When you swim, it’s normal for water to get inside your ears. Normally, the wax present in the ear canal prevents fluid from going deep inside the ear. But at times, fluid can get trapped within the ear.

This causes a tickling sensation in the ear that can be very uncomfortable. It may also be accompanied by pain and reduced hearing ability.

If left untreated, fluid in the ear can cause problems including hearing loss, cysts, and eardrum inflammation. To avoid these issues, get rid of fluid in the ears as soon as possible after you swim.

First, determine whether the fluid is accumulated in the outer ear or middle ear. Fluid accumulation in the middle ear must be treated by a doctor.

Try these methods to remove water from your outer ear at home:

1) Gravity

We’ve all seen it on deck: A swimmer jumping up and down on one foot with their head tilted to the side. It looks like they’re trying to read an upside down newspaper while carrying a shake weight. The best way to remove water from your ear is to let gravity do the work!

Related: Why You Should Wear a Swim Cap

  1. Tilt your head sideways and hold the affected ear parallel to the ground.
  2. Place the palm of your hand flat against your ear and press hard for a few seconds. Quickly remove your hand. A temporary vacuum will form that will dislodge the fluid.
  3. Use a cotton swab to very carefully remove the fluid draining from the ear. Note: Do not insert anything inside your ear.

Yawning or chewing motions can also help get water out of the ear canal, creating pressure in the middle ear and stretching the ear canal.

2) Valsalva Maneuver

Performing the Valsalva maneuver will help pop your ears to open the Eustachian tubes and push water out of your ears.

  1. Close your mouth and pinch your nostrils closed with your fingers, then take a deep breath.
  2. Gently blow air out of your nose to regulate the air pressure. If done correctly, you will hear a slight popping sound which means the Eustachian tubes are open again.

Note: Don’t blow your nose too hard as it may cause damage to the ear drum.

3) Blow Dryer

A blow dryer can also be used to speed up evaporation of the trapped fluid. The warm, dry air will turn the water to steam and eventually help it dissipate out of the ear.

  1. Pull your ear lobe away from your body.
  2. Hold a blow dryer about 10 to 12 inches away from your ear.
  3. Set the dryer heat to warm and air flow to low.
  4. Turn the dryer on and aim it directly into the ear canal.
  5. Hold the dryer in position for approximately 30 seconds.
  6. If required, repeat again. Do not do this for more than a few minutes at a time.

4) Rubbing Alcohol and Vinegar

Rubbing alcohol and vinegar is an age-old home remedy to get rid of fluid in the ear. While the antibacterial properties of vinegar will help kill germs present in the ear, rubbing alcohol helps dry up the water in the ear.

  1. Mix together one teaspoon each of rubbing alcohol and vinegar.
  2. Using a dropper, put two to three drops of this solution into the affected ear.
  3. Rub the opening of the ear canal gently.
  4. Wait 30 seconds.
  5. Tilt your head to let the fluid drain out.

5) Heat Therapy

Heat therapy can help free your ears of fluid quickly. The heat compress will help open the Eustachian tube (where fluid typically builds up), to help the fluid can escape.

Related: How to Protect Your Hair from Chlorine

  1. Dip a washcloth in a bowl of hot water, and wring out the excess water.
  2. Place the hot washcloth against the affected ear for 30 seconds.
  3. Wait for a minute, and then repeat.
  4. Do this four or five times at a stretch.
  5. Lie down on your side to help the fluid drain out.

6) Steam

Inhaling steam is another easy way to ease fluid buildup in the ear. Steam will help open the Eustachian tube, in turn encouraging the release of fluid trapped in the ear.

  1. Pour hot steaming water in a large bowl.
  2. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam slowly for five to 10 minutes.
  3. Tilt your head to one side.
  4. Fluid will start coming out of the ear.

You can also take a hot shower to draw fluid out of the ear canal.

7) Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another effective option to get rid of water in ear. Due to its effervescent property, hydrogen peroxide can easily remove the trapped fluid, along with ear wax and other debris from the ear canal. For this approach:

  1. Using a dropper, put four to five drops of three percent hydrogen peroxide into the affected ear.
  2. Allow it to settle for one or two minutes.
  3. Tilt your head downwards to allow the fluid to drain out easily.

Other alternatives include using salt, garlic, and olive oil to remove stubborn water that is stuck in your ear.

Which methods do you use? Share your tips in the comments!

Image credit via top10homeremedies.com



  1. I use olives do ear cleaning to do before entering water. After swimming method of gravitational and water quickly runs away from the ears 🙂

    • Easiest way to get water out of your ears is to jump! Jump on a trampoline if have one or on the floor if you don’t. Water will quickly loosen and come out. Usually only takes 2 or 3 jumps and it’s jarred out. 😊

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  3. I tried the hairdyer and warm washcloth techniques but both didn’t work!
    However, what worked for me was putting hot water in the ear and tilting my head to one side to let the hot water get in contact with the watsr stuck in the ear. Wait 5 seconds before titlting my head on the other side to dislodge all water (one or two head smacking needed)

  4. I had huge issues with trapped water a few years ago. Turned out to be build up of ear wax which the water was sticking to. Had my ear syringed and it was instant relief.

  5. Kris Schuman on

    These might work well for some… not arguing that at all… but I just wait till I get home and run really warm tap water. I use one of those small, plastic medicine cups or a small cap that’s clean and, with the bad ear up, I pour in the warm water. When you tip your head with the bad ear down, all the water pours out!

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