Homemade Ear Drops – a Simple and Effective Earache Remedy

Quickly make homemade ear drops for relief of common ear infections.

homemade earache remedy - tea tree oil ear drops

The phone rings. I pick it up.

     “Mom?”

     “What is it, love?”

     “Are you coming into the city soon?”

     “I could. Why?”

     “I’ve got an earache starting. And I feel terrible.”

     “Okay, I’ll leave right away.”

     “And mom, could you bring the stuff to make the ear drops?”

     “I’m packing it as we speak.”

That conversation, or variations thereof, happens at least once a year with our second daughter. Doesn’t matter that she’s a university student, living in an apartment in the city, that she’s traveled the world, lived and worked overseas, and runs her own business in the summers.

She still needs mom when she has an earache. And she still needs the magical drops that have fixed her earaches since she’s been a little girl.

homeade earache remedy - tea tree oil ear drops

Being a mom has its rewards. It’s like a warm hug when we find that our kids still need us, no matter how big they are.

Olivia had earaches often when she was a toddler – any mom with a child suffering from earaches can relate to the crying and pain that comes with that, and the feeling of helplessness when you can’t quickly alleviate your child’s agony. It seemed like it was always night time when the earache pain peaked, and it was always several hours before we could get her to a doctor for antibiotics, which would take many more hours before they’d start to work. Exhausting . . . for both of us.

My mom suggested warm oil, and then I read somewhere about using tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties, diluted in olive oil as a carrier oil. We tried it cautiously that first time, and it was magic. Within minutes the screaming, red-faced, ear-clutching toddler calmed down, and shortly thereafter was able to sleep peacefully. What was this stuff?

homemade earache remedy - tea tree oil ear drops We started using a few drops of the diluted oil in her ears whenever signs of earache showed themselves, and they always worked to head off a full-blown ear infection before it could hunker down and settle into her ear. As she got older she knew to ask for the drops to be put into her ear at the first sign of pain in her ears. Often she only needed one application of the ear drops, and in occasional cases we needed to administer the drops a couple more times before the earache was totally gone. And now even as a young adult, the magical drops are still called on to do their thing.

homemade earache remedy - tea tree oil ear drops (And yes, I did supply her with tea tree oil when she moved out on her own, but the bottle also somehow magically keeps getting lost in her ‘stuff’ – hence the need for mom to come to the rescue.)

CAUTION: Home remedy tea tree oil ear drops should never replace a doctor’s care for ear aches.  They should only be used when you have been under a doctor’s care for ear infection diagnosis and can reliably determine that your child is suffering from chronic recurring common ear infections, and all other conditions have been ruled out. They should also NOT be used if your child has had tubes placed in their ears. If you have determined that your child’s condition is a common earache, and the home remedy tea tree oil drops do not start to alleviate the symptoms within a few hours, then see your doctor.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: In rare cases, people can have a slight sensitivity to tea tree (melaleuca alternifolia) oil. Rub a bit of the diluted oil onto the inside of the child’s forearm before using the drops for the first time. If a red patch develops, they may have a sensitivity to tea tree oil and should not use these drops in their ears.

I mix these drops up as I need them, and only keep them for a day or two, as the essential oils in the tea tree oil can dissipate into the air with time. It’s best to mix up a fresh batch for each ear infection episode.

You can buy a medicine dropper at a drugstore, or save one from another use (vitamin dropper, or infant pain reliever bottle), and clean it well.

earache remedy - homemade ear drops

Magical Tea Tree Oil Ear Drops

  • 1 part good quality tea tree oil
  • 3 parts olive oil
  • small clean jar or container (I use a small shot glass)
  • a clean medicine dropper
  • cotton ball

* I use ¼ teaspoon tea tree oil to ¾ teaspoon olive oil

Stir the tea tree oil together with the olive oil. Have the child lay their head sideways with the painful ear on top. With the medicine dropper, drip 2 or 3 drops of the oil into the ear canal. With a young child, it works best if you sit down and have them lay with their head in your lap.

Use your finger to gently push on the little flap of cartilage over the ear canal (the tragus) several times to ensure the oil flows down into the canal and doesn’t airlock at the opening of the ear. Have the child lay with their head sideways for a few minutes if possible, to allow the oil to coat the inside of the ear. Tear off a piece of the cotton ball and place it gently into the opening of the ear canal to catch any leaks. Alternately cover the child’s pillow or bed with a towel to catch any oily residue if they are sleeping.

Reapply the oil every 3 to 4 hours until all signs of ear pain are gone.

Discard oil after 24 hours and make a fresh batch. Wash the dropper once the ear infection is over by drawing clean soapy water into the dropper and expelling it forcefully several times, rinsing it with clean water, then leaving the dropper to air dry.

homeade earache remedy - tea tree oil ear drops

Good Healing!

You might also like:

Homemade Cough and Cold Syrup

Hot Lemon Ginger Tea – Remedy for a Cold or Flu

earache remedy - homemade ear drops

 

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14 Responses to Homemade Ear Drops – a Simple and Effective Earache Remedy

  1. Olivia says:

    This works SO UNBELIEVABLY WELL!!! And, yes, no matter how old I get, I will still always come to you when I need this stuff. :)

    I really liked the post and appreciated your proud description of me (made me blush!) Love you mom! <3

    • Margaret says:

      I’m so glad we found something that works so well for your earaches, and I love the hugs I get for the easy job of putting a few drops in your ears. Love you too, love. XO

  2. WendyJ says:

    I use olive oil often, but have never added tea tree oil, thanks for that idea. I do find that warming it up a bit makes it feel better, just put the shot glass in a bowl or mug with some warm water for a few minutes before using it.

    • Margaret says:

      That sounds like a way to make everything feel even better quicker! Thanks! The olive oil brings the immediate relief, I think, and the tea tree oil helps in getting rid of the infection, so it’s a double whammy!

  3. Redawna says:

    I am making this on the weekend. I have always suffered from sensitive ears and earaches are far too common. Not that I want my ears to act up but I look forward to trying this the moment they do.

    You words at the beginning of your post struck a cord with me, the one about no matter how big our kids are they need us. Today I was in situation where I realized that in those moments, my son reached out to me and how profound that is. His school went into lockdown today because there was a lunatic near the school with a gun. I later learnt that this individual never entered the school but in the first hour of the lockdown information was sketchy at best. I received a text from him just before lunch stating there was someone at the school with a gun. The police where outside.

    The things that go through your mind when you get a text like that….. the students had limited info so they didn’t know if he was in the school or not. So the info going to parents was limited. Your first instinct is to respond but then worry, if your child is possibly in hiding and you text them, if their phones sound is on will that in fact give away their location? The feeling of helplessness sets in immediately.

    Thankfully it ended peacefully without incident. And earlier tonight as I was going through the days events in my mind I found peace that in those moments of fear he reached out to me. I hope that never changes, no matter how old he gets.

  4. Margaret says:

    Redawna, that is our biggest and most wonderful gift as mothers, isn’t it, that bond with our children that pulls us together when we really need each other. Wow. I cannot imagine how utterly gut-wrenching those few hours must have been until you knew your son was out of danger. It strips away all the trivial things in our lives and makes us realize again how nothing else in life is more important than our loved ones. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience. (I want to go and hug my children right now.)

    A note about the ear drops – if you want to make them ahead, I’d mix them in a small bottle you can seal, so that there’s not much air space, so that the essential oils can’t evaporate out of the tea tree oil. Before my daughter grew up I never realized that it was common for adults could to suffer from ear problems, but knowing how sensitive hers are makes me feel bad for anyone else dealing with the same problem.

  5. Clarina says:

    Hi, is it supposed to feel a bit like peppermint rub has been applied? Also, Melaleuca essential oil and Tea Tree oil are the same thing, right?

    Thanks for writing this; although the ear drops I buy are cheap, I don’t want to buy a bottle only to use it once or twice (which was what happened with my last bottle) as I know my earache this time is very mild.

    • Margaret says:

      Hi Clarina. Yes, it has quite a mentholated feel to it when applied to the skin, and a strong herbal-medicinal smell (which I love, but some people find it quite strong), and yes Melaleuca essential oil is the same thing as Tea Tree oil – tea tree is the common name for the melaleuca alternifolia plant. (Tea Tree oil is also amazing as a first aid treatment for minor burns, if applied right away.)

      Besides working so well for earaches, these ear drops are convenient because you can mix them up as you need them and don’t have to run out for a bottle at the drugstore, which then gets outdated before you need it again. Hope you find them as helpful as we do! :)

  6. Abby says:

    Definitely gonna try this but first I wanted to know do you think it’s ok if my child is 4 she gets painful earaches

    • Margaret says:

      Hi Abby, I first started using the drops with our daughter when she was probably about that age, and they helped her right away, but if you’re unsure at all, check with your doctor first. If you decide to use them, I’d also recommend just using one drop in each ear the first time, until you know they don’t irritate her skin. Hope you can have some relief for your daughter. Earaches can be so painful, and it’s so hard to see our children suffer from them.

  7. Dawn F says:

    Hi there! Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’m curious if this would work for dogs? I may try just the olive oil at first to soothe itchy ears. I’ve used tea tree oil in much lower concentration than this for foot baths (my dog has really bad allergies and we have to regularly clean her feet), but never in this concentration. Thanks for the idea!

    • Margaret says:

      Hi Dawn, I haven’t used it with dogs myself, but my mom uses it all the time in this concentration for both her miniature poodles and her rottweiler to get rid of ear mites and it works really well. She puts in a few drops and massages the outside of the ears to work it down deep. Then she waits a few minutes, and uses a q-tip to gently dab out the oil and any ear mites they had. The olive oil/tea tree oil combination smothers and kills the ear mites. The only problem I could foresee would be if your dog has an allergy to tea tree oil, but I’m guessing that would be pretty rare.

  8. Pam says:

    Can you use FCO FOR THE CARRIER OIL?

    • Margaret says:

      Hi Pam, I’m sure you could use FCO (Fractionated Coconut Oil) as it’s really neutral, or even almond oil. The tea tree oil is the active medicinal component here, so it’s the necessary ingredient, but the carrier oil could be changed to whatever oil you prefer. I just have always used pure olive oil. Thanks for bringing that point up, since other readers might want to know that too. :)

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