How Can I Dry Up Fluid in My Inner Ear?

Medically Reviewed on 11/8/2021

Home Remedies

Whether you spend time swimming or have to make your way across the street in heavy rain, there are many ways for water to get into your ear. When that happens, it can tickle the inner ear. The sensation may spread to your throat and jawbone. 

Usually, gravity does its job, and the water drains from your ear effortlessly. However, if it's trapped, the water may cause an ear infection. Here are five home remedies to get fluid out of your ear. 

Create a vacuum

No, you don't have to suck the fluid out with your vacuum cleaner. Instead, create a vacuum with your hands. Here's how to do it: 

  • Keep your head to one side. Lie on a pillow with your ear off the surface if possible.
  • Cup your palm and place your ear onto it. Make sure you have created a tight seal.
  • Now, push your palms back and forth in the same motion as you would move a bathroom plunger. Do it in a rapid motion.
  • Flatten your palm when you push it toward the ear and cup it when you move it away from the ear.
  • Tilt your head down. The water will drain itself.

Put in olive oil

Olive oil is not only great for cooking but also for draining fluid in the ear. It also helps in preventing infections in the ear. 

  • Put a small amount of olive oil in a bowl. 
  • Warm to approximately body temperature in the microwave or on the stove. Do not overheat. 
  • Put a few drops on your wrist or palm to test the temperature. 
  • If it's not too hot, put a few drops of olive oil into your ear using a clean dropper. 
  • Now, lie on your side with the affected ear up for 10 minutes.
  • Then, get up and tilt your infected ear downward. Both the oil and water will drain out as olive oil repels water. 

Use a blow dryer

You can also use a blow dryer to dry the fluid in your ear. Put your blow dryer on the lowest setting and hold it at a foot's distance from your ear. Turn it on and blow the air back and forth into your ear. 

Tug on your earlobe to quicken the process of drying. Allow warm air to blow inside. 

Use drying drops 

If none of the methods mentioned above work, use over-the-counter drying drops. You can get them from your nearest pharmacy. 

Likewise, you can also make them at home. 

  • Combine vinegar and rubbing alcohol in equal parts. 
  • Use a clean dropper to put three or four drops of this solution in your ear. 
  • Rub the outer part of your ear gently. 
  • Let the solution stay inside for 30 seconds, and then tilt your head to one side. The solution will drain out. 

You should not use such home remedies for fluid in the ear if you have a middle ear infection

Dry the outside 

Another way to dry the fluid from inside your ear is to rub a towel gently on the outside. Doing so may help dry up the water inside. Don't stick a towel into your ear under any circumstances.

Ear care instructions

Using the home remedies mentioned above can help dry or drain the fluid from your ears. However, if you use the wrong methods, you could end up pushing the earwax deeper inside the ear, or worse, causing an infection.‌

Don't use cotton swabs 

Cotton swabs may give you a satisfying feeling, but using them inside your ear can be harmful. You will only remove the wax protecting your ear this way. Plus, you may also disturb the natural bacteria present in your ear canal. 

If you use it too often, you can irritate the ear canal's skin. Don't use cotton swabs or Q-tips to remove fluid from the ear. It will only push the water further. 

Don't use your fingers

Similarly, don't use your fingers or nails to remove the fluid. You may scratch your ear's delicate skin, causing a bigger reason for concern. 

Don't use hydrogen peroxide 

In some cases, you can use hydrogen peroxide to deal with the presence of fluids in your ear. But if you have a ruptured eardrum or any other kind of inner ear infection, do not put hydrogen peroxide in your ears.

When should you go to a doctor?

If none of these remedies work and you constantly feel fluid behind the eardrum, go to a doctor. You may have a condition called serous otitis media, which refers to the accumulation of fluid in the inner ear. 

It may occur due to minor or major damage to your auditory tube. Speak to your doctor if you have ear pain that won't go away, feel like your ears are plugged, or are experiencing hearing loss.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/8/2021
References

British Journal of General Practice: "Extent of cotton-bud use in ears."

Cleveland Clinic: "Ear Infection (Otitis Media)", "How to Steer Clear of Swimmer's Ear."