Natural Remedies for Children's Ear Infections and Ear Pain

Natural Remedies for Ear Infections in Children

The pain of an ear infection can be agonizing, especially for children. Natural remedies work quickly to relieve the pain and infection in children. Effective home treatments for ear pain in children include garlic, olive oil and a warm rice sock.

Natural Remedies for Ear Pain

Mullein Oil and Rice Sock

  • The first thing to do is put a few drops of mullein ear oil into each ear.  (Always treat both ears, even if only one ear seems to be having trouble.)
  • Next, heat up a rice sock.  Make sure the temperature is comfortable on your own ear before putting it onto a child's ear.  This often helps right away. 
  • If this does not begin to give child relief soon, consider a dose of over the counter pain reliever. Usually by the time that wears off, the oil and rice sock have brought some relief. 
  • Reheat and reuse the rice sock as long as the child desires it. 
  • Use the ear drops 3-4 times a day.

If mullein oil is not available, use plain olive oil, also known as "sweet oil," or try the recipe for mullein or garlic ear oil below.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Pour half a capful of hydrogen peroxide into the pained ear. The peroxide will likely foam and bubble significantly. After 10 minutes, drain the peroxide from the ear. Repeat on the other ear. Use this remedy 4 times a day.

Colloidal Silver

Use a dropperful of colloidal silver in each ear several times a day until the pain and infection pass.

Mullein Ear Oil Recipe

  • Put 1/4 cup of dry mullein leaf into a small pot. 
  • Add 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil.  Heat on very low heat (do not even reach a simmer) for 45 minutes. 
  • Strain out the Mullein Leaf through a coffee filter. 
  • Cool.  Store this on the counter if using it daily; otherwise, put it in the refrigerator to keep it for a couple of months.

Garlic Ear Oil Recipe

Homemade garlic oil is so effective and often the ingredients are on hand. This is especially helpful if the ear pain strikes when the stores are closed or it is inconvenient to go out to get a remedy.  Put a few drops of the oil into each ear a few times a day.  Usually pain is resolved in a day or two, but it is not a bad idea to continue using the remedy once a day for a few days even after the child feels better.

  • Chop a clove of garlic and put it into a small pan. 
  • Add olive oil to cover.  Heat the garlic in the olive oil, just to very warm (not enough to saute the garlic) and let the garlic steep in the hot oil for 45 minutes. 
  • Strain out the garlic and let the oil cool.
  • Store this on the counter when needed daily and in the refrigerator to keep if fresh for a couple of months.

For a child with ear pain, any remedy that is put in the ears will be more comfortable if it is warmed first.  Store remedies in one ounce glass dropper bottles.  To warm them get a mug with very hot tap water, and put the glass bottle into the mug for five minutes or so. Always test the temperature of remedies on the inside of the wrist to ensure that the heat won't be too much for sensitive ears. If it is uncomfortably hot on the wrist, it will be uncomfortably hot in the ear. Too cold will be just as miserable in a sore ear as too hot.

How to Make a Rice Sock to Relieve Ear Pain

  • Fill a clean sock of any size half full with brown or white rice.
  • Tie a knot in the top of the sock.  The rice should be able to move freely. 
  • Store a rice sock in the freezer so it is ready to be an "ice pack" for any bump or bruise. 
  • When the rice sock is needed for ear pain, sprinkle it with 2 teaspoons of water and heat it in the microwave for 60-90 seconds. (Some people keep a microwave on hand just for the purpose of heating up a rice sock!) If the sock is too hot, wrap it a towel. As it begins to cool, remove the towel and apply the rice sock straight. Reheat in the microwave as needed. Always test the heat of a rice sock on your own ear before applying it to the ear of a child.

Additional Considerations for Ear Pain In Children

  • Dairy products are commonly linked to chronic ear infections. During acute ear infections, avoiding dairy will help reduce mucous production and inflammation.
  • Vitamin C supplements will support the immune system as it fights an ear infection.
  • Hot tea and broth can help to keep the body hydrated and fluids moving.
  • A warm bath with 1 cup baking soda is a nice healing distraction for a child suffering with ear pain.
  • Golden Milk, made with a non-dairy milk will also help to fight the ear infection.


  1. It is not recommended to put anything into the ear if there has been a rupture. 
  2. Essential oils should never be put into the ears whether there is a rupture or not. 

What Causes Ear Pain in a Child?

Ear pain in children can be caused by congestion, middle ear infection (otitis media), a build up of ear wax, teething pain, swimmer's ear (acute otitis externa) or from having a foreign object inside the ear.

Middle ear infections are quite common in children due to the smaller size of the eustachian tubes and immature immune systems, making them more likely to get colds.  Ear infections are often secondary to a cold or flu virus. In addition to treating the cold or flu virus, there are a number of natural remedies that can be used to help a child who has pain in his ear.

Antibiotics Do Not Usually Help Ear Infections

There was a time when antibiotics were prescribed for nearly all ear infections.  This protocol, however, was causing increased resistance to antibiotics. It was also found that ear infections were often viral and would resolve on their own without antibiotics.

Please keep scrolling down to read how Earth Clinic readers have treated their own children's ear infections and ear pain. Please let us know your own favorite treatments!

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List of Remedies for Ear Infections in Children