Home Remedies for Swimmers Ear, Natural Remedies for Adults, Kids

Pain, discomfort and at times blockage are some of the symptoms of swimmers ear. If not given attention, the condition could worsen leading to long term negative effects on the ears. Home remedies for swimmers ear help to avoid this. These include some do it yourself procedures as well as some natural remedies. We discuss the various remedies, how to use them and various tips to help avoid swimmers ear infection.

Home Remedies for Swimmers Ear

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Swimmers ear is an infection that affects the outer ear canal. This is the part that runs from the eardrum to the outside. It is caused by water remaining in your ear, which is most common after swimming, thus creating a moist environment favorable for the growth of bacteria resulting in ear infection. Other factors such as putting cotton swabs, fingers and other objects into the ears could also damage the ear canal’s skin lining thus leading to swimmers ear. Left untreated, the condition could worsen and cause long term damage to the ear. Fortunately there are readily available home cures for swimmers ear that one can try instead of opting for over the counter treatments. By using these home remedies for swimmers ear, further damage is prevented.

Home remedies for swimmers ear – Photo courtesy of My Doctor Now

Hydrogen Peroxide for Swimmer’s Ear Infection

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the recommended home remedies for swimmers ear. This though has to be used with caution as while it may be safe and of benefit for use on some people, some may be negatively affected by it. Studies have shown that large amounts when applied on a perforated dry ear drum could have adverse effects on the functioning of the ear. Hydrogen peroxide is known to kill healthy cells as well. Persons who may have a ruptured ear drums or have previously had ear surgery should not use these drops.

  1. At the onset of an infection, put four drops of three percent hydrogen peroxide into the ear while lying on your side. This will produce a bubbling sound.
  2. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then drain it out on a tissue.

Hot Compress

A hot compress can help in relieving swimmers ear. It helps to absorb and thus drain any fluid in ear which may be causing infections. This method though has to be used with caution. It is recommended that the use of heat should only be for a short period. Used in the right way, this method will help to loosen wax and release pressure which will give immense swimmer’s ear ache relief.

  1. Get a heating pad and put a towel above it. It should have its settings on the lowest.
  2. Lie with the affected ear on. The heat will help to evaporate the water.

Another way of applying a heat on an infected ear would be to use a salt pillow.

  1. Heat up some salt in a vessel.
  2. Wrap up the warm salt in a thin fabric such as a handkerchief.
  3. While in a sitting position, use this like a pillow by supporting your head on it.
  4. The salt pillow could as well be replaced by a hot water bottle wrapped up in a towel. Ensure it is not too hot as this could cause damage to the ear.

Blow Dryer

A blow dryer can be used as a home remedy for swimmers ear. This method helps to dry up any water clogged in the ear. While using it, the blow-dryer must be on its lowest heat setting.

  1. Set the blow dryer on cool dry mode or low heat.
  2. Hold it at a distance of 18 inches from the ear
  3. Heat the ear by moving the nozzle in a back and forth motion

Ensure that the dryer is at a safe distance from the ear to avoid getting hurt. If not well used, blow-drying could result in burning. Avoid using it for swimmers ear relief in children.

Rubbing Alcohol

This is yet another well-known and effective remedy for swimmers ear. It works by drying up excess water in the ear and can be used alone or mixed in equal parts with vinegar. Rubbing alcohol also relieves swimmer’s ear pain.

  1. Put a few drops of the remedy in the ear.
  2. Let it drain after one minute
  3. You could also use a cotton ball soaked in a mixture of half vinegar and half rubbing alcohol to rinse the ears.

Baby Oil

Baby oil has been known to be a safe and effective way of treating swimmers ear in both adults and kids. Used when warm, the warmth that emanates from the oil offers relief from pain and helps to clear the infection. Baby oil can also be used for preventive purposes as well. Apply it on the ears before getting into water bodies to swim. This will help to prevent water from being retained in the ear.

  1. Use a clean vessel to warm the oil to tolerable temperatures and ensure it is not too hot as this could cause further damage to the ears.
  2. Using a dropper, put three drops of the oil into the ear.
  3. Use a cotton ball to seal the ear and avoid drainage.
  4. Stay put in the same position for two minutes before rising up and letting out the oil.


Earplugs can be used as both a precautionary measure as well as a treatment for swimmers ear option. Ensure that you wear ear plugs when getting into the water to help prevent irritation in the ears. They also help to prevent water from getting into the ears. This way further infections of the ear tract are prevented.

Colloidal silver

The use of colloidal silver for medicinal purposes has been disputed in many states. This is despite various studies showing that it contains anti-microbial properties. It can act as an antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial agent. It is therefore safe for human use. This remedy can be used for swimmers ear infections. To avoid any negative effects, ensure that the remedy is only used two times each day at most. The amount should not exceed three drops while using a standard dropper. The need for this caution is the fact that colloidal silver when used in large amounts will also destroy important bacteria found in the ear canal.

  1. Lie on the side and drip three drops of colloidal silver into the ear.
  2. Rest in this position for about five minutes.
  3. Turn in the opposite direction to drain out the remedy.

Natural Remedies for Swimmers Ear

There are various natural remedies for swimmers ear. These when used in the right quantities and frequency will help to get rid of swimmer’s ear itch, pain, irritation and inflammation. They have the advantage of being readily available. Some of these are as discussed below.

Onion Juice

Onion juice contains elements that help it act as an effective disinfectant. This helps to relief pain within a short time after use.

  1. Cut half an onion and warm it in the microwave.
  2. Lie down with the ear to be treated on top and squeeze out onion juice into the ear
  3. Remain lying for about ten minutes before sitting up.
  4. Drain off the juice and repeat the procedure after an hour.


Garlic contains allicin that can help clear off any infections. The oil has a therapeutic effect and will help get rid of the condition by getting rid of inflammation, boosting immunity and aiding in healing.

  1. Crush some garlic and let it soak in olive oil for a whole night
  2. Strain the mixture and put the oil in a vessel.
  3. Use a dropper to put three drops of the oil into the ear.

Olive Oil

When heated a little bit, olive oil can help relieve the symptoms of swimmers ear. Garlic oil is also effective as it contains allicin which gives it antibacterial properties. It will help to eliminate any microbes there may be.

  1. Use a dropper to put three drops of the oil into each ear
  2. Place a cotton ball on first ear to avoid draining and do the same for the other ear

Vinegar for Swimmer’s Ear Pain

Vinegar contains acetic acid which helps to guard the ear against fungal and bacterial infections. This makes it an effective swimmers ear treatment.

  1. Make an apple cider vinegar solution by mixing it with an equal part of water.
  2. Use three or four drops of the solution on the affected ear
  3. Repeat procedure for three days.

With home treatments for natural home remedies for swimmers ear, the condition should improve within three days and resolve in seven days. In case this does not happen, you should discontinue treatment and seek the attention of a doctor. The remedies discussed above should also not be used in ears with ruptured ear drums or by persons who have previously had ear surgery. Also see a doctor in case you have recurring cases of swimmers ear. For regular swimmers, it is possible to avoid getting the infection by following some simple tips. Below is what to do for swimmer’s ear prevention.

  • Always keep your ears dry. Once you are done taking a shower or swimming, turn your head a number of times to get the water out. Also use a clean piece of cloth to thoroughly dry the ears.
  • Avoid the use of cotton swabs in the ear as this contributes to a buildup of earwax. This in turn traps water.
  • Keep of dirty water as this contains a high level of bacteria which is one of the contributing factors of the condition.
  • Adjust the swim cap in a way that will ensure no water gets into your ear canal. Where possible, use silicone or wax earplugs as these can be shaped to fit ears.
  • Ensure that you swim on the surface of the water as opposed to going underneath.
  • Avoid putting foreign objects into the ears.
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June 16, 2021
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