If you’ve ever had an ear infection, you know how annoying it can be.
Ear infections are usually accompanied by a low-grade fever. You might experience pain in one or both ears. Depending on the severity of your ear infection, you might feel:
- slight discomfort in the ear while swallowing
- some pain when relieving air pressure within the ears (this happens whenever your altitude is changing, e.g. going down an elevator of a high-rise, in an airplane that’s ascending or descending, driving down a mountainous area, etc.)
- the feeling of a “bubble” popping in your ear, particularly when you lie down. The popping is usually very painful.
Ear infections treated by a doctor will usually involve a round of powerful antibiotics and ear drops. It usually takes more than a week to resolve severe cases.
If you don’t have access to a doctor, there is an incredibly effective home remedy you can try — the humble garlic.
I have used garlic to treat my own ear infections, each time with great success.
What you’ll need
One clove of fresh garlic.
A small piece of fabric that is air-permeable like a tissue, some gauze or thin cloth (e.g. cut up an old cotton handkerchief or cheese cloth).
How to do it
1) Chop the garlic into tiny pieces. They should be small enough to fit into your ear.
2) Wrap a pinch of the finely chopped garlic in some gauze, tissue or thin cloth. Twist the end so that the garlic is encased tightly.
3) Place the wrapped garlic securely in your ear (with the twisted end sticking out of your ear). You don’t need to shove it in deep, just place it securely enough that it doesn’t fall out when you tilt your head.
This small wrapped bundle of chopped garlic should sit in your outer ear comfortably the same way that in-ear headphones would.
Remember that for this to work, you only need the fumes from the garlic — and not the actual garlic itself or garlic juice. In fact, garlic juice will burn, so do not squeeze garlic juice into your ear canal.
It’s best to do this right before you go to bed, so that the garlic fumes will work throughout the night while you sleep. It’s also a good idea to do it while you sleep for social reasons as most people may not understand why you have stuck garlic in your ears 🙂
Garlic works fairly quickly, and you should feel a lot less pain after a night with the garlic in your ears. For more severe cases, continue using fresh garlic a couple more nights to thoroughly kill the infection.
Why it works
Garlic is a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal ingredient.
The power of garlic is such that even its fumes have been clinically proven to kill bacteria such as:
– shigella flexneri (causes diarrhea),
– salmonella typhi (causes typhoid),
– shigella sonnei (causes bacillary dysentery),
– aeromonas hydrophila (causes gastroenteritis, is very resistant and hard to kill),
– branhamella catarrhalis (causes bronchitis, sinusitis, and laryngitis), and
– staphylococcus aureus (causes a wide a range of illnesses)
UPDATE [21 April 2017]: Read Jac’s invaluable comment where she describes how she used garlic to cure her severe middle ear infection that came with a lot of fluid and swollen glands. She reported being completely cured after just 5 days. Thanks for sharing, Jac!
68 thoughts on “Cure ear infections with garlic”
I agree. Garlic is a natural antiseptic and as such can be used for various ailments. Thanks for the tips.
I’m trying it now; using the tube without paper method. At first it burned a lot, but I can definately feel it work. Man, it is fast!
im scared to try this.. im using 2 different antibiotics.. one to drink and the other one are drops for the ear…
Hi Ivan, I remember being scared also at first, but once I tried it, I found garlic to be much more pleasant to use than antibiotics. I remember the dropper my doctor gave me, everytime I put a drop in my ear, I could taste it in the back of my throat. The antibiotics also failed to work for me, perhaps my infection was too severe. Meanwhile, the garlic works only through its “fumes”. If you wrap the garlic up properly before inserting, no garlic will actually enter your ear at all. It is quite safe.
Wow….I’m not going to lie. I thought this sounded crazy! But, I started getting an ear ache (possible infection) that accompanied my cold. I didn’t want to go to the doctor ($$$$). So I decided to try it. I just took a clove of garlic and dug my fingernails into it to really let the fumes and juices flow and then I took a band-aid and essentially taped the clove to the inside of my ear. Within an hour or two I felt the pressure subsiding. My ear still feels uncomfortable after having the clove in my ear for about 3 hours. But now I’m going to bed with it. Crossing my fingers!
Sounds promising – let me know how it goes. I’m interested to hear if your band-aid method works just as well.
I use the open garlic band-aid method whenever my son or I have an ear infection, I think it works better than the wrapped up garlic method. It works faster, although the hearing is impaired from that side I can still hear clearer with the band-aid than tissue. I’m actually doing it now after a week of antibiotics not killing the pain or infection. Been about thirty minutes and I no longer feel like my head is stuck underwater!
Thanks for sharing, Shaelynn!
im trying the garlic right now my ear is starting to hurt so i will try this i hope it works.
Trying the garlic in my ear how long do I leave it in for
I thought this was crazy, but my ear was pounding and I was miserable. Within 10 min, I had no more pain. I was shocked. Made me a believer!
I have heard of this solution using garlic. I was investigating on the web to see if people are crazy…they are not. My daughter already feels better and it not holding her ear. I have left it in for about 2 hours.
I will repeat this evening.
Many Thanks to all
Glad to hear your daughter’s ear is feeling better 🙂
I tried this (a clove on the ear with tissue) after Rx ear drops and pain killers just weren’t doing the trick. I was desperate to get rid of the pain and swelling. So, last night at around 7 pm, I used the garlic. Within 5 minutes, my ear began to burn and pop a little. Within 15 minutes, the pain had significantly decreased. I left the garlic in for 2 hours and this morning, the ear infection is 1/2 the severity that it was yesterday as far as swelling and pain. I recommend trying this, especially if you are at the end of your rope and in a great deal of pain. I am at work now with a new fresh clove in the ear. I work in a place with only one other co-worker and he is out most of the time. Cool. I’ve had ear infections since I moved to this more humid climate. Now I have an idea on how to relieve the problem. Thanks for the article.
That’s great to hear, thanks for sharing!
I’ve had 12x ear drops sofradex gentomencin ear calm and eye drops and ammoxycillin tabs and gentomencin ,I put garlic ,not wrapped in ear itching a bit but I can feel it drawing out whatever on my ear ,o n and in as my infection UP in the outside of my ear ,the pain is stopping. Temperature down and the awful pain I had going down back and gland ,thank you!!!!!
That’s awesome, Daphne! I hope you feel back to normal very soon ??
Oh my god….this sounds amazing! Very strange I’ve never heard of this before….will definitely be doing this for myself & my husband!
I do know, however, that garlic works incredibly well for warts. I oldest son was prone to strange warts when he was very young. Every once in a while he’d get a wart that would grow on the edge of his finger & spread underneath his fingernail. Just one. But it would get very big. One night I strapped a piece of garlic to it, cut side down, using a band-aid. He slept with it on overnight. The next morning when we took it off, the wart had pulled away from the sides of the skin where it was embedded. It was very odd looking. But it was obviously working & was causing no pain to my son, so we strapped another fresh piece on the same way & left it all day Saturday. By that night when I checked it, the wart was literally nearly falling out of the spot where it was embedded. I told my son to go wash his hands before bed. As he was washing, the wart literally just fell out of his finger. Root & all! It was very strange looking. It actually left a hole where the wart was, but it wasn’t bleeding or anything. I applied some healing calendula salve to it overnight & by the morning it looked semi normal & the edge of his nail was reattaching itself to his finger. It was totally healed up in a couple of days & left no scar. I never saw him with a wart again after that time, either!
Garlic is great, powerful stuff! 🙂
Hi i am reading this site on home remdies for ear infection the garlic remedy i will try. nothing have work wish me luck
I am currently typing with a wad of kitchen roll sticking out of my ear and would probably put in a mental place if another person saw me. IT IS BURNING MY EAR!!! Is that meant to happen? i hope it is doing some good!
It shouldn’t burn. Only the fumes are supposed to work on the ear, not the garlic itself.
I’m super health nut, but I ended up serioulsy sick for one year with a mystery illness, I think the doctor I fired was convinced I was going to pass away. My weight fell from 110 to 99 I;m 5’5 I ended up one day in a wheelchair at the hospital I could no longer walk the distance at the hospital I was having shortness of breath, my ears were sensitive and whirling I was wheezing at time and my lungs hurt and apparently were inflamed. ,. I felt my heart racing at times, I had to insist with ENT doctor to do a nasal smear Postive for ECOLI AND FUNGUS everything the doctor gave me made me sicker I couldn’t take it anymore. I did research and started chewing on Garlic everydayand placing it between the lower back teeth, DO NOT let it get on your gums and tongue it burns to much. I started grinding 10 garlic cloves in my magic bulle t and put it in a bowl right on my the night stand close to where I sleep so I can breath in the fumes,. and I put slice up pieces wrap in cotton balls and place in in the ear with a fleece had on my head to hold it into place overnight… I happen to love garlic so does my husband so everyday we eat garlic in salsa Anyhow garlic cured me …garlic fumes can kill within 7 inches raduis …amazing
That’s awesome 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Sophie!
I cut up a piece of a bandana, since it’s thin cloth like a handkerchief and placed it in my ear and my ear is burning, too. Must be the garlic juice againt my skin in my ear?
There shouldn’t be any garlic juice. All you have to do is slice the garlic and the fumes are supposed to do the work. Don’t squeeze/mash/pinch the garlic, simply cut them before encasing them. This remedy isn’t like the antibiotic ear droppers that doctors prescribe, where you’d need to have liquid squeezed into the ear canal.
Im trying this and it seems to work great.but for some reason my ear is itching? Is it surpose to itch?.but it did stop after a few minutes
I just sliced the garlic and put one half into my war without putting a cloth on it, is that fine?
Hi Susan, I think it should work the same — the cloth is just to hold the small pieces together and so they won’t fall into the ear.
Also watch out for burning, that’s a possibility since you’ve got cut garlic right against your skin.
I don’t understand how to get it in my ear without it touching my skin. Please help
See step 2) above
I’m trying this on my five year old son as I type this. Poor Jack has come down with an ear ache, I will update ASAP!!
Thanks Samantha! I figured out a simple and powerful way to use garlic
.I purchased Kyolic a aged garlic liquid extract, again this is liquid and I put a few drops in my Neti Pot with distilled water couple drops of natural apple cider vinegar and then rinsed my sinuses with this 3- 4 times daily this wash really worked wonders . For ear infections please consider just buying what my ND suggested the Garlic and Mullein oil for ear infections it is gentle and easy to use find it at health section of the store.
Wow – that’s quite a Neti pot concoction! 🙂 It never occurred to me to add more to the water than the usual salt. Thanks for sharing Sophie!
p.s: If anyone’s interested, I’d written a bit about Jala neti here.
Hi, I have horrible had a horrible pain in both my ears that has been going on for a few days. I wanted to try a natural remedy before going to the doctor, so I tried a mix of warmed oil oil and garlic juice drops in my ears. That hasn’t helped, so I decide to try your garlic remedy instead. I’m wondering how many days in the evening should I do this?
You should try it for a few nights at least (daytime too if you’re able). I don’t know if the oil you’ve put in your ears before could interfere with the fumes working, though there’s no harm in trying. If it’s working, the pain should lessen.
Do i need to leave it in my ear all night while i sleep?
Hi Natasha, you don’t have to — it’ll still work if you use it for enough hours during the day.
Hi, I’ve got a piece of garlic stuck in my ear. Lesson learned: do not try raw garlic without first wrapping in a gauze and leaving a tail to pull it out.
Please advise. Can I leave it in there indefinitely? Or what are the risks? Will it eventually fall out on its own? Because I think I will have to go to ER to get it removed; my pcp said he couldn’t do it.
OK so I’m totally way more hardcore than all of you. I put a few cloves of garlic and a small shallot in a juicer along with a bit of olive oil ( I read that an onions and olive oil work well too). My wife poured a few drops inside my ear, holey hell it burns!.. It burns so good! I had to wipe off the excess that was around and near my outer ear, it was just too spicy for my skin, my inner ear seems to be able to handle it tho, like I said it burns so good. Oh, ate raw garlic too, I read that kicks up the immune system.. I think ill be sleeping alone tonight… next time ill throw in some chicken fat and ill have myself an excellent broth!
Hahahaha! I hope you did get better, I’m shoving a bit of garlic with a cut tip in my ear, it does burn but it feels good too, somehow.
My ear is severely infected. The pain is horrible. The ear canal is almost swollen shut and I have knot in front and behind my ear opening, its very tender as well. I cut the piece of garlic and wraped it in a cotton ball and inserted it into my ear. I now feel fuzzing and popping and kind of like it itches down in my ear and the canal burns a little now. I can really tell if it feels better or worse lol. Is it supposed to do this?
Hi sarah, sorry for my late reply. Is your ear better now? Your symptoms sound like you had a really bad ear infection. I hope you got medical help if garlic didn’t work.
I have experience with garlic. It works wonders. But have respect with it, it can be very dangerous. I used it once on my arm for a staph infection. Good news is it killed the infection, bad news is I had 2nd degree chemical burns. I used the garlic in a liquid form that was where I messed up. So it sounds like what you guys are talking about it great. Just DO NOT use it in liquid form! I still have a huge scar on my arm about 6 inches in circumference. The burn took about a month to heal.
I’ve had a ear infection for 4 days now went to my doc and he gave me drops and antibotics but i still can’t hear , what can I due will the garlic clove work if I try it
Hi Darlene, that sounds quite serious. You should call or go back to your doctor to tell him about your continued hearing loss.
So I did not know that all I needed was the clove in my ear. I pressed the oil from the garlic clove and put the drops in my ear. I immediately thought this is great and could feel it working. The bad is after that it burned like it was on fire!! for about 15 minutes at least. I took a hot compress and put it on it and laid down. The burning was really bad bad enough to where I though I really messed up explain this in the emergency room. Now that I have given it some time the burning has calmed down quite a bit. I know now that all I need is the clove and not the oil. I will never use the oil again it was very painful. lesson learned the hard way!
So this is me again after putting the garlic oil drops in my ear and it burning like crazy it stopped after after an hour. Would not suggest putting garlic pressed oil in the ear it burns. That evening my ear was no longer hurting from the ear ache. I also slept with cut garlic cloves in my ear wrapped in cheese cloth. The following night I did it again and by morning my hearing was 100%. I’m a firm believer in the use of garlic as a form of antibiotic.
Hi valerie, thanks for checking back in. I was worried there for a minute!
I’m really happy that you’re alright and that your hearing is back to normal 🙂
I went to the doctor last Wednesday and my doctor believes I have an inner ear virus which has been causing dizziness and nausea. To my knowledge I have not experienced an ear infection before so you can imagine I was quite frightened. She did not prescribed antibiotics but medicine for the dizziness. I started placing garlic cloves in my ear two nights ago and have been experiencing some itching and popping sensation the dizziness has subsided tremendously since using garlic. I’m using during the day today and hope it continues to help.
Nicole, Keep using the garlic cloves get some cheese cloth and cut a piece or use some gauze to wrap the cloves in and put in your ear. As soon as you cut the cloves use them immediately. Keep doing this every night and leave them in until morning. If you are not going anywhere I would leave them in during the day too. Change out the cloves and gauze I would guess after 4 – 6 hours. I hope you get to feeling better this will work just keep doing it. It might take a little longer than other people depending on how bad your infection is. Oh yeah don’t use q tips they will push any loose skin or wax down in your ear canal. Hope this helps. Hang in there.
I have been battling an ear and throats infection for a few weeks now and nothing seems to have worked so far . I have had 2 different antibiotics and a load of different pain killers. Google the garlic trick as I’m typing I’m sitting here with chopped garlic in tissue placed in my ear. I have had it in fir 5 mins and I can feel the burning inside my ear but it has also been popping aswell I really hope this works . All these sleepless nights are catching up with me .
I cured a SEVERE Middle Ear Infection with a lot of fluid in my ear. I was prescribed a very strong Antibiotic and refused to take it due to the horrible side effects.
This is what i did with the garlic, and it took 1 day for my glands to totally subside and 3 days to have normal ears back and now i am completely free of the infection and fluid after 5 days.
Step 1. Put some olive oil on your finger and coat the inside of your ear with olive oil, do not pour it into your ear, just put some olive oil on your finger and wipe it inside your ear. This will help stop the skin in your ear burning from the garlic fumes
Step 2. Cut a piece of raw garlic that will fit like a plug in your ear, usually 2cm long with one end wide and one end narrow so it is not able to fall into your ear, it should stick out.
Step 3. Use a small piece off tissue 2cm x 2cm is plenty. cover the garlic piece that you cut then block your ear with it.
Leave for at least 2 hours and you can also do this overnight.
I dont mind a bit of burning so i coat my ear and i do not cover the garlic with anything, i leave for 10 minutes then i cover it with tissue and re-insert
For swollen glands around the neck i use half a clove of garlic and rub it gently in a downwards motion over my neck and glands for about 20 minutes, youcan do this whilst watching a movie or tv (This worked like a miracle, the next day my swollen glands had completely disappeared) I could not believe it!! It did make my skin feel numb, if you dont like this feeling then you can rub olive oil onto your skin first then start the massage with the garlic clove but the numbness is nothing dangerous, its just the garlic working like an anaesthetic.
Also you can chop/mash up one clove of garlic, mix with one large teaspoon of honey and a bit of natural lemon juice, mix it up and swallow it! If you dont chew it you wont taste it and it wont burn you rmouth, trust me, this is much more powerful and has no side effects compared to antibiotics. Usually it will take you 2.5 tablespoons to swallow the mixture but you can wash it down with water 😉
Remember, dont allow fear to interfere, its all in your head, Garlic is 100% natural and safe, it just smells funny!
Good Luck, remember your thoughts are more powerful than you can ever believe, trust that you can heal yourself, use the garlic steps every day until your ears are healed and follow up with a GP after a week if you need.
To remove fluid, use your fingers to block your nose and gently blow until you feel your ears slowly pop and release the air, do this a few times per day gently to help push out fluid (was told this by an Ear Nose and Throat specialist)
and lastly! Always block your ears with cotton balls before showering! this will keep them dry and prevent water and bacteria growing inside your ear which causes infections x It also speeds up the healing process keeping them dry inside so the infected fluid can evaporate
I’m really glad you’re all better — your infection sounds like a doozy!
And thanks for taking the time to write down your experience in detail like this. This is so helpful that I’ve updated the article to include a link to your comment!
By the way, the nerd in me is fascinated that rubbing garlic on the neck can help with swollen glands (and the dummy in me wishes she could test this out right now). The mind boggles by how simple this is…
And using olive oil is definitely a smart tip!
Nearly 8 years on and your tip is still helping people.
I got an infection of the right eardrum nearly 2 weeks ago. I went to the doctor’s, who gave me drops to put in the infected ear, twice a day. After an initial improvement, by last weekend I was still suffering and worse than that, I’d developed tinnitus.
Then I found your website. I followed your tips to the word and after 30 minutes the peeping noise in my ears was quietening and could feel my ear opening. A day on, the tinnitus is nearly gone and I’m sure the infection has cleared. I can’t wait to see my doctor tomorrow and tell him that your natural remedy beat the pharmaceutical company.
Thank you very much
Hi Steve, I’m really glad that your infection is clearing up quickly!
And thanks very much for your comment, it has made my day 🙂
Does this also work for nerds infection in ear? I have been on 4 rounds of antibiotics over 7 weeks fighting a mersa skin infection ! Needless to say my gut is a mess!!!
Hi Patty, I’m not sure if it’ll work on deep tissue ear infections like NERDS, but you can give it a try and see if there’s an improvement, especially if antibiotics haven’t been working. It may take a bit longer to fully eliminate the infection so I would advise using it for more than a few days, maybe even a week. And remember not to apply garlic juice as this will burn, only the fumes from the cut garlic are needed. Also, your inner ear may feel “dried out” with the garlic fumes after using it a few days — this is normal and will go away once you stop the garlic.
Best of luck — I’m sending you good thoughts so you’d have a full recovery soon.
Currently i am using garlic cloce on to my ear since 6 nights, still am getting itching, how long i can use garlic clove on to my ear ? please let me know.
Hi srinivas, if your infection has gone away, you can stop using garlic. It’s not clear if your itching is from the infection (I never had itching from mine, mostly it was pain) or if it’s from dryness, which comes from using the garlic. Garlic fumes will kill the infection, but it’s quite drying. So if your ear infection has healed (no more ear pain and fever), stop the garlic. The dryness and resulting itchiness will go away in a few days. Good luck!
Hi, i had put garlic juice infused with olive oil in to the ear directly, it starts burning, but it helps too, please tell me if it is harmful for the ear if garlic juice directly infused in the ear? Reply me
Hi Shivani, I’m not sure why you would put garlic juice and olive oil in your ear (??).
But you could try flushing it out with some water several times (if you haven’t yet). Since there’s olive oil mixed in too, maybe that’s a good thing and will protect your inner ear somewhat from the garlic juice. I’m sorry, I really don’t know… But I hope the burning goes away soon and that it’s not too bad.
Hang in there. We all do things like this sometimes, and most of the time, there’s no real damage done — just a lot of pain and a lesson learned the hard way.
But if you’re feeling that the pain is too much and flushing with water doesn’t help, please see a doctor and don’t delay in doing so.
I tried doing the exact same thing as u did. Puting garlic infused oil in the ear and my ears were burning.
Pls tell how did u relieve the burning. And did it have any serious impact ?
Hi Aayushi, if your ear still burns, please see a doctor as soon as possible.
So I have a clogged right ear and has been looked at and nothing….antibiotics just in case and nothing. So I am trying the garlic….I don’t have pain, just clogged and muffled. We shall see.
Hello I am rececently trying this since the antibiotics the Dr prescribed me for my middle ear infection don’t seem to be doing anything for me. I hope it works , but right now that I’m trying it I feel it burning and super itchy I can’t stand it but still keeping it for a few hours, is normal to feel burning and itchy sensation????
From my own experience treating my ear infections, it does not burn at all. Fumes from the cut garlic shouldn’t burn. I hope you did it the right way?
Hi Samantha, I’ve been having an ear infection for last 4 days in my right ear. Despite having horrible pain and my ear is being totally clogged, I haven’t been to a doc yet, but used an eardrop few times. It hasn’t made any difference yet. Pain relieved a bit now, but, inside my head there is a heavy feeling, and my chin and jaw area is swollen as well. What do you think, would applying garlic help to rid of these issues? I would like to follow you, if you are available in any social media platforms, to get more info about this kinda stuffs. Kindly add your social media accounts, if any.
Thankyou for sharing your experience with us.
Can garlic fumes help in recovering some hear loss too ? What are the other benefits of garlic for the ear?