5 Natural Home Remedies For Ear Infection (no antibiotics!)
Before filling that antibiotic Rx for an ear infection, give these 5 natural home remedies for ear infection a try! Antibiotics aren’t always necessary for ear infections. Learn how to treat ear infections at home with these natural remedies for ear infections.
If I had a nickel for every time I called my baby’s pediatrician during those first two years…
I’d be one rich momma!
More often than not, that phone call was more about easing my mind than it was about anything being seriously wrong with my child.
Simply put — many parents (myself included, once upon a time) often feel more at ease with a prescription for antibiotics than they do with trusting natural remedies.
Yet, in 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their diagnosis and treatment standards for acute otitis media (AOM). These new standards offer more rigorous diagnostic criteria to prevent the overuse of antibiotics (source).
Does this mean antibiotics are never needed?
There are always going to be situations when antibiotics are the best choice to save your or your child’s life or prevent further injury to the body. Antibiotics aren’t evil, as many in the natural health community would have us think.
They are, however, over-used — especially for ailments that have been treated with natural remedies for centuries. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes that antibiotics don’t always have to be the first choice to treat children’s ear infections.
As a parent, I have to listen to two things when making medical decisions, especially for my children: the facts and my instincts.
I have to set my emotions aside and understand the facts of whatever illness I may be dealing with.
So what are the facts?
- Ear infections are painful, often cause fevers, and if left untreated, can progress until there is a loss of hearing and possibly permanent damage to the ear.
- There are infections of all sorts that are stubborn and resist natural remedies.
- There are infections of all sorts that are stubborn and respond better to natural remedies than they do to allopathic treatment.
- Use of antibiotics disrupts gut flora and can lead to overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria (SIBO, C-Diff) or yeast (candida) or weaken the immune system.
Knowing the facts, I also have Killer Momma Intuition when it comes to my kids.
I can pick out their cries in a room full of people.
I can hear their voices say “Mommy!” from across a crowded room.
Alas, I can sleep through anything, but will wake immediately if I hear one of their bedroom doors crack open in the middle of the night. If I slam on my brakes while driving, I instinctively move my arm toward them to block them from danger.
These instincts allow me to make the best decisions for my kids, even when those decisions may not make sense to the rest of the world.
Trusting my instincts when it comes to medical care for my children means I take the facts seriously, but I don’t allow my decisions to be motivated by fear. There is a big difference between operating in fear and trusting my instincts.
5 Natural Home Remedies For Ear Infection (Treating Ear Infections Without Antibiotics!)
Armed with facts and my instincts, I have pursued natural and holistic healthcare and remedies for my family for over a decade now.
We’ve treated strep throat, tummy bugs, upper respiratory illness, urinary tract infections, and ear infections with natural home remedies such as herbs, essential oils, homeopathy, and using food as medicine.
One day, the facts and my instincts may very well tell me that it’s time to trust a medical doctor with the care of someone in my family or myself — in which case, I’ll listen to both! (Update: in 2019 I had to trust conventional medicine with my mental health and use anti-anxiety medications as well as have a surgery called pelvic vein embolization.)
Ear infections are one of the easiest maladies to treat naturally and at home, however.
If you suspect an ear infection and still feel a trip to the doctor is necessary, by all means, go! But before you fill that prescription for antibiotics for yourself or your child, give some proven, natural home remedies for ear infection a try.
Here are five natural, no-antibiotic treatments for ear infections that work:
#1 — Hydrogen Peroxide
Something as simple and cheap as good, ol’ hydrogen peroxide is how we have healed many an ear infection in our house.
This is the first remedy I reach for when I know an ear infection is present.
If you’re going to be administering H2O2 to a child, have them lie on their side in your lap with the infected ear facing up. Using a dropper, fill the ear canal with peroxide.
Pull gently on the ear lobe to help the peroxide go all the way down into the ear.
The child will probably complain that it’s cold or that it tickles. If an infection is truly present, there will be lots of white bubbly foam coming out of the ear. This is all normal.
Help the child relax by encouraging them to breath deeply or by reading a book while they lie on your lap, retaining the peroxide in the ear for five to 15 minutes.
Then have them turn over and allow the peroxide to flow out onto a towel.
Repeat this two or four times a day for several days. As the infection heals, there should be less and less bubbles coming out of the ear.
It is not uncommon for chunks of ear wax to come out of the ear canal along with the bubbles, especially after doing this for a few days, as the peroxide softens the ear wax.
Hydrogen peroxide is so effective, I almost never have to reach for another remedy for a mild ear infection.
#2 — Garlic Oil
If you wish to attack an ear infection with a full-on natural antibiotic, garlic oil is a powerful remedy.
We have used raw garlic with much success against a host of illnesses in our home, including strep throat! I can personally speak to the power of garlic to treat even the most difficult infections.
You can purchase a ready-made garlic oil that is specifically for this purpose. These are often mixed with other herbs, such as mullein or goldenseal.
Ear infections, especially in children, tend to come on suddenly. There may not be time to order a pre-made garlic oil and receive it before the infection gets worse.
In that case, it is helpful to know how to make your own — and it’s very simple!
Homemade Garlic Oil: A Natural Remedy For Ear Infections
- 1 clove organic garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
Combine the garlic with olive oil in a small, glass dish.
Allow the garlic to “steep” in the olive oil and release its healing properties for 2 to 4 hours. This retains all the benefits of raw garlic, plus olive oil is soothing to any inflammation in the ears.
Strain the oil, then place 2 or 3 drops in the infected ear. You can do this up to 4 times per day.
Use more olive oil — 2 tablespoons — for very small children so that it is not quite as concentrated.
#3 — Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver is a natural microbial antibiotic made of minute silver particles suspended in water.
Colloidal silver essentially cuts off the oxygen supply of infections, thereby making it very difficult for them to remain alive or spread.
The process of treating an ear infection with colloidal silver is very similar to hydrogen peroxide.
Rather than filling the ear canal with peroxide, however, you should only use 2 or 3 drops of colloidal silver in the infected ear. Using colloidal silver in both ears will help prevent the spread of the infection to the other ear, which often happens.
Retain the colloidal silver in the ear as long as possible — but for at least 10 to 15 minutes — before allowing it to drain out.
A couple of summers ago, our kids got swimmer’s ear several times, and colloidal silver was the only remedy that was able to knock it out. And, here’s how I remedied a stubborn case of cervicitis with colloidal silver.
#4 — Essential Oils
You should never put essential oils inside the ear canal.
However, you can use essential oils to reduce the pain of an ear infection.
For all ages, lavender oil can be applied to the back side of the ear, behind the lobe, from the soft spot all the way up the bone that runs behind the ear. Massaging the side of the neck and in front of the ear toward the cheek with soothing EOs can also be helpful.
Oils that work best for this purpose include rosemary, tea tree (melaleuca), and of course, lavender.
Please consult an aromatherapist or essential oil guide book to help you determine which oils are safe for babies, children, and pregnant or nursing mothers. Use only high quality essential oils, such as those from my preferred source, Spark Naturals.
Save 10% on any Spark Naturals order with my discount code NOURISHING10 + get free shipping on orders of $25 or more!
Oregano oil is a powerful, natural antibiotic that works on stubborn infections. Because of the burning nature of this oil, I prefer to take it internally — and as a last resort.
I do not recommend giving oregano oil (or any essential oil) internally to children under the age of 12 without first consulting a qualified aromatherapist.
For adults, however, 1 or 2 drops of oregano essential oil can be placed in a gel capsule with a small amount of fractionated coconut oil and taken up to twice daily. Read more about the safe use of oregano oil here.
#5 — Chiropractic Adjustments
Our family are huge fans of chiropractic. In fact, when we started getting regular adjustments in 2008, our eyes were opened to the world of natural and holistic health care — and we’ve never looked back.
Wellness-focused chiropractors will not treat the ear infection. Instead, they see the ear infection as a symptom of a deeper issue: a body out of alignment.
The adjustment restores body function by reducing nervous system stress that keeps the body from functioning normally and healing.
Our bodies are made to heal themselves. With the spine in alignment, the body takes care of the rest.
Whether it’s ear infections, constipation, or PMS, often the root of the issue is found in the spine. Aligning the spine removes the interference and allows the body to heal.
How I Treat Ear Infections Naturally In My Home
The first thing I do when I suspect an ear infection is grab the hydrogen peroxide.
For the first and second days, I administer peroxide up to four times daily.
I also rub lavender oil behind the ear and down the neck to provide pain relief since we don’t have over-the-counter pain killers in our house.
If my child isn’t back to her old self by the end of the second day, I call the chiropractor and schedule an adjustment for the third day.
I still continue the peroxide 3 or 4 times a day.
By this point — three days of peroxide and an adjustment — my kids are usually over it completely. I’ll still do peroxide a couple times a day just to be safe.
If I’m on the third or fourth day of the infection and it shows no sign of improvement at all, I’ll pull out the garlic oil and colloidal silver and alternate them, while still using essential oils for pain relief. (This has only ever happened when my kids had swimmer’s ear — an infection of the outer ear, not inner ear.)
Ear infections are VERY rare in our family, but this is the protocol I’ve used each time; and neither of my kids have taken an antibiotic in over 10 years.
These 5 natural home remedies for ear infection work quickly for adults and children! I hope you’ll feel empowered to reduce antibiotic use in your home and give some of these remedies a try next time you’re faced with an ear infection!
More Natural Home Remedies to Try…
- Colloidal Silver Douche for Cervicitis, BV, & Yeast Infections
- The Best Natural Bug Bite Relief Products
- Essential Oil Lice Repellant Spray
- Oral Health Essential Oil for Cavities, Bad Breath, & Gum Disease
- 4 Effective & Natural Ways to Relieve an Upset Stomach
- Herbal Sunburn Tea + Natural Sunburn Remedies
- Get Through the Flu Herbal Tea
- How to Make an Ashwagandha Tincture
- PMS Smoothie
Have you used natural home remedies for ear infection before? Do you have other natural treatments for ear infections to add to this list?
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition or disease. It is also not a replacement for proper medical care provided by a licensed practitioner. You are responsible for your healthcare.
Thanks for the article.
While your caution is well intended I think you paint with too wide a brush when you say never put essential oils in the ear canal. Tisserand, Woodard, and other professionals recommend saturating cotton wool with diluted essential oils and placing them in the ear. Even if just placed in the outer ear the oil will creep into the canal.
My own MD recommended a few drops of lavender EO in the alcohol I use to dry my ears after swimming.
I try to never say never.
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Have swimmers ear now. One thing that helps relieve the pain is an onion poultice. I steam a half an onion in my steamer. Place the onion in a clean cotton dishtowel and when it is warm I press it against my ear. It is okay if the juice gets in the ear – it is very soothing. Also I have used hydrogen peroxide for years with no problems — whenever I start to sniffle I treat both of my ears. My husband thinks I am nuts because I treat myself before heading to the doctor. He went to the… Read more »
Swimmer’s ear is SO painful! We used colloidal silver for that, because the peroxide wasn’t working. I hope it goes away soon!
Warm any liquid that will be instilled in the ears – Hydrogen peroxide, silver, etc. to body temperature. You can hold the bottle against your skin or in the crook of your arm or the like for about 15 minutes. Room temperature hydrogn peroxide could be very painful to an infected ear.
Hi there! Thank you for posting this article! I have a question! If you had an ear infection 6 days ago, but just one ear is still feeling clogged (like having one side of your head underwater), what do you recommend to do? Would you still put the hydrogen peroxide in the ear even though there is no pain or fever? The left ear just feels clogged so hearing is muted and there is a slight ringing which is just annoying. Sound in general is very sensitive…is it normal to just have one ear clogged for several days after the… Read more »
Sounds like ear wax build-up. I would get an ear wax removal kit from the drugstore and try that.
Do know if any of these will treat a middle ear infection with fluid, i cant take antibiotics because of serious health issues i tried and cannot endure the reaction they cause, im getting concerned that its been there 2 weeks now…ty
I can’t give you medical advice. Please consult your healthcare practitioner.
one could definitely use home remedies for infection, they are a good option for your infections, but if there is any other problem in your Ear you should take the help of experts if one likes natural treatment they can also go for ayurvedic treatment, ayurvedic treatment is 100% natural and is best for one’s ear. Jain cow urine therapy in Indore m.p is one of the best places to get your disease treated in a natural way, which is free from side effects.
I have never experienced an ear infection and so far my daughter hasn’t either.
My girlfriend suspects our daughter may be starting to get one and I’ll be using colloidal silver on her. I think you may change your protocol if you seen the information listed here.
The website is very difficult to navigate but I’ve never came across 90% of the info listed here.
I’ll be condensing the information in an easy to navigate fashion on my website over the next couple weeks.
Thanks for your post. Can honey be a remedy for ear infection?
I haven’t personally used honey as a remedy, so I can’t say for sure. I don’t think eating it would heal an ear infection, and I probably wouldn’t put honey inside the ear. So, for me, it’s no, but you do your own research!
Both Peroxide and colloidal silver can cause serious damage and scarring. I know that you are sharing what has worked for you, but perhaps it’s worth stating that concentrations/usage should be checked thoroughly before trying?
I also have a disclaimer stating that I am not a doctor and any information I provide is not a replacement for medical care.
I would appreciate some evidence to support your statement. Hydrogen peroxide can definitely cause damage to tissue but I’ve never heard of this from silver. I’ve done hundreds of hours of research on silver.
h2o2 can cause tissue damage in wounds, but i’ve never heard of it causing damage on intact tissue, unless ur using a high concentration other than the 3% solutions u normally find at the drug store.
My great grandson has a bad earache and his dad took him to er. Diagnosis, empacted wax
He continues to have pain. So glad I found you. You have provided many natural options. Did you ever try putting warm olive oil in the ear? This helped us as well as a tea.
Thanks for the help. Very painful are rare infections.
Warm olive oil with garlic, as mentioned in the post is very helpful! It can also loosen up compacted earwax. I hope it comes out! If not, probably best to have it flushed out at the doctor’s office. 🙂
I’m a 51yr old African American Woman. Every morning I wake up with smelly ear wax drainage. When I go see the DR. they look into my ears and say that my inner ear looks great, but they do not give me a solution for the earwax
I don’t have a solution for you there either. Perhaps you could try some of these remedies and see if it clears up?
Do not use peroxide. I talked to an ear specialist and he said it burns the hairs n ear drum. I have an ear infection and used it before spoke to him. Needless to say i cant hear and i had blood draining out of my ears were it ruptured my ear drum. Ruptured ear drum can either heal in 2wks or if a bad case surgery heals it….
We’ve been using peroxide for years and have never once had a bad outcome. Perhaps the peroxide he’s referring to is the kind that is very concentrated. We use a 1% peroxide found at most grocery stores.
Hi I appreciate your info as ive been using alt health since becoming chronically ill 7 yrs ago and it is great to see you share your experiences. I would like to comment that you should not dismiss Vanessa’s comment just because you have used peroxide with no prob and seen results. You should not assume it is a strength issue. I used to work for a family doctor and it was my job to do ear irrigations and I used Peroxide–same kind you buy at the store BUT it was always mixed with water NEVER straight. Please consider this… Read more »
Thanks for your comment, Kim. Again, I have to stress that I am sharing information that has worked for our family. It is up to each individual to do their her own research and decide what, if any, alternative treatments she will use on herself or her children. I am not a medical practitioner. It is always wise to consult your practitioner when deciding upon remedies. Thanks!
I use peroxide straight as well and I have never had a problem with it burning my ears. I don’t put much faith in mainstream medicine anyway – they just want to give you a shot or a prescription – I prefer natural remedies. Thanks for your info!
You’re welcome, Nicole!
Hi Kim, will it be safe to take half peroxide and half distilled water?
what concentration do u use in the clinic & what would b the ratio of h2o2 to water? thanks in advance.
Thanks for the great post. U mentioned that u used garlic as a remedy for strep throat! May I know how to use it?
Just take raw garlic cloves and mince them, add to a small bit of water, and chug-a-lug. Do it 2-3 times a day for 7-10 days.
Thanks.. I am trying it now. Will let you know the results 🙂
How can a garlic be used to treat ear itching?
You can make or buy the garlic oil mentioned in the post. However, ear itching can often be caused by allergies, for which garlic oil wouldn’t really be helpful.
Have you used these if the eardrum has ruptured? Thanks!
No, I would highly recommend seeing a doctor if you know the eardrum has ruptured.
Have you ever heard of using Olive Oil? Also, can ear aches affect the jaw? I have had pain in my jaw (hinge part at the ear left side) I did go to Chiropractor as well. I used the h. peroxide, but I need to do it more than once.
Yes, ear pain can go into the jaw, cause headaches, and more. In the post, I discuss mixing garlic with olive oil, so I do believe olive oil has a place in healing an ear infection naturally. I hope you get some relief!