How to Treat an Ear Infection at Home – Effective Natural Remedies

how to treat an ear infection at home

Is there a way to treat an ear infection at home, safely and effectively without resorting to conventional medicine, which often does more harm than good? Luckily for you there is and in this article I’m going to tell you how to treat an ear infection at home. But first, let’s start with the essentials. After all, you need to know your enemy to put up a good fight!

Types of ear infections and how to tell them apart

An inflammation or infection of the ear is called otitis. This condition is divided into three main subtypes, depending on which part of the ear is affected.

Otitis externa

Sometimes referred to as swimmer’s ear, otitis externa is the inflammation of the so-called outer (or external) ear. Roughly speaking, it involves all visible parts of this organ: the auricle and the ear canal up to the eardrum. Common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Swelling and redness of the auricle and ear canal

  • Pain, which worsens when the ear is pressed, pulled, or even gently touched

  • Decreased hearing (only when the swelling of the ear canal becomes so significant that it almost obstructs it)

  • Discharge in the ear canal

  • Itching

Most common causes of otitis externa, or outer ear infection:

  • Water trapped inside the ear (for example, after a shower or after swimming, thus the name)

  • Local lesions and infections of the skin

  • Foreign objects in the ear

Otitis mediaear diagram - how to treat an ear infection at home

Otitis media affects the middle ear, which is the part of the ear that’s located behind the eardrum. This portion of the ear is usually air-filled to allow conduction of sound, but during otitis media, it gets filled with liquid (either inflammatory or purulent, during an infection). This results in the following common symptoms of acute otitis media:

  • Redness and bulging of the eardrum (seen during otoscopy)

  • Perforation of the eardrum (in severe cases)

  • Impaired hearing, up to complete loss in severe cases

  • Discharge in the ear canal appears only after a rupture of the eardrum (thus accompanied by loss of hearing)

  • Ear pain, fever

Most common causes of middle ear infection or otitis media:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections and throat infections (they reach the middle ear via the Eustachian tube, a narrow canal connecting the throat and the middle ear)

  • Allergies (they may cause swelling and effusion in the above-mentioned Eustachian tube, thus blocking the liquid in the middle ear and leading to OME, otitis media with effusion)

  • Reflux of any kind of liquid from the throat to the middle ear (again, via the Eustachian tube)

Otitis interna

Also known as labyrinthitis or inner ear infection, otitis interna is a condition affecting the innermost part of the human ear, which is responsible for hearing and balance. Common signs and symptoms of this infection include:

  • Severe vertigo (often leading to nausea and vomiting), impairment or loss of balance

  • Nystagmus (uncontrollable and rapid moving of the eyes)

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

  • Hearing loss

  • Headache, fever, and other non-specific symptoms

The most common causes of inner ear infection or otitis interna are:

  • Injuries to the head, especially the temple and back of the head

  • Untreated middle otitis

  • Severe systemic infections, rarely bacterial or viral infections of the upper respiratory tract

Natural and safe ways to treat an ear infection at home

how to treat an ear infection at homeOkay, so by this time you should have an idea of what type of otitis you are facing at the moment. And before you go running to the drug store and stuff yourself with antibiotics that often have severe side effects, let me tell you how to treat an ear infection at home using just natural and safe remedies.

  1. Colloidal silver

Mankind has been using silver as a natural antiseptic for thousands of years, and recent studies have confirmed that it can effectively fight back even some of the most dreadful bacteria, including Staphylococcus Aureus. To treat an ear infection using colloidal silver just warm the liquid to room temperature and insert 1-3 drops into your ear twice a day.

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar has confirmed bactericidal and antifungal properties that can be fantastic means to treat an ear infection without prescription antibiotics. You will need to Make a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water to prevent chemical burns of the ear, which is already damaged by the infection. Take a cotton ball, soak it in the liquid, and gently place it in the affected ear. Remove the cotton ball after 3-5 minutes. After that, lay on your side to let residual liquid flow out of your ear.

  1. Peppermint Essential Oil

Back in 1996, a study researched the bactericidal properties of different essential oils against 22 microbes. Guess what? Peppermint was effective against ALL of them, and it also showed fantastic antifungal feats against 11 out of 12 fungi. Later, some other studies have confirmed that peppermint shows prolonged antibacterial properties by slowing down the growth of microbes in a dose-dependent fashion. Moreover, it can fight viruses too, a feat that prescription antibiotics never have!

ATTENTION: do not put pure peppermint essential oil inside the infected ear, as it’s very strong and could cause additional damage. Instead, mix one drop of it with 5-7 drops of olive oil – and you’re good to go! 3-5 drops of the final solution a couple of times per day should do the trick. Additionally, you can gently apply pure peppermint oil around the ear (again, NOT inside).

  1. Tea Tree Oil

This is another natural oil with powerful bactericidal properties confirmed by numerous scientific studies over the years. Just like with peppermint, the proper way of using it is by mixing with your usual olive oil, then carefully putting the mixture in your ear using a clean dropper. After 3-5 minutes, lay on your side to let the excess oil out.

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide

Blocked ear causesThis old-school antiseptic has been used for decades not only to kill bacteria, but to wash out debris, dirt, and any kind of discharge from wounds and injuries. And what is an ear infection if not a bacterial injury of the ear which also would benefit from a good clean-up? Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide with water to create a 50-50 solution, then carefully put several drops of the liquid into the infected ear. Don’t worry about the soft tingling sensation you will feel, as it is explained by the oxygen bubbles popping out of the solution. After some 5 minutes carefully tilt your head or lay on the side to let the liquid out.

  1. Garlic

garlicFreshly crushed garlic contains allicin, a substance with significant antibacterial properties. Besides that, it shows antiviral, antiparasitic and antifungal activity, thus covering all possible causes of your ear infection. Garlic also helps to control blood glucose levels, and this effect may be beneficial for people suffering from diabetes, as their infections tend to be somewhat more persistent. A common recipe for using garlic to treat ear infections at home consists of heating a tablespoon of minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive or sesame oil, and then carefully put 2-3 drops into the infected ear (after you cool down and filter the mixture, of course). After 5 minutes, just as with most of the other described methods in this article, lay on the side and let any residual oil to escape your ear.

  1. Ginger

gingerGinger has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and even certain painkiller properties, so it’s another great way to cure ear infections in a natural way. Try mixing equal amounts of freshly crushed ginger juice with olive oil and pour directly into the infected ear. As always, let the liquid pour out of the ear after 5 minutes of application.

As you see, all of these recipes are absolutely natural and extremely easy to try at your own home. What’s even better is that they actually work, freeing you from the need to take expensive drugs with potential side effects, resulting from God only knows what chemicals!

Of course, you shouldn’t hesitate in visiting a doctor if you notice your symptoms persist or gradually worsen. But it’s always better to stick to a natural approach whenever possible.

Please let me know if you found this article on how to treat an ear infection at home helpful and share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Stay healthy!

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  1. Wow! This article has been incredibly helpful as I get these pesky ear infections all the time! As a surfer, I have to be careful to make sure water doesn’t stick around for too long in my ear. I’ve got to try the garlic remedy! I’ve seen garlic work well in treating bacterial infections for me in the past. Thank you for sharing!

    • Yes garlic can work wonders at fighting bacteria Ciara. As a surfer, you are probably more susceptible to otitis externa(swimmers ear). I’m glad that you found this article helpful, thank you for your positive feedback.

  2. Hey Lee,

    Great article! My cousin had an ear infection few years ago and Apple Cider Vinegar definitely saved her! I will direct this post to her later. Awesome work man! 🙂


    • Thanks for your comment Kenny. Yes, apple cidar vinegar is a bit of a cure-all and certainly does the trick when it comes to treating an ear infection.

  3. Can see that you know your stuff here. Thank you for all the learning.
    My problem is not with ear infections as such but rather with blocked ears. Have tried a couple of things off the shelf from the pharmacy without much luck, although have to admit that I often forget to put the drops in every day.
    Do you have a remedy for me ?

    • Hi Roy thanks for your question. There could be many reasons why your ears are blocked, and each one may need a different approach for the treatment. I will provide you with a link to another one of my post that provides 7 natural remedies for blocked ears. I hope you will find this helpful


  4. I always get swimmer’s ear!! It’s seriously the worst. I can’t go swimming without getting water all stuck in my ear for at least a couple hours later. I’m all about natural remedies. It’s so good to know these things. I’ve heard of colloidal silver before when I was looking into treatment and maintenance of overall health. Really interesting! I’m super curious about the science behind that.
    Thanks for the good read!



    • Hi Helen, thanks you for commenting. It is always best to try a natural approach to curing any ailments, as medications always come with side-effects. As I mentioned, colloidal Silver is my choice in combating infections and I’m currently writing a more in depth article about the health benefits of colloidal Silver and how it works.I’m aiming to have it finished in a few days, so keep a look at for that one. 

  5. Any mom with little ones will appreciate this article. My daughter had chronic ear infections and we were constantly taking her back and forth to the doctor’s office. I was happy to see peroxide on your list because that’s what we used many times. Cloves was another remedy we used often. Saute 3 crushed cloves in a teaspoon of sesame oil for 5 minutes. We then used the warm oil as a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory solution.

    • Hi Jackie, thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear about your daughters troubles with ear infections, I hope she’s over it now. What a great idea using cloves as a natural pain relieve is. Thank you for adding it to the options listed above as another natural remedy.

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