Home Treatment and Natural Remedies for Swimmer's Ear

Swimmer’s ear is an infection in the outer ear canal, usually caused by a moist environment that is ideal for bacterial growth. The condition can become a serious infection if left unattended.


  • Discomfort
  • Drainage of fluid
  • Itching in the ear canal
  • Redness inside the ear

Each one of the symptoms may become progressively worse if the infection increases and may result in decreased hearing, swelling of the lymph nodes, and fever.

It isn’t just swimming that can cause this condition.  Any continued moisture from perspiration, showers, and even humid weather can create a bacteria-friendly environment in your year.


If your infection is serious, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics but mild cases may call for over-the-counter eardrops or drops that you can prepare at home with equal parts vinegar and rubbing alcohol that may keep bacteria at bay.


The suggestions below are self-treatments that others have found helpful for this condition and are offered as information for your further research.


The following herbs and spices have antibiotic properties and can be ingested with food or as teas.  If you are on medication there is always the possibility that something that is normally safe to eat or drink may interfere with a medication, so always ask your doctor if you plan to imbibe in quantity.

  • Basil
  • Black Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove/clove extract
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Echinacea
  • Fennel
  • Galangal
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Goldenseal
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme


As with most opinions, some are for and others entirely against using essential oils as ear drops.  If you like to err on the side of caution, you could simply put some oil on a cotton ball (not saturated so that it drips) and place it over the ear for a while.  Another option is to rub some diluted oil around the outside of the affected ear(s). If you decide to put drops in your ears, be sure to dilute any essential oil before use with a carrier oil (heavy on the carrier oil).  Some essential oils that others have found useful are:

  • Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Orange
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme


  • Potassium
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc


  • Use a warm towel or heating pad over your ear to ease pain.
  • Do not try to clean your ears of all wax; wax creates a barrier to moisture.
  • Put a little mineral oil or baby oil into your ear before swimming.
  • Use equal parts apple cider vinegar and warm water and apply several drops to affected ears. Let it sit for five minutes before draining and repeat often. Apple cider vinegar may be helpful against bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
  • Other Options for ear drops:
    • Coconut oil eardrops
    • Garlic ear oil
    • Hydrogen peroxide
    • Onion juice


Chinese Medicine – http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/exam/itchy_ear.html


Earthing – or Grounding – can reduce inflammation


Acupressure – https://www.healthline.com/health/pressure-points-for-ears#pressure-points-head-and-ear-pain


  • Avoid scratching your ear canal by using cotton swabs, any sharp object and even your fingernails.
  • Hearing aids and ear pods can scratch the skin inside your ear. Take them out frequently to allow your ear canal to dry out.
  • Protect your ears from hairspray and hair dyes .
  • Call a doctor if you have a fever along with other symptoms of swimmer’s ear.
  • The water that you are swimming in may contain bacteria that causes your infection.


  • Use a blow-dryer on low or no heat to dry your ears after swimming, pulling the earflap up and out to straighten the canal a bit and just give it half a minute to dry.
  • Use earplugs when swimming.
  • Swim close to the surface of the water.