10 Natural Earache Relief Methods {that really work}

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Earaches and ear infections can have a number of causes, but not matter the cause, they are no fun! Here are some ideas for natural earache remedies using things you might have around the home–and they really work!

child with cotton ball and medical tape on ear for earache relief

In this post, we’ll talk about some ways to help with earaches while you are trying to determine the cause, and we’ll also address the possible overuse of antibiotics in the case of ear infections.

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Antibiotic Use and Ear Infections

Did you know that antibiotics aren’t typically necessary for ear infections and that overuse of antibiotics for ear infections can cause long-lasting health problems including gut dysbiosis and antibiotic resistance?

It’s a common misperception that an infection means that one must use an antibiotic. In the case of an ear infection, that is definitely not the case. In fact, according to the CDC, for most ear infections, antibiotics are not recommended. Overuse of antibiotics for children’s ear infections can end up causing gut microbial imbalance and even antibiotic-resistance. (source)

What’s more, ear infections are often over-diagnosed (source) and of course, viral ear infections won’t respond to antibiotics.

For these reasons, it’s important to know how to address ear infections at home to avoid unnecessary exposure to antibiotics and the problems that can arise from their overuse.

I try to avoid antibiotics as much as possible, for those very same reasons. We try to use saline washesessential oilsprobiotics, and other natural methods of addressing issues before turning to OTC and prescription medications. 

Ear Infection Symptoms

Following are some symptoms of an ear infection.

  • feeling of fullness in the ear
  • fever
  • pain in ear
  • sore throad
  • feeling sick
  • lacking energy
  • difficulty hearing
  • discharge from ear
  • feeling of pressure or fullness in ear
  • itching and/or irritation in or around the ear

When to Seek Medical Care

If any of the following occur, do seek attention from your healthcare provider:

  • Symptoms last for more than a day
  • Ear pain is severe
  • Your infant or toddler is sleepless or irritable after a cold or other upper respiratory infection
  • You observe a discharge of fluid, pus or bloody discharge from the ear

Additionally, an adult with ear pain or discharge should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Natural Remedies for Earache / Ear Infection

Following are some natural helps for ear infection and earache. You likely have some of these in your home already and otherwise many can be purchased at health food stores or online holistic sites.

1.  Vitamin C 

Personally I like sodium ascorbate but camu camu*REMOVE!!) is a new one that we love–its natural vitamin C power in a whole food form. Vitamin C supports the immune system so it’s great to use when the body is fighting something.. (source)

2.   Saline Wash

Saline washes are known to help remove the germs from the nasal passages and the back of the throat to reduce viral load. (source)

3. Garlic Oil

Garlic is well known to help with immune support and has antimicrobial and antiviral properties. (source) And in fact, according to many parents, garlic oil is a great home remedy for ear infections. One to two drops in the ear is what is often recommended, however this is not recommended if there is suspicion of a burst or ruptured ear drum.

4. Probiotics

Probiotics help support the body’s immune system ** and also are thought to help with preventing ear infections in the first place. (sourcesource)

You can get probiotics in the form of a supplement or fermented foods and drinks like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha. (source) In fact, ferments are known to be exponentially more potent than probiotic supplements, so they are often a better choice unless one is dealing with histamine intolerance. In that case, a low-histamine probiotic is a good option. 

5. Mullein

Oil made from the mullein (Verbascum thapsus) plant’s flowers is well-known as a natural earache remedy. It’s also known to be an expectorant (source). A tincture containing mullein either alone or combined with other herbs is commonly found online and in health stores as a natural remedy for earaches and ear infections.

Research published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine demonstrates how an herbal ear drop containing mullein was just as effective when it came to pain relief as an anesthetic one. (18) Mullein oil is also used to naturally treat ear infections (and more) in dogs too! (19)

6. Breast Milk

Breast milk is full of natural antibodies and is known to have many benefits for baby’s health. Breastfeeding has also been shown to reduce the number of ear infections in babies and in children who were breastfed as babies.  (LINK!!) There is conflicting information about putting breastmilk directly in the ear canal. Some say that you can put it in the outer ear canal, whereas others say that putting a few drops in the ear canal has brought relief. Both of those claims lean on the claim that each drop of breastmilk has over one million white blood cells. 

7. Hydrogen Peroxide

Many sources recommend putting a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in the ear and then letting it bubble for a few minutes before draining it out.  I personally never got much benefit from this, but have heard of others who have. It’s important to not put peroxide or any other liquid in the car if you suspect a perforated ear drum.  Also, if you have a cut in your ear, peroxide should not be used as it can be damaging to injured tissues.

8. Vitamin D

It’s a good idea to take vitamin K2 with Vitamin D for it to work better. (source

9. Warm Compress

While warmth isn’t going to cure an ear infection, it can really help to relieve the pain and inflammation so you can get the rest you need. To make a wam compress, wet a clean small towel with warm water, wring it out well, and then hold against the infected ear. Some people like to alternate warm compresses with cold compresses to help address the inflammation better. You can use a cloth soaked in cold or ice cold water and then wrung out, or an ice pack can be used as well. A heating pad can be used instead of a warm compress.

10. Apple Cider Vinegar

Yes, most of us use apple cider vinegar for cooking (like in salad dressings) or for personal care (like in this hair rinse), but ACV apparently can also be used for ear infections. But you do need to be careful when trying this. The reason why this can help is that apple cider vinegar has proven antibacterial and antifungal properties. (source)

To use apple cider vinegar for an ear infection or earache, dilute the vinegar with equal parts of warm water or isopropyl alcohol, and place 5-10 drops in the affected ear. Tilt the head (lying down with the affected ear up works well) so the mixture doesn’t run out and leave for a few minutes before letting it drain out onto a cloth. Repeat throughout the day.

boy with cotton ball on ear for earache
child with cotton ball and medical tape on ear for earache relief

We have tried many of the above remedies with varying amounts of relief.

To my recollection, we have never had to use antibiotics once for an ear infection or earache for our kids. Natural methods have always worked for us, thankfully!

More Natural Health Topics:

Eczema and Food Allergies – From Despair to Healing
Natural Autism Support–Monster Included
Natural Sleep Help for Kids–And Adults

What natural ear infection remedies have you used?

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  1. I cure earaches overnight.At bedtime before I go to sleep, I puncture a garlic softgel ( garlic softgel supplement) and squeezing the contents into the ear.I then place a cotton ball over the ear canal and put tape across it to hold it in place.When I wake up all the pain is gone and I can hear clearly so the earache is healed.I have used this method on myself, my husband and other adults in my family . I have not used thus method on children but the garlic softgels in the ears also cured an infection one of our pet rabbits had.

  2. I have tried tea tree oil on a cotton ball for an earache before. It seemed to work alright at the time.

    The other “home remedy” earache treatment I have tried is using Vick’s on a cotton ball plugging the ear canal. It definitely creates a bit of a burning sensation at first, but mellows out the pain.

    Also as far as cotton balls are concerned, I don’t think tape really is necessary. If you tear it to the right size it will plug into the end of the ear canal without falling out.

  3. Thanks for the article. Urine also help my son recover from ear pain after several other things failed to help him.

      1. No Your article prompted me to try Urine. I have been referring friends to this article since then.

        Why did you remove references to Urine from it?

  4. As a child my mother used warm sweet oil for earaches and if that failed would have us kids pee on a cotton ball and stick it in our ear. The urine always worked quickly to end the earache. I still use it to this day.

  5. Please, you should consider DoTerra lavendar and coconut oil. All you have to do is put it in a roller bottle and put behind the ear 4 times a day. I do this at first twinge of pain and it goes away. If it’s a more difficult case I also use the roller bottle on the inside of my ear and feet. OnGuard & lavendar has also worked.

  6. always have inside itching in my ear. L am looking for what to stop it. I do not feel Amy pains nor pores buy serious itching

  7. I’ve been having ear infection on my left ear since Wednesday, used drugs and ear drop but in Saturday the other ear got infected too.
    They seem to be blockage inside because the pus DOSENT come out(though i feel it ) and i feel it’s full. Don’t know what to do since the pain affected my jaw and i can rarely eat. all i do is swallow my meals.
    please does the urine treatment work for blocked pus as I’m really unbalanced by this.

    1. Hi there. I’m sorry but I can’t medically advise–I don’t know that it does come out unless the eardrum bursts. I think that fullness can be from many things when talking about an eardrum — not sure how you know it’s pus?

  8. I think this is great! Going to suggest to a friend. I used my urine to cure poison ivy and oak….. I am highly allergic, it goes systmeic, nothing else EVER worked, I tried pee when a friend suggested it and Bam, fixed it right away and it did not go systemic!

      1. Hi! Thanks for the response! I have used all those except Goldenseal ( I never seem to have it around when it strikes) and the only one that has even helped a little is the salt. I actually use epsom salt, make it into a wash and then use washcloths over the area. I get this stuff BAD. So let me tell you, though it does in fact help, it HURTS. And it still takes time. I did it when my entire stomach and chest were covered and it was horribly painful. I have even grown my own Jewelweed to make salve…nope. I have used the urine twice since and I will continue with that remedy from now on it is SO much better. I agree I am an extreme case when it comes to this, so I am sure those other remedies may work for some. For me, I will stick with what works. The only other remedy I have heard of by a wisewoman is to eat it, and I am not willing to try that at this point. THANKS! Love your Blog! Thanks for sharing, we need more of this and your responses to folks needing some wake up!

  9. My mother recommended this. Apparently, my cousin had constant ear infections as a small child. So my Aunt went to go see the woman who dealt with natural remedies (we are native american) and she told her to make her child pee in a cup and put it in her ear. It cleared up her infections within a couple of days and she used that method the rest of her childhood and they cleared it up quickly each time. When my Aunt got an ear infection later in life she immediately did it herself and found it helped her quickly too. I’m current about to give it a try. I’ve had an ear infection since last friday (its now thursday) and have been on antibiotics since sunday with very little improvement.

      1. I ended up trying it on my daughter who came down with an earache right after I did. It cleared it up completely in 2 days. It didn’t cure mine but it greatly relieved the pain until my family doctor could see me and prescribe stronger antibiotics. I also have a compromised immune system so I figured I wouldn’t be able to fight it off completely on my own.

  10. I have found urine to be a great helming agent for eye styes. I agree whole heartedly about danger of antibiotic overuse, what have you done in cases of kid strep? My son had it a second time and I gave in to antibiotics after he hit 105.6 fever. Also I’d appreciate your recommendations in toddler gut re-building after antibiotics.


    1. For my kids, we didn’t know if they had strep but I suspected it. I did a crushed garlic clove with raw honey and cayenne.

      I have a lot of thoughts on gut bacteria but probiotics are something we prioritize. This post might be of interest: https://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/low-histamine-probiotics/

      Depending on your needs there are some in there that should be of interest. I featured 1 in particular that I really like. I’m doing more research :).

  11. Thank you Adrienne for this information, I’ll certainly try it when needed, I do believe that my body knows what it is best for itself, and by all means I prefer natural medicine. And thank you because you have the courage to share this, not everyone would be willing to say it, as it could be controversial

  12. Thank you so much for this! I am a natural remedy type of woman..I truly believe in our bodies abilities to adapt and fight off illness/disease. after fighting a cold this week, doing everything in my power to naturally get myself better..I felt much better and went to work today. Almost as soon as I get there I started getting ear pain I’ve never had an ear ache before and let me say I wish nobody has to go through this! I thought the flu/cold was bad! This is painful! Will be trying my own STERILE urine as soon as I finish this glass of water!! I’ve been fasting for days and drinking only alkaline mineral water so I trust my urine to be exceptionally clean haha. Thank you thank you thank you! The power of our bodies is REAL! We just have to get in touch with them and listen ! Intuitively. I also have sweet basil oil that I will try later too! Thanks again, mama!

  13. That is so stupid. Urine is highly infectious and unsanitary. It goes out of your body for a reason. Maybe the basil oil worked but not the urine. Don’t try this!

    1. Hi there. Maybe you should confront those who write books on urine therapy instead of me? I have addressed your concerns in the post.

      Not all things that come out of ones body are highly infectious and unsanitary. The basil oil didn’t work for us. I’ve tried it numerous times. Thanks for reading!