natural remedies…my boyfriend was suffering from a painful ear infection and used the salt remedy for relief and to reduce swelling…just one suggest, microwaving a cup of salt nearly blew my microwave out so instead I heated it as if I were melting chocolate. I boiled a pot of water and sat a wide melt bowl on top… And than placed the salt in the bowl it took a little longer but got hot non the less.

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  6. Going to try the breastmilk remedy since I’m nursing anyways. Will repost with results.

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  7. Yes’ it’s helpfull, i love that.

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  8. I would like 2 thnk u the salt remedy wrks wnders trust me I av been in pain 4 3 days nd nw it feels I av no infection at all thank u so much :)

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  9. I learned something new from visiting this site. I new about the salt as a young child my mama use to treat my ear aches by using it. I knew about the warm oil because i’ve treated my kids but the others I haven’t never heard of. Thanks so much for you info.

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    • The remedy that worked GREAT for me and finally ended a month and a half of suffering from successive ear infections is walnut oil mixed with colloidal silver and tea tree oil (I’m sure olive oil or almond oil would work as well). I didn’t use vinegar because I hate the smell, and it wasn’t needed anyway, as it turns out. Not for me, anyway.

      Before I finally got smart (desparate?) and read this website, I had severe ear infections for a month plus. I took antibiotics for 10 days and 2 days after the antiobiotics ran out, the ear infection was back. Back to the doctor and 10 more days of antibiotics, 2 days later infection back, and so on…

      My left ear drum burst, and for a week after, blood trickled out several times a day. Then my family doctor said she’d never seen such a mess and she sent me to an ENT (Ear Nose Throat specialist), and he said if my ears didn’t clear up in three more weeks, he would make an incision in my ears and put tubes in them. I’m a baby about this kind of thing so I never went back to the ENT. Instead, I finally looked up home remedies. Okay, I’m a slow learner.

      For a month I put drops of my walnut oil, colloidal silver, and tea tree oil mix in my ears morning and night. I never had any more problems. Even when I went swimming. I put this mix in an empty tea tree oil bottle, which is very convenient.

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  10. Feeling pain as we speak I am trying the hot water treatment, hope it works need a relief.

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  11. In INDIA we use ground nut oil,put some garlic heat it for a while & put some drops in each ear Garlic healps kill bacteria oil smooth ens wax

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  12. Really helps thank u…..

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  13. Is it safe to dip a a tip in the tree tea oil and place it in the ear? Someone suggested using that for my 4 year old daughter’s possible ear infection!

    Thank you!

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    • Erdwin Clausen Jr. December 15, 2013, 3:58 am

      Do not put drops in ear. It is too strong because the ear is very sensitive. Diluted tea tree oil is safe to rub on outside of ear and down the throat area for it to sink into skin by the eustacian tube. You always do a skin test to see if any allergic reactions happens. With her being four i would reallly watch your daughter because tee tree oil is toxic if taken internally.

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    • Tea tree oil used neat can cause a host of problems , it needs to be diluted with a carrier oil :)

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  14. The salt one works wonders! I easy skeptical to try a home remedy because I’ve had bad luck in the past, but with the heated salt, both my mom and I had instant relief.

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    • I was wondering how did you heat the salt I’ve heard if you heat it in the microwave it will explode?? My dad has a ear infection and it’s swollen.. Any other remedies?

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  15. My 3 year old was suffering from ear infection and I used garlic mix with olive oil and it works. I am happy that I don’t have to give him any antibiotics – also I gave him little bit of ginger juice mix with honey – Thank you !

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  16. I mean lay down in top of the sock

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  17. can t-tree oil be mixed with mineral oil, or grape seed oil, or baby oil, or coconut oil? Quick answer is appreciated – I am in pain NOW! Thank you all so much.

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  18. Thank you my son is not in anymore pain ..

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  19. Thanks for the list. Just a note- DO NOT put salt in the microwave in a glass! It will crack and shatter the glass like mine did.

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  20. Recurring Earaches are caused by food allergies 90% of the time. Find a chiropractor. .naturopathic dr or kinesiologist to determine allergies.

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  21. my son no longer gets horriable pain from ear infections he had so many im 3 hr from his doc due to being closer to mine for when i go in labor he has yet another ear infection dang tubes fell out this will make for number 15 im going try the warm compress tonight hope it will help drain out that infection if not im do the garlic oil i know garlic is a good natural antibiotic

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  22. it worked….thanks to who ever did this….i’m happy…just warm salt water did the work

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  23. peaceful mind May 1, 2014, 11:58 pm

    Im trying the remedy as we speak and my left eardrum is hurting a lot……. whenever i swallow it hurts. Ive been trying to ignore the pain but as the days go on it has gotten worse so I hope the warm bottle remedy helps me well.

    Reply
  24. I haven’t tried none of these but with results I hope it works for me :-D ◀↙➡‼‼‼▪②①②③④⑥⑦⑧⑧⑨⑩

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  25. Olive oil was the best for me! I am still doing as I type! My gp told me to get ear wax drops from pharmacy and to use for 7 days 4 times a day for my ear wax,as I was told was hard like a rock, and I was pretty much half def on my left ear, but I tell you what! Don’t go buying the wax ear drops from the pharmacy because it pretty much burnt and made and skin peel inside my ear and raw also very sore than what the actual ear pain origanily was! Then I found this site after a day did the olive oil for three days 4 times a day plugged with cotton ball,( refill coz the cotton ball would soak up) then flushed out with syringe luke warn water and yay all the yucky wax came out! Highly suggest this site! Now I swear by olive oil!

    Reply
    • To clean out ear wax you can also get an ear picker, you should be able to find one at a drugstore. They’re used to pull ear wax out of the ear, even if it’s hardened. You shouldn’t use cotton swabs as they just push the wax further in and compact it.

      Reply
  26. My doctor told me that the best way to treat an inner ear infection was to use a nasal spray. The only problem was that none of the sprays he prescribed worked. Took matters in to my own hands and ordered one off amazon called sinusothe. I contacted them and they told me how to use it for an ear infection (you bend over and then inhale through your nose and it cleered the infection away. I now use this once a day every other day and have never had another infection. I used to constantly get ear infections.

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    • Thanks for posting that Mike. It is weird but I have found that it seems like many of the over the counter nasal sprays do seem to work better than the ones prescribed by doctors. You just have to be careful not to overuse them because if you do they can end up doing more harm than good.
      Thanks again for posting.

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    • Hi Mike, do you know whether the spray you use would be suitable for a child? My son has one ear infection after another and countless courses of antibiotics which by now have probably messed up his immune system… Thank you.

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  27. I have had problems with ear infection all my life like many others here have. I find that rinsing your ear(s) out with peroxide once or twice a day dramatically reduces the time it takes for the infection to go away. I’ve never asked a doctor about this but know it works from experience. I’m not sure if it is recommended by physicians or not but I don’t think it’s harmful in any way and like I said I know it works.
    Good luck with the ears everyone, stay healthy and happy.

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  28. I’ve have a ear infection and I use peroxide and does work.

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  29. Pamela Skinner July 9, 2014, 8:57 am

    Ive have had ear infections all my life. But this time was the worst ever. I got my left one well after a month but the right one is raw and full of swelled knots that only go away if I dip a clean cloth in alcohol or warm water and put pressure in it till it drains some of the fluid. Im fixing to try the apple cider one before I lay down and Ill let u know how it works for me. Pam

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  30. . i Tried The Hot Water And Garlic Remedies. Woke Up Minutes To One In Pain. Feeling Much Better. Now. Try Sucking On A Glove Of Garlic…It Helps. Thanks alot. Gonna Sleep Now

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  31. Will this work for pressure behind eardrum about 4 weeks now with no pain but ringing? It is making me crazy?

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  32. Okay. Now it’s gotten worse. My mothers ear looks like she’s got herpes. There is this little white thing under her anti-helix, and it’s got a hole at the top! It looks disgusting. It don’t hurt me. My mother almost threw-up last night because it’s so disgusting for her. Somebody please help me. Is the antibiotics going to help the pus draining out of it? Thanks, please help my mother.

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    • I have a severe ear infection right now. Taken Clarithamycin got serious side effects of throat closing. Couldn’t swallow my medication. felt sick and many other side effects. Found out on Internet that this drug can cause death in rate of 76% of cases mostly in women on a 7 day treatment. I have stopped this drug. Dr. Not happy. Given me Amoxicillin. Got more side effects of swollen face and tongue and severe breathing difficulties with weakness in my legs and body. I am stopping now and using a home remedy. Thanks for the input here. I left mine in case it helps others.

      Reply
  33. Try looking up oregano oil. I’ve heard of people using it in their ears (diluted with a carrier oil), but have also read it’s not advisable to use it in your ears (instead rub it outside the ears).

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  34. This is a really helpful article and equally helpful comments from everyone – thanks a lot! I have just one question – the article says: ‘One of the main causes of an ear infection is wax in the ear catching some fungal or bacterial growth leading to a blockage in the Eustachian tubes’ – how does this happen? If there is a wax build-up in the outer ear canal, how does the bacteria get through the ear-drum to cause the blockage of the Eustachian tube? My son has a history of recurring, frequent ear infections and multiple ear-drum perforations; recently, we have been told he carries bacteria called staph. aureus in his nose and ear, he also tends to get very waxy in his ears. Is it possible to stop middle ear infections simply by making sure his ears are free of wax? That would be my dream come true… Please, does anyone know the answer?

    Reply

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