15 Home Remedies for Plugged Ears that Work Quickly

home remedies for plugged ears

If you feel like someone has stuffed so many cotton pads in your ears, then you have clogged ears. Some of the most common causes are ear wax, cold, blocked nose, a sinus problem where you didn't use any sinus pressure relief, allergies, getting water into your ear, changing the atmospheric pressure (for instance, when traveling in an airplane), or having a blockage in the Eustachian tubes. If you are wondering what to do with plugged ears, then here are some effective home remedies for plugged ears that are worth a try.

1. Valsalva Maneuver

The Valsalva maneuver is a simple solution if you have clogged ears. This is the easiest and a good plugged ear treatment, especially for airplane passengers and pilots.

What to do:

  • Take a deep breath and pinch your nose.
  • Try to exhale like you are trying to breathe out. Don’t blow too hard; otherwise, it may cause damage to the eardrum.

2. Nasal Spray

If the reason for plugged ears is sinus blockage, you can go for a nasal spray. This will clear the sinuses, thereby unclogging the plugged ears.

What to do:

  • Clean your nose first.
  • Apply the nasal spray, following the indications on the package.
  • Repeat the step a couple of times a day. Don't use it more than the pharmacist or the package advise.

We recommend; Nasacort, Flonase, or Afrin.

3. Candy or Chewing Gum

Sometimes a candy can also help to open up the clogged ears. Even the swallowing will help out in unplugging the ears.

What to do:

  • Eat a hard candy or chew a gum.
  • Repeat the process 2 – 3 times.

4. Alcohol and Vinegar

This combination is an easy solution. Just after you apply it, you will feel an immediate relief, and your plugged ear canal will get unplugged.

What to do:

  • Take one part of alcohol and one part of vinegar. Mix them together.
  • Lie down and put a few drops in your affected ear with the help of a dropper.
  • Place a cotton pad in your ear, and do not raise your head.
  • Let the solution work.

We recommend; White House White Distilled Vinegar.

5. Olive Oil

Although it may seem strange, olive oil is one of the best remedies for plugged ears. Just make sure you heat it a little before using it. You can also use baby oil or mineral oil in place of olive oil.

What to do:

  • Put a few drops of lukewarm olive oil in the affected ear.
  • Let it settle for 5 minutes.
  • Keep your head sideways and remove the oil or earwax with cotton.

We recommend; Pompeian, Filippo Berio and Palermo.

6. Water Flush

Instead of oil, you can also use some lukewarm water to do the trick.

What to do:

  • Get an ear syringe and fill it with lukewarm water. This will go into your ear, so make sure it is not too hot for comfort.
  • Tilt your head with affected ear up, and pull on the earlobe gently to open the ear canal.
  • Position the syringe inside the ear canal, aiming it more toward the back of your head instead of straight in. This is to avoid hitting the eardrum with too much pressure. Gently squeeze the syringe to squirt the water into the ear canal. Some wax may dislodge immediately.
  • Wait for about 5-10 minutes to give the warm water an opportunity to soften the ear wax. Then tilt your head in the opposite direction to let the water (and earwax) drain out.

7. Warm Cloth

A simple warm cloth can also be helpful if you're struggling with plugged ears. You can use it either dry or wet, depending on what makes you more comfortable.

What to do:

  • Take a cloth. Iron it or put it in the sunlight so that it gets warm.
  • Put this warm cloth underneath the affected ear.
  • Else, heat some water and soak a cloth in it.
  • Squeeze the excess water and keep the cloth on the affected ear for 5 minutes.
  • Rub your affected ear with your palm, roughly.
  • Put your palm on the clogged ear very tightly and then, push it out just like a suction cup. You will notice that your ear is unclogged.

8. Tea Tree Oil

Similar to the olive oil, tea tree oil is also a good solution for those who are fighting clogged ears and don't want to or can't go to a doctor.

What to do:

  • Boil 1 glass of water.
  • Add a few drops of tea tree oil to it.
  • When the water starts to boil, put your affected ear on the steam. This will provide relief.
  • Repeat, if necessary.

We recommend; Naturenics Tea Tree Oil.

9. Salt Water Gargle

Yet another effective remedy for plugged ears is using salt water. This substance is very helpful when it comes to problems related to the mouth, nose, or ears.

What to do:

  • Mix 1 tsp of salt with warm water in a glass.
  • Gargle for roughly 15-20 seconds and spit out.
  • You can repeat this as needed for relief.

lemons next to lemon oil

10. Garlic Oil

Garlic is a natural remedy for plugged ears. Just like with other oils, you need to heat it first.

What to do:

  • Take 2 garlic cloves and mash it with a knife or spoon.
  • Heat a saucepan and put 2 spoons of olive oil in it and add the smashed garlic.
  • Heat it for a few seconds.
  • Turn off the flame and let it reach a lukewarm level.
  • Lie down and put this prepared garlic oil on the clogged ear.
  • Let it sit for like 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  • After that, drain the garlic oil.

We recommend; Artizen and Cavin Schon.

11. Wax Softening Solution

Although you can find some wax softening solutions in pharmacies as well, some people prefer to use home remedies for clogged ears. You can try this solution for 3 times a day, but not more than that as hydrogen peroxide can harm your eardrums. Do not attempt this if you are also using some home remedies for an ear infection!

What to do:

  • Take a few drops of glycerine and baby oil and mix them in hot water.
  • Mix an equal amount of hydrogen peroxide in this solution.
  • Lie down and pour a very little amount of wax softening solution in the affected ear.
  • Once you pour the mixture into your clogged ear, you will hear the sounds of bubbles.
  • When you stop hearing this sound, it means it’s time to drain out the solution.

We recommend Debrox.

12. Yawning

It may sound strange, but even yawning can help you in unclogging the ears. This is helpful especially if the plugged ears are caused by a change in altitude (for example, when traveling by plane or hiking a mountain, etc.).

What to do:

  • Yawn repeatedly, as many times as you can in a row.
  • It has been shown that yawning is contagious, so if you can't do it, look at some pictures of people who are doing it.

13. Sweet Oil

Besides its regular use, sweet oil can also be seen as a solution for unclogging ears. Make sure it's not too old and that its temperature is appropriate.

What to do:

  • Put a few drops of sweet oil in your ear, and lie down for a few minute.
  • Make sure your clogged ear is facing up the ceiling.
  • Drain out the oil after 5 minutes.

We recommend HUMCO.

14. Apple Cider Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol

Another good solution you can use as a home remedy for clogged ears is rubbing alcohol and apple cider vinegar. This solution will destroy any kind of bacterial infection in your ear. However, do not use this home remedy if you have sores in your ears.

What to do:

  • Take apple cider vinegar and rubbing alcohol.
  • Mix them in equal proportions.
  • Lie down and pour a very little amount of the solution in the affected ear.
  • Let it sit for a couple of minutes.
  • Drain the solution out of the ear.

We recommend; Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and Swan Isopropyl Alcohol.

15. Homeopathic Remedies

There are so many homeopathic remedies available for plugged ears that we can't omit them from our list. These remedies can also be taken if the ear is infected or causing severe pain.

What to Do:

  • Take Belladonna. If you have a really bad earache, you can take belladonna. It works like a charm in earaches.
  • Use Pulsatilla. This homeopathic remedy is best for earwax buildup and ear infections. Pulsatilla stops the green or yellow discharge, coming from the affected ear.
  • Choose Hepar sulphuris. This soothes the irritable and aching nerves in ears, and stops the yellow or green fluid, coming out from the ear. This remedy also eases an earache.
  • Other homeopathic remedies can also be consumed if you have clogged or plugged ears: Mercurius solubilis, Ferrum phosphoricum, Aconitum napellus, Chamomilla, and Magnesia phosphoric are some of the homeopathic remedies, which you can consider.

Here you have a video showing you some other tips on unclogging your ears:

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Conclusion

Having clogged ears can be a real problem if you can't get to a pharmacy fast or you simply don't want to. Luckily, there are plenty of home remedies to help you out. If you want to avoid this kind of situation in the future, you should try to prevent it by following some simple steps: clean your ears regularly, always use clean water to unplug the outer ear, avoid diving or swimming if you have a respiratory infection or cold, and after taking a bath, dry your ear with a soft cloth or paper towel.

Georgia Scherhaufer

Georgia Scherhaufer

Georgia has graduated from a nutrition expert degree and her work involves some freelance blogging on the side of her main part time job in a doctor’s office. She doesn’t travel a lot due to work constraints, but she likes going out as often as she can to compensate.

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