31 answers

Rubbing Alcohol Drops in Ears

I have been taking my 10 mo old son to swim lessons. Yesterday, I saw a mom put drops of rubbing alcohol in each ear after we got out of the pool. She said it dries up the water in the ear. Has anyone ever heard of that? Do you know if it is safe?

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Yup. It's not only safe, it is pediatrician recommended.
Folks were doing this when I was a kid (and I am now almost 51 years old) and I suspect they were doing it long before I came along.

I have heard of this and have used alcohol in my ears and my childs after swimming and when I there seems to be excess wax, works somewhat like the over the counter ear wax removal liquids

I actually put drops of rubbing alcohol in mye ears every morning after I shower. I've done this ever since I was a kid. It dries up the water in my ears to prevent a moist environment that can lead to ear infections. I'd recommend it. I have been very prone to ear infections since infancy. Since I've been doing this, I haven't had any issues. 1-2 drops will do the trick.

Best of luck!

More Answers

We have used alcohol for all of our kids, it is great after swimming. When they were little I remembered my mother used olive oil or wine in my ears when I had an ear ache, it worked. i asked her about it and she said that if I complained of an ear ache but did not seem to be slowing down because of it she used olive oil. The olive oil broke up any wax build up in the ear and allowed it to be removed later. If I had one that really hurt she used red wine. The red wine fought the infection and broke up any wax build up. It is something that was passed down to her by her mother and grandmother, all I know is it worked for me when I was little and it worked for my kids as well.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm not sure about the straight alcohol but they have this stuff called swim ear that is designed for getting water out of the ears. I'm not truly sure if it is safe to use every time, I would think if you just have the child lay on their side and let it naturally drain on it's own first. I'd talk to your doctor before using it daily. I know I once got a ear infection from using ear drops of that sort daily.

I have never actually done it, but I have heard that it does help to prevent swimmers ear. Talk to your pediatrician to be sure.

Hi R.. Yes, I have heard of this. And when I and my siblings were taking swimming lessons (many moons ago) our teacher told us to mix up equal part rubbing alcohol and vinegar and put a few drops in each ear before and after lessons. Smells weird, but we never had any ear issues.

yes!! I have heard of it. not done it. they also have a ear drier you can buy. IF you want to spend money for it. I think it might a neat thing.

I have heard of it with apple cider vinager and alcohol, but not sure how safe it is for a child. I would call your pediatrician before you do anything.

It is fine but 1 drop is all you use or perioxide.Last yr I had went to see an ENT for horrible ear pain and dizziness they recommened it and yes it dries up the water to avoid ear infection.

Yup. It's not only safe, it is pediatrician recommended.
Folks were doing this when I was a kid (and I am now almost 51 years old) and I suspect they were doing it long before I came along.

I actually put drops of rubbing alcohol in mye ears every morning after I shower. I've done this ever since I was a kid. It dries up the water in my ears to prevent a moist environment that can lead to ear infections. I'd recommend it. I have been very prone to ear infections since infancy. Since I've been doing this, I haven't had any issues. 1-2 drops will do the trick.

Best of luck!

I've always heard to mix the rubbing alchohol with white vinegar 50/50 or 2/3 alchohol 1/3 vinegar. My Mom did this with us when I was a kid and I do it now with my kids. It works and is much cheaper than the store bought products that are essentially the same thing.

Very familiar! I was a fish with bad ears as a kid so anything my parents could do to prevent another ear infection, they did. Alcohol displaces water in the inner ear, then evapoRates.

We've done the alcohol in the ears for many years to avoid swimmer's ear. After asking about it, it's even more important in the swimming pool than a lake because of the chlorine.

My mom used rubbing alcohol in my ears every time I would go swimming...which was just about every day..I still do it to this day. I am very prone to getting swimmers ear (water behind the ear drum) and this would dry it up. I have never asked a doctor about it, but when my daughter is old enough to swim I plan on using it on her.

I do this for my twins. Our swim teacher told us about it back when I was taking lessons and it works every time. We even do it sometimes after the boys take a bath.

Hi R.,
As a kid I had ear infections every summer and finally someone told my mom about putting drops of alcohol in my ears. Never had an ear infection after that.
I did the same for my daughter after swimming and she never had one either.
She now does it for my 2 1/2 year old grandson.

Yes it is safe and it does work!
I believe that they now sell drops especially for that purpose too.
Good luck, give it a try!
C.

Yes, it is safe as long as your child does not have tubes or an ear infection. My mom has done this since I was a child at the recommendation of our pediatrician because the first summer we had a pool she had as the doctor's constantly with swimmer's ear. You just use a dropper & put maybe 1/4 - 1/2 tsp in each ear (at the most for a little guy - we were a little older) I still do this for my children.

Hi R.! We used to do it all the time when I was little. No worries, it can't hurt anything.

There are products out there that are made for "swimmers ear"...but if you look at them they are basically things that you can use without paying for the special label. I have never tried alcohol in the ears but I have heard of dozens of Mom's who do use it. But if the ear pain doesnt go away...dont wait too long before calling the doctor!!!

I've only seen it done if it is dilluted with water. I think my mom used to do that and I think it is half and half.

This sounds really weird, but my doctor told me to use Listerine after swimming... before it was a mouthwash, it was used as a disinfectant... so we used it all summer long, and it worked great! It disinfects, and dries up the wax...
B.

Yes, it is fine. I was told to do that from the swim team coach. Ours was a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and something else. I'm thinking white vinegar maybe.

Yes I've heard that it's safe too. However, not if you have tubes. I was told to not use any ear drops (even swimmers ear) with tubes because it's like a chemical burn to your child. So make sure your not doing it to someone else's kid who may have tubes. My youngest daughter has tubes so we have to use a prescription drop anytime she goes swimming or if she has issues after bath time with her ear hurting.

I was at the pediatricians office yesterday for my son's 1yr check up & I asked this very question because I want to take him swimming in an indoor pool to play this winter to get out of the house. She mentioned that people use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or white vinegar and that they are used straight or diluted w/water, or mixed together. He said that they work by helping the water to evaporate thus preventing a fungal or bacterial infection of the ear or to change the PH in the ear, again preventing infection. My pediatrician said that before 2 years old to not use drops & to gently touch the opening of the ear w/a tissue (not to put in the ear) to wick out any moisture. Also, do NOT put anything other than what your Dr. prescribes into an ear w/tubes. I HTH!

I have heard of this and have used alcohol in my ears and my childs after swimming and when I there seems to be excess wax, works somewhat like the over the counter ear wax removal liquids

Yes you can do that. My kids did that when they were on the swim team.

When I was a Girl Scout camp councelor at Lake Ozarks, we always put hydrogen peroxide in the kids' ears after being in lake water. Everybody liked the fizzing, heh. Rubbing alcohol would be fine, too.

I would check with your ped before doing it on a 10mo old but when I was a kid on swimteams we did that. It dries up the water and helps prevent swimmers ear.

Yes, it is safe. It is what Swimmers Ear is actually. They both work to dry out the water. We do the same in my house. Have a great day!

First of all, doctors do not recommend putting a child in swim lessons at all until age 3 because it throws off their equilibrium (and a lot of 10-month-old babies can't even walk yet).

Secondly, I type for doctors and I do frequently hear them say to put alcohol in the ears. I have also heard doctors recommend putting vinegar into the ears (though I'm not actually suggeting that because they always recommend mixing it with something and I can't remember what that "something" is, or even for what conditions they recommend it).

As long as he doesn't have tubes, that tends to hurt. You might try doing half alcohol and half hydrogen peroxide to make it a little milder. That is basically what is in those swim ear drops that you can buy from the store. Alcohol works great at getting water out of the ear.

This is one of those old remedies that your child's pediatrician may or may not recommend for your little one. Some doctors don't share the easy fixes that you can do at home instead of taking them in to be seen. My son's doctor DID tell me of this when he was about 2 years old. It does actually seem to work. But for my youngest, it WILL NOT work. He has ear tubes. We learned that the hard way when his grandpa put alcohol in his ears and put him in SO much pain! With his ear tubes, nothing can go in there but antibiotic drops! I would, of course, ask your pediatrician or nurse just to be sure. If you have a little fish like I do, it's good if you can prevent swimmer's ear! Best wishes, L.

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