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Ear Ache Remedies

Last Modified on Sep 20, 2015

Home Remedies for Ear Aches, Ear Infections, or Blocked Eustachian Tubes
An earache, also known as otalgia, is ear pain; it can originate inside or outside the ear. Ear ache pain is not always indicative of an ear disease, since ear ache causes can be from dental issues, sinus trouble, tonsils, or even head infections. In fact, there are five general neural pathways that are sensorily connected to the ear region that can refer pain to your ear from different parts of your head.

Ear ache pain is not enough to determine whether the disease is located in the middle, inner, or external ear since the pain is identical in each case. While not contagious, ear infections can be caused by infectious disease and lead to migraines if located in the middle ear. Allopathic treatment for ear infections usually includes antibiotics.

Home Remedies for Ear Ache Pain

Here at Earth Clinic we have over 50 home and natural remedies submitted from users all over the world. Some of our more popular remedies for ear pain are Hydrogen Peroxide, Garlic, Olive Oil, Onions, and Cayenne Pepper. In addition, listed are numerous therapeutic techniques you can use to help soothe ear pain fast without having to run to the store. Have a family or folk cure for ear aches? Please do not hesitate to share!

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Most Popular Ear Aches Remedies:

Hydrogen Peroxide16
Olive Oil9
Cigarette or Newspaper7
Cayenne Pepper6
Alcohol and White Vinegar5
Cigarette Smoke5
Steaming Washcloth in Mug4
Oregano Oil3
Ear Pick3
Apple Cider Vinegar, Sea Salt3

User Reviews

Alcohol and White Vinegar
  User Ratings

Posted by Marsh (Denver) on 06/25/2013

[YEA]  Earth Clinic & it's followers are the BEST! A nasty sinus infection left behind a plugged left ear that was driving me crazy. After 5 days of discomfort I tried the 50/50 mixture of alcohol & white vinegar yesterday morning about 10am. It caused more fullness which was even more uncomfortable, which had me believing it was a mistake. Then around 11pm last nite there was a noise in my ear that sounded like a door slamming. It was my ear opening!!! I put 2 more drops in last night and this morning ~ better than the drugs the ENT ($105 dr appt and $50 prescriptions) gave me last year for the same thing that lasted for 6 months. Thank you all for sharing.

Posted by Tommy (Fremont, Indiana) on 05/01/2012

[YEA]  Thank you I did the half and half of white vinager and alcohol it worked fine! Thank-you again

Posted by Courtney (Los Angeles, Ca) on 12/04/2011

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I have an earache and I tried the alcohol and white vinegar remedy, but so far all it has done is ease the pain very lightly and it is making my ear canal feel as if it is burning almost. The "burning" does not hurt, but I can tell it is there. Maybe I did not mix the alcohol and white vingegar correctly. Please help me I am in pain and I have class tomorrow.

Replied by Mmsg
Somewhere, Europe

Courtney, we always stopped earaches within 48 hours (sometimes much less) by stuffing a piece of cotton with olive oil in the ear and just leaving it there. Change once a day or so, if needed.

Posted by Carbon Scorn (Boston, Ma) on 09/21/2011

[YEA]  In my early Twenties my scuba instructor, ex-US Navy, told me how to rid myself of my very regular and annoying ear infections. Mix 50/50 white vinegar and rubbing alcohol in a dropper. Tip yoru head to the side and put 3 drops in each when ever you complete a dive (or whenever you feel your ears starting to itch or hurt). Wiggle the outer ear and the base of the ear to be sure it settles deep, add a few more drops if you need to, wait one minute then tip your head and let it drain out into a tissue. Then do the other ear. Well, I've done this so many times I can not count. It works every time, and I've also done this with my kids whenever I saw them starting to scratch their ears when they were toddlers. They have never once needed to be seen by a doctor for an ear infection.

My description of the science at work here? Ear wax is acidic by nature, that's how it protects the area from bacteria. And ear "wax" is hydrophobic (it doesn't like water), so its coating keeps the ear canal free of bacterial breeding dampness. The white vinegar is simply helping to restore a high level of acidity while the alcohol dries up any water.

P.S. prior to learning this trick I used to use Hydrogen Peroxide with mixed results. After learning more with age I realized that the Hydrogen Peroxide, after oxidation, leaves behind water, aka a damp environment for any residual bacteria to flourish. Using this 50/50 of vinegar & alcohol mix post a hydrogen peroxide flush yielded desirable results every single time. Soon I totally left out the hydrogen peroxide step. Oh, and never cover your ear after flushing as that again inhibits the dry environment required to put an end to the bacteria.

Replied by Big Joe
Chicago, Il

[YEA]   I have been doing this for 35 years with great effect every time. I keep a little squeeze bottle by my sink. The kind with the top that pushes in to close. I used half white vinegar and half isopropyl alcohol. I just put a few drops in one side and wait until it goes down all the way. Then do the other side. The mixture will not stain your clothes.

Posted by Di (Bartlesville, Oklahoma) on 08/03/2009

[YEA]  I was plagued for several years with itchy and very clogged ears. The $100.00 bottle of medicine from the doctor only worked temporarily, then itchy, clogged ears would be back. I tried a home remedy I found on the internet and BRAVO, clean ears now going on 4 years. In a small bottle with a tip on it, mix 1 part 91% alcohol and 1 part vinegar. Apple cider or white will work. Several times a day drop a few drops into each ear. I also put some on a Q-tip and wipe the inside of my ear, just don't push Q-tip into ear. Everytime your ear gets wet especially after bath or shower or swimming do this. The 91% alcohol dries moisture, and the vinegar keeps bacteria from growing. Don't use 70% alcohol, it has too much water in it. If ears are really slushy, clean them a few times with peroxide before using the alcohol/vinegar. Peroxide will put water into the ear so don't use it too often. Once your ears have been slush/itch free continue to use the alcohol/vinegar at least once a day.

EC: 91% alcohol is isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.

Replied by Eva
Prinsenbeek, The Netherlands

Yes, a slightly different recipe (more diluted) is widely used among divers (you can't dive with bad ears). Too much alcohol in the solution dissolves earwax, this can leave the ear canal prone to infections. Thus one-third distilled water, one-third white vinegar and one-third isopropyl alcohol could be a more effective mixture. Even if there is water in the mixture, your ear will dry out and right after application you will feel your ear canal to become warm. Some people even warm the solution between their hands before using it. I would not use a Q-tip, but apply a few droplets the solution with a medicine dropper (taking care not to let the dropper touch the ear or anything else). Tilt the head to one side add two to three droplets, then gently massage the ear in a circular motion to ensure penetration, and allow the medication to sit for some minutes before lifting the head upright. I am not sure this recipe helps when you have a very bad infection, but it DOES work when you have some irritation and/or water in your ear. After your ear feels normal again you can stop with the treatment (usually,after one to several days). It is a cheap recipe, so to keep it potent you can make a new batch of it monthly if you need to use it often.

Apple Cider Vinegar
  User Ratings

Posted by Dee (San Diego, Ca) on 07/02/2011

[YEA]  ACV also works great when getting an earache. My ENT told me to put some in the ear at the first sign of trouble, leaving it there for a minute then letting the ACV run out the ear... Repeat one more time 12 hrs. Later. This has worked for us!

Posted by Michele (New York, New York) on 09/12/2008

[YEA]  Apple Cider Vinegar cured my ear infection.

I had itchy Eustachian tubes (connection from the ears to the throat) from seasonal allergies. If left untreated I get a very bad cold. I put some drops of ACV into my ears until I felt it pass all the way through to my throat (I could taste it). The itching stopped immediately and I never developed a cold. You can also put some on a Q-tip and it works just as well. Michele-NYC.

Replied by Eben
Hilo, HI, USA

hmm.. wouldn't this require that you had a ruptured ear drum in order for it to pass through to your throat? if this is the case i wouldn't mess around with home remedies which damage your inner ear but see a doctor to see if the drum is ruptured....
Replied by Melissa
Wallingford, Ct, USA

Regarding the comment/question on the ACV passing through a person's ear to their throat: It IS possible for that to happen, without a ruptured ear drum! It happens ALL the time to me in the shower, or when I've used rubbing alcohol in my ears. Our ear canals, nose/sinuses, and throat are ALL connected! Ever see some crazy stunt on tv or just some kid when you were in school, pulling spaghetti thru odd places and milk up their nose and out of their eyes?!? Yes, even your tear ducts are connected. This is why you wash your hands and keep them away from your face! lol. No, I'm no doctor but I read- a lot. and I also have gotten sick - a lot.
Replied by JB
Brisbane, AU

Yes, isn't it common knowledge that the ear and throat are connected? I don't think it has anything to do with a ruptured ear drum.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Sea Salt
  User Ratings

Posted by Dolphina (Christiansburg, Va. ) on 01/15/2009

[YEA]  I am replying to the submission on apple cider vinegar for the cure of plugged up ears.

I have had reoccuring bouts with this problem due to sinus infections and some strange buildup of wax clogging the eardrum leaving me nearly 50% loss of hearing when I have these occurences.

Usually, squirting the ear drum out with a syringe and hydrogen peroxide, followed after 15 minutes of letting the solution bubble in the inner ear, washing out with warm tepid water will do the trick. However, this time, in the past four days, the problem seemed more severe. I have seen a doctor regarding this in the past, and the diagnosis is due to sinus infection complications with a chronic buildup of weird wax. His best solution was just what I described, yet he and his assistant actually could guide the problem along. If there is obvious infection, they generally prescribe an antibiotic and Zyrtec D. That is the best way to resolve the problem, if nothing else works, but now with the clinics charging close to $90 just for an office visit and without having insurance, this seems prohibitive.......I have always tried the natural remedies first and foremost.

So, here is my suggestion. Do try over the counter ear drops first , 2 times a day with 5 drops in each ear. After about 8 hours, make a tepid solution of warm water(1 cup) and Natural sea salt(1 tsp) to rinse out the ear...test the solution on your wrist first as you would do for a baby....your eardrums are very sensitive and delicate....never put hot water, hot oils into the ear canal...only warm or tepid. Or you can use the hydrogen peroxide method or Organic apple cider vinegar(make sure it is free of pulp)followed by the sea salt solution. You will need to tilt your head to "bubble" the freeing agent. Then, you will hold your head over the sink so that the ear can drain and all debris fall into the sink when you do the syringe forcing of the saltwater solution. Now, here's the gross part, the "Shrek" wax will come out and it is gross, you will feel a little light headed and sort of keep doing this until you feel that the ears have "popped" and all debris is out. Then clean the outer ear gently with tissue and hold a towel next to the ear to keep it warm. I also just wear ear muffs/knit cap for about one hour after if the climate is cold, this is better so that you do not catch another cold or infection does not set in. I have also been taking a natural antibiotic(Grapefruit Seed Extract-for price of $7.99) from the start of this last episode. It generally takes a couple of days and of course a regiment this way, but so far I have been successful. Just make sure that you are gentle with your inner ears......don't want to hurt the ear drum or Eustachian tubes. Apple Cider Vinegar and Sea Salt combined cures so many things including gout........This is an age old rememdy and we need to pay attention to all that is out there.........that is what it is all about, don't support a failed Medical Society/Health Care System that does not support the general public with their needs for a reasonable and ethical cost!

Posted by Vera (Houton, TX) on 07/10/2008

[YEA]  Earache - For the first time ever, I have experienced a double ear infection which has lasted for four days. I suspect what brought it on was a combination of a new unknown allergy (allergies are a first for me) combined with the irritant effects of smoking. I have tried most of this except for inserting the whole garlic clove in the ear or using any of the sweet oil remedies. I tried using capfuls of peroxide and colloidal silver..which has antibiotic properties.. in the ear but these have temporary and only minor effects. I also tried liquid garlic from the health food store, which appeared to do nothing.. the pain only worsened. The homeopathic ear drops from the drugstore for earaches didn't relieve the ear pain as advertised. There was no improvement from Oreganol (Extract of Oregano) or tea tree oil. The only option that finally appeared to be working for me as far as clearing up some of the infection was rinsing the ear with a capful of apple cider vinegar. The remedies I found effective for relieving pain were dampened washcloths warmed up in the microwave which work for the short term as heating pads, but the the salt remedy worked best for the pain. Sea salt warmed up in a cloth tea bag in the microwave is the only thing I used that could take away the fiercest ear pain instantly, and I probably had some of the worst. The process of rinsing with cidar vinegar for the infection along with warm washcloths and applying warm salt for the pain because the ear pain may have to be repeated after intervals because the pain will keep coming back if any part of the infection is still there. The infection is reduced but is not gone yet. I am still testing the vinegar and I will also test the garlic clove in a cloth bag remedy (not crushed garlic I've heard enough about how painful that can be :)), just to compare its effects with warm salt which in my experience has been the most effective for pain.

Replied by Dandy5
London, Canada

[YEA]   As I write this, I am suffering with the flu, and on top of that managed to plug my ears with wax. Having administered several drops of olive oil over the course of last night and today, and then syringing, I was getting nowhere, and feeling very depressed. I have a dr's appointment tomorrow, but couldn't stand the pain, so I went on the internet researched ideas, decided to try the sea salt and water, as I had softened the ear wax already with the olive oil. Tried a couple of times nothing, was about to give up, and voila, out came the wax, and a huge relief of pressure. Thanks for the info.

Cayenne Pepper
  User Ratings

Posted by Onyx (Madrid, Spain) on 03/08/2012

[YEA]  Hello fellow sufferers. Just felt obliged to share my experience. I've been having excruciating pain in both of my ears for the last 5 months, it was usually much worse during the evening. I was in physical and mental agony, because it really can drive you up the wall that pain. I found this website by accident looking for pain relief or at least some explanation (docs didn't help). The same evening I bought ground Cayenne Pepper and decided to give it a try... I put a bit less than half a teaspoon in a glass of luke warm water and downed it... I could feel it working from the first go!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It wasn't nice, I'm not used to spicy stuff and my eyes were about to pop out, but it passed a minute or so later. That heat the pepper gave cleared the pressure in my nose immediately.

The next day another 2 glasses of the magic stuff later I was laying on my right side and I felt a sudden sharp pain in my ear, like a pop, like someone stuck a screwdriver in my right ear and a strong sensation of relief.... Then..... Nothing.... Absolutely nothing. It was 2 weeks ago. I've not had pain since, not even once. I can't believe it!!!!!! It was ruining my life, I was grumpy the whole time, and not to mention very scared that it was something much more sinister than some infection. In my opinion it was an infection getting out of control, like candida or something. I was very stressed out at the time it started 5 months ago, so it can easily be stress related candida symptom. I do get an occasional itch in my ears, but small itching is normal now and again. I also take a glass of water with 1 tbspoon of ACV and 1/2 teaspoon of soda bicarbonate twice a day now, I can honestly say that I've never felt better. Thank you EarthClinic! THANK YOU! Good luck and good health everyone x

Posted by Justis (St. Louis, MO) on 02/03/2009

[YEA]  I had such severe sinus pressure i thought my ears were going to explode and I couldn't hear at all...I made a cayenne tea and shot it up into my nose and my sinuses repeatedly. Talk about pain...sinuses drained by the time i went to bed couple hours later and pressure all gone next day.

Posted by Jack (Toledo, Ohio) on 05/06/2006

[YEA]  If you suffer from sinus headaches, this will give relief in 30 secs to 5 minutes depending on how long you've had it. it will also stop an asthma attack; take 2, 8oz glasses, fill one with cool to cold water the other with no more warm to hot water you can swallow in one gulp. in the hot water, put 1/8 to 1/4 level teaspoon of "cayenne powdered red pepper", mix very well, then pick up both glasses, down the hot water and red pepper in one gulp "quickly". as soon as you've done that, put the cold water into your mouth and rinse vigorously and swallow, repeat the rinse with cold water until your mouth is warm to hot, quit rinsing, fill your lungs with all the air they can hold, and hold your breath for as long as you can, then let the air "slowly out your "nose" repeat the breathing exercize 4 to 5 times, by the fifth time your pain will be gone!! if your eustacian tubes are plugged up they will open in a few minutes, and you'll feel your sinuses draining down yr throat, you'll need to blow yr nose because this will drain your sinuses. this will also give up to 32 hours of asthma relief as well as cleans your blood of impurities while you sleep.

Replied by Robin
Warriors Mark, Pennsylvania

[YEA]   well, i tried the above cayanne pepper remedy, and aside from leaving my throat feel like i just threw up, my ears feel a bit better! i go to boarding school, and the weekend before exams i ended up with an ear infection--so i went to the nurses, and they put me on a "Z Pack," a form of antibiotics. well THOSE didn't work, and now I can barely hear and am developing a sinus infection--way to go modern medicine! not. anyway, I had an herb garden this summer and produced a healthy amount of holy basil, yarrow, chamomile, lemon balm and feverfew. I took a small shot of yarrow tincture, and just to add to the effect, I did the cayanne pepper thing. we'll see how I feel tomorrow morning, but I definitely think it helped. Again, the only downside is that it leaves you feeling like you guess is, it's all that capsacin! thanks for the remedy!
Replied by Missy
Sherwood, Arkansas

[YEA]   I've had an ear infection for almost four weeks...and I've been to the doctor three times. I have had trouble keeping the auditory tubes open. I tried the cayenne pepper treatment listed on this site. I don't know how long it will keep the auditory tubes open, but it'll definitely drain the sinuses!
Replied by Paul
Bloomington, In

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]   Had an ear infection due to clogged up sinus'. I got the ear infection to go away but not the mucus. I tried this cayenne cure and it somewhat worked. It did relieve a bit of the pressure and after a long nap did seem better but not completely gone.

Word to the wise, make sure you have some padding in your stomach like crackers, chips, bread as this cure burns both mouth and stomach. I had a hard time swishing the water as I was too concerned about the burning in my mouth. I did not follow this cure to the T so it might work better next time with practice.

Replied by Sara
West Allis, Wi

[YEA]   I tried this a year or two back when I had an inner ear infection with fluid in my ear due to a sinus infection. The doctor put me on antibiotics to clear up the infections, but I also did this cayenne pepper remedy. I felt it working on the first try, but I noticed more relief as I did it a couple more times. I would say after the 2nd or 3rd treatment, the fluid was almost completely gone and I could hear normally again. I have since bought stronger cayenne (the other stuff was old). It may not take as many treatments if you have some good quality cayenne.
Replied by Bess
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Thanks "S" for the link to the cayenne pepper Web site. I didn't realize it was good for so many things. I'm going to try taking 1/4 teaspoon in warm water (with a straw) to see if it will lower my blood pressure. Thanks again!
Replied by Stan
Las Vegas,nv, Usa

I just did that pepper thing. The guy who said it makes you feel like you just puked was right. But, most of the pain is gone with my sinuses drained. I'll do it a couple of more times later and see what happens. I will update.
Replied by Niki
Eugene, Or

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]   I tried this remedy (1/4 teaspoon to 6oz water) and did exactly as it says. My sinuses did drain a little, but my ear continued to hurt and stay clogged for some time. It did drain about 2-3 hours after I went to bed. I have no doubt that it was helpful, but I cannot say I experienced any immediate relief.

I did not have fresh organic cayenne measured by strength; it was Morton's brand and fairly new, but I suspect it wasn't as potent or fresh as could be had.

Cigarette or Newspaper
  User Ratings

Posted by Charlee (Baltimore, Md) on 08/20/2014

[YEA]  My husband told me to light a cigarette and put it in my ear because I had really bad pressure in it. I looked at him like he was crazy but I also looked up the ear candle that day and I said I'm NOT doing that so I lit a cigarette and put it in my ear and I couldn't believe, it was still smoking itself ( being fire safe)!!! Anyways I could actually feel the smoke in my ear and it popped and I did it again a few hours later and I have no pain! It does work!

Posted by Jessica (Dallas, Tx) on 12/02/2011

[YEA]  Just tried this and can't believe it worked! Had sinus issues the last few days.. Everything else had mostly cleared up but I was left with horrible pressure and popping in my ears (I think due to some post nasal drip). I lit half a cigarette, placed in ear, let it sit there for about a min while I hunched over to keep it in place. The popping stopped!

Replied by Doug

I have been dying to get my ear to pop the last couple days and I finally resorted to the cigarette trick. I tried it 3 different ways and none of them worked. What am I doing wrong as it seems some people have had success?

Posted by Margalit (Buena Park, Ca.) on 03/18/2010

[YEA]  Yes, I've tried the newspaper rolled up and burned it at the end when i was pregnant and it took away my ear pain kind of scary but it worked for me.