How to Clear Fluid From the Ears

Fluid can remain in your ears after swimming or after a cold or an ear infection. Most of the time, ear fluid will drain out on its own--but in some cases, the fluid will stay in your ear and cause pain or hearing loss. Various home remedies can clear fluid from your ear, but a doctor should be consulted if you experience ear pain.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Put drops of rubbing alcohol into your ear. Rubbing alcohol helps dry out your ears and is a common remedy used after a long day of swimming. Tilt your head to one side, and place three to four drops of rubbing alcohol into the affected ear. Hold this position at least 30 seconds to keep the alcohol inside your ear. Repeat with the other ear if necessary. Do not use rubbing alcohol in the ears if you already have an ear infection. This will cause much pain and discomfort. White vinegar can be substituted and is less painful.

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Clear the fluid from your ear with a blow dryer. Set a blow dryer on low, and hold it 12 inches from your ear. Dry your ear for about a minute.

Lie down with a warm compress or hot water bottle pressed against your ear. Wait at least 15 minutes to allow the fluid to drain from your ear. If the compress or hot water bottle feels too hot, place a towel over it, then lay your ear against the towel.

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Speak with your doctor. If you start to experience ear pain or hearing loss, make an appointment right away. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if you have an ear infection.

Consider ear tubes. If you suffer from frequent ear infections, ask your doctor about placing ear tubes into your ears. These tubes help drain excess fluid from the middle ear and are often used in children. This is a relatively simple procedure and can help future ear infections from occurring.


Speak with your doctor if you have blood or pus coming from your ear. You may have ruptured your eardrum. Do not stick a cotton swab or any other foreign object into your ear. You may cause damage to your ear.