10 Quick Home Remedies for Ear Infections (with Step-by-Step)

Ear infection is painful and distressing.

Although this type of infection can occur at any age, it is more common in children than adults.

In fact, it affects five out six children three years old and below [1].

Also called acute otitis media, it is a viral or bacterial infection that causes the middle ear to become inflamed [2].

Children have shorter Eustachian tubes in their ear, which allows harmful microorganisms to enter their middle ear [2].

Up to 85 percent of acute ear infections are caused by bacteria such as Hemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae [2].

Get immediate relief from pain, inflammation and fluid build-up inside the ear using these practical natural remedies.

1. Garlic

Throughout history, garlic has been used a natural medicine to curb a wide range of ailments.

Many of the health problems it successfully treats are those caused by pathogenic microbes.

For ear infection, garlic is also said to be one of the most effective natural remedies.

Its active ingredient called allicin exhibits antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties [3].

It can combat even those bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics, making it an ideal solution for recurrent cases of ear infection [3].

Research from the Washington State University revealed that garlic is actually 100 times more potent than antibiotics in killing certain types of bacteria [4].

In another study that can be found in the Ethiopian Medical Journal, it was reported that garlic extract completely suppressed the activities of Streptococcus pneumoniae [5].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil garlic in water.
  • Crush and add salt.
  • Dab clean cloth in the mixture.
  • Press clean cloth against the infected ear.

2. Onion

Like garlic, onion is also replete with medicinal uses.

Onion is rich in phytochemicals that boost the body’s immune defense.

Its chromium, meanwhile, is known to be effective in managing levels of blood sugar.

Plus, it has been used since the ancient times to treat infections and tone down inflammation.

That’s not all. Several studies have also shown onion’s powerful antibacterial properties that make it a suitable treatment for bacterial infections [6, 7].

That’s because onions are rich in sulphur compounds as well as quercetin flavonoid, which can help combat bacteria. [8].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 onion, chopped

Recommended Directions:

  • Put chopped onion in a microwavable bowl.
  • Microwave it for two minutes.
  • Let it cool.
  • Strain out the juice.
  • Use a dropper to pour two drops of onion juice into the infected ear.
  • Leave it for a few minutes before turning your head to drain juice out of your ear.

3. Salt

Most people see salt as nothing but a table condiment.

What they don’t know is that salt actually contains 60 trace minerals that are necessary for hydration.

It also has high levels of sodium and electrolytes like magnesium.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from ear infection, salt is a viable remedy.

Salt has long been used as an antimicrobial agent.

Various studies have been conducted to demonstrate salt’s antimicrobial and antibacterial properties [8, 9, 10].

A 2015 study published in the Cell Metabolism journal reported that salt can help control infection and at the same time, boost immune resistance [11].

It works by providing a barrier to protect against invasion of harmful microbes [11].

It also powers up the immune resistance by stimulating the macrophages, a type of infection-fighting white blood cell [11].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of salt

Recommended Directions:

  • Put salt in a pan over low heat.
  • After a few minutes, remove from heat.
  • Transfer warmed salt on a cloth and tie a knot to seal.
  • Place salt cloth on the affected ear for 10 minutes.

4. Tea Tree Oil

Here’s a quick look at tea tree oil’s extensive benefits for the health:

It promotes skin health and gets rid of blemishes like acne, treats cold sores and chicken pox, alleviates infections affecting the respiratory tract, and combat fungal infections, among others.

A 2002 study also confirmed tea tree oil’s “broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity” [12].

This means that it can fight off a wide range of pathogens including viruses, bacteria and fungi  [12].

Its most active antibacterial compound is terpinen-4-ol [12].

In another study, it is said that tea tree oil shows potential as a treatment for ear infection and swimmer’s ear [13].

Animal subjects with ear infections were given 2 percent tea tree oil diluted in saline solution [13].

The mixture successfully toned down the infection without causing other adverse reactions [13].

This shows that tea tree oil’s bactericidal properties can control the infection, and thereby, provide immediate relief from the pain.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 drops of tea tree oil
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of colloidal silver
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Transfer mixture to a pan and put it over low heat.
  • Use a dropper to pour mixture into your ear.
  • Wait for five minutes before turning your head to drain it out.
  • Do this three times a day for two days.

5. Elderberry

Here’s a surprising fact about elderberry:

It surpasses cranberries, blueberries and blackberries when it comes to antioxidant content, particularly flavonols [14].

For centuries, elderberry syrup has been used to treat colds, flu, and nasal congestion [14].

It is known for its medicinal purposes thanks to its antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects [15].

All these properties make it a practical natural remedy for ear infection.

Just take note that there are various species of elderberry.

The European elderberry, also known as black elderberry, is most commonly used as traditional medicine.

Stay away from dwarf elderberry, which has been found to have toxic substances.

Raw and unripe elderberries, meanwhile, has a poisonous chemical that’s similar to cyanide.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of ripe elderberries
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger, grated
  • 1 cup of honey (optional)

Recommended Directions:

  • Put all the ingredients except honey in a pot.
  • Place pot over medium heat.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Strain out the liquid.
  • Let it cool.
  • Add honey (Skip this step if child using the remedy is below one year old).
  • Transfer syrup in a glass jar.
  • Drink one tablespoon a day.

6. Mullein Flower Oil

Cough, congestion, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, influenza and urinary tract infections are just few of the many ailments that can be resolved with the use of mullein flower oil.

In 2001, researchers investigated the efficacy of an herbal ear drop for treating ear infection [16].

Mullein flower oil was one of the key ingredients in the product, along with garlic, calendula and St. John’s wort [16].

A total of 100 children between the ages of six and 18 who suffer from ear pain and infection participated in the study [16].

The participants were divided into two groups, the first of which received the herbal product while the other was given anesthetic ear drops [16].

Findings revealed that this solution worked just as well as analgesic medications in providing pain relief and reducing inflammation [16].

A similar study published in the Pediatrics Journal echoed the results [17].

In this study, 171 children with ear infections were randomized to be treated with either an herbal product with mullein flower oil, or anesthetic ear drops [17].

Application of the mullein flower oil drops resulted in greater reduction in pain and swelling [17].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 cup of dried mullein flower
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Place flowers in a glass jar sealed with a lid.
  • Let it sit in a warm spot for a few days.
  • Use cheesecloth to strain oil.
  • Transfer oil in a dropper bottle.
  • Store inside the refrigerator.
  • Before using, place bottle in a glass of hot water.
  • Pour two to three drops of oil in the infected ear three times a day.

7. Basil Oil

Its array of healing properties earned it the nickname “holy basil”.

When you’re in pain, you can apply basil on affected joints and muscles to feel better.

If you suffer from ear infection, you can also turn to this oil for quick relief.

According to a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, application of basil essential oil in the external ear can help treat ear infection [18].

Basil can fight off infection and relieve ear aches with its “rapid antibacterial effect” [18].

In fact, it can neutralize the activities of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Hemophilus influenzae by up to 75 percent within a short period [18].

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 drops of basil essential oil
  • 8 drops of coconut oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine the two ingredients.
  • Dab a cotton ball and pour a few drops inside the ear around the ear canal.
  • Do this twice a day.

8. Lavender Oil

Like basil, lavender oil is also touted for its numerous benefits for the health.

Many people are aware how lavender oil can efficiently ameliorate stress levels, and provide the relaxation effects badly needed in today’s high-stress times.

Lavender oil can also reduce pain in ear infections by calming the senses and improving blood flow.

Since it’s also a potent antibacterial agent, it’s also an excellent way to get rid of ear ache caused by bacterial infection.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 to 5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • Basin of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  • Soak clean cloth in hot water.
  • Squeeze out excess water.
  • Pour essential oil onto the cloth.
  • Press gently on affected ear.

9. Thyme Oil

As it turns out, thyme is more than just an herb to spice up your dishes.

Its oil extract has been found to have various pharmacological effects that people can take advantage of.

Numerous studies verify the antibacterial and anti-fungal properties of thymol, the active compound in thyme oil [19, 20, 21, 22].

Meanwhile, a clinical trial probing the efficacy of an herbal solution containing thyme oil found that it provides immediate relief from pain and infection [23].

Use thyme essential oil to clear the infection and to get relief from pain and swelling.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 drops of thyme essential oil
  • 2 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix essential oils in a bowl.
  • Soak a cotton ball into the oil mixture.
  • Plug cotton ball in your ear.
  • Leave it on for five minutes.
  • Remove cotton ball and turn head to drain liquid.

10. Olive Oil

Don’t you just love adding olive oil to your salad, or using it in your cooking?

This oil, which is one of the healthiest in the world, is also a versatile home remedy that can cure many diseases including infections inside the ear.

Olive oil relieves ear infection by clearing the obstruction in the middle ear caused by bacteria or fungi.

It has been well established that olive oil has potent antibacterial and antifungal properties [24, 25].

Thanks to its antioxidant oleocanthal, it can quickly tone down swelling and pain [26].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Put olive oil in a pan over low heat.
  • Warm it for a few minutes.
  • Let it cool until it’s bearable to touch.
  • Pour a few drops of warm olive oil into the affected ear.
  • Turn head to drain.

Ear infection can be extremely painful and annoying.

It can prevent you from functioning normally.

In babies and kids, it can result in incessant crying.

Resolve this condition right away with the help of these easy but effective home remedies.