How to Get Water Out of Your Ear: 5 Simple Tips for Relief

August 2022

Water can become trapped in the ears after swimming or showering, and there are home remedies you can use to get the water out. One way is to place the corner of a towel at the opening of your ear canal to absorb the water. You can also tug at your ear in different directions to help the water trickle out.  

You should not use these home remedies or any other methods forcefully, as rough handling can cause damage and permanently affect your hearing. 

If these methods do not work or if you have other symptoms like inner ear pain or ear discharge, you should see a doctor for a more thorough assessment so that the water can be removed safely and so that any other lingering symptoms are treated. 

Some ways to get water out of your ear are: 

1. Tilting your head

Take a deep breath and fill your cheeks with air, and hold it. Then tilt your to the affected side, so that your blocked ear is close to your shoulder. You can shake your head toward the affected side several times until the water trickles out. 

Another option is to tilt your head toward the affected side and jump several times. The impact of your landing can help to remove the water inside your ear. 

2. Using the corner of a towel

Take the corner of a towel and place it at the opening of your ear canal for a few seconds, to help promote the absorption of any water. Be sure not to force the towel past the opening or deep inside the ear. 

You should also ensure that the towel is clean and dry, as this will help to prevent infections and promote better absorption of water. 

3. Tugging your ear 

Tilt your head toward the blocked side, and stretch and push on your external ear. Be sure to tug at the ear in different directions so that the water can move along the ear canal and drip out.

4. Using a hair dryer

Using a hair dryer at its lowest setting may help to dry out any moistness in the ear. Place it a few centimeters from your face and point it toward the affected ear. Be sure children are supervised by an adult with this method to avoid any damage to the ear canal or external ear. 

5. Applying rubbing alcohol and apple cider vinegar 

Another way to get water out of your ear is to mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol with apple cider vinegar. Place a single drop of the mixture inside the affected ear. The alcohol will evaporate upon contact with eat, while the vinegar can help to protect you from infection. 

If you are able to remove the water but still feel discomfort within your ear, you can try relieving the pain by placing a warm compress over the ear. Check out other ways you can relieve ear pain at home.

How get water out of a baby’s ear 

The safest way to get water out of a baby’s ear is by using a soft towel. However, if the baby is clearly distressed, you should have the child assessed by a doctor to rule out an ear infection as the underlying cause. 

To prevent water from entering the baby’s ear when taking a bath, you can place a cotton ball at the ear canal opening and place Vaseline over it. Vaseline is a thick ointment that is resistant to water, and this can help to prevent water from easily entering the ears.

When to see a doctor

Water trapped in the ears from swimming or bathing can cause mild pain and decreased hearing. However, if you feel that you have water in your ears but did not recently submerge in water, you should see a doctor for further assessment. Read more about what causes the sensation of a clogged ear.

If the pain worsens suddenly or does not improve within 24 hours, you should consult your doctor to rule out the presence of an ear infection and to start treatment as necessary. 

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Edited by Tua Saude editing team in August 2022. Clinical review completed by Manuel Reis - Registered Nurse in August 2022.

References

  • UNIVERSITY OF IOWA HOSPITALS & CLINICS. Otitis externa: Get rid of swimmer's ear. Available on: <https://uihc.org/health-topics/otitis-externa-get-rid-swimmers-ear>. Access in 26 Mar 2020
  • CDC. Facts About “Swimmer’s Ear”. Available on: <https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/pdf/swimming/resources/pseudomonas-factsheet_swimmers_ear.pdf>. Access in 26 Nov 2019
Show more references
  • NHS. Water precautions for ears. 2019. Available on: <https://www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/water_precautions_for_ears.pdf>. Access in 26 Nov 2019
Clinical review:
Manuel Reis
Registered Nurse
Manuel graduated in 2013 and is licensed to practice under the Ordem dos Enfermeiros de Portugal, with license #79026. He specializes in Advanced Clinical Phytotherapy.