How to Unclog a Clogged Ear?

Clogged ears is a common problem that almost everybody has experienced in their lives. If you have ever felt like somebody has stuffed something in your ears, then you probably had a clogged ear. However, the good news is that it’s a feeling that can easily be controlled or managed. There are so many ways that you can use to unclog your plugged ears, and here is an overview of a few easy but effective remedies that are worth trying out:

Water Flush

This is one of the simplest ways to unclog your ears. Fill a syringe with lukewarm water (ensure that’s it is not too hot because this is going into your ears) and tilt the affected ear up, pulling the ear gently to open up the ear canal. Position the syringe strategically inside the ear canal and aim towards the back of your head—aiming just straight is not recommended as you can hit the ear drum with too much pressure.

Gently squeeze the syringe to release or squirt the lukewarm water into the ear canal. Some amount of wax will dislodge immediately. It is recommended to leave the water for 5-10 minutes to give it an opportunity to soften the wax. You can then tilt your head or the affected ear in the opposite direction to allow the water and ear wax to drain out.

Alcohol and Vinegar

Mix one part of alcohol and part of vinegar. Then put a few drops in the affected ear using a dropper and while lying down. Place cotton pad on the ear and maintain your head position for a few minutes to leave the solution take effect. You will feel an immediate relief as your plugged ear canal gets unplugged.

Nasal Spray

If your ears are plugged due to sinus blockage, a nasal spray will be handy. A nasal spray will clear the sinuses, which in turn unclog your plugged ears.

Olive Oil

Placing a few drops of olive in the clogged ear and allowing it to settle for 3-5 minutes will also unplug your clogged ears. During the process, remember to keep your head sideways and remove the earwax or oil with clean cotton. Mineral oil or baby oil can also be used in place of olive oil.

Tea Tree Oil

Add some drop of tea tree oil into a roughly 1 glass of boiling water. When the water begins to boil, place the clogged ear in the stream. This will provide immediate relief. You can repeat the process to ensure that the treatment is effective.

Warm Cloth

Put a warm cloth (ironed or warmed in the sun) underneath the affected ear. This should provide a relief. Alternatively, you can heat some water and soak a clean cloth in it. Squeeze it to remove excess water then put it on the affected ear for duration of about 3-5 minutes.

Now you can rub the affected ear using your palm (ensure that your palm is placed on the clogged ear firmly) then push it out like a suction cup. This will provide a relief.

Chewing gum/Candy

A chewing gum or candy can also open your clogged ear. Just chew a gum or eat a hard candy. The swallowing process will unclog your plugged ear.

Valsalva maneuver

Breathe deeply while pinching your nose. Then exhale as if you are trying to breathe out. Your ears will be unclogged. In fact, this is one of the easiest methods of unclogging plugged ears and is often used by airplane passengers and pilots.

Salt Water Gargle

Mix approximately 1 tablespoon of salt in a warm glass of water then gargle the water for 15-20 seconds and spit it out. Repeat the process when necessary.

Garlic Oil

Take 1 or 2 garlic cloves and smash with a knife or spoon. Heat a saucepan and put 1-2 spoons of olive oil and add your smashed garlic then heat for a few seconds. You can then turn the flame and allow the mixture to reach the lukewarm level. Lie down or tilt the affected ear and put the oil. Give it 45 second to 1 minute and drain out the garlic oil. This should provide you with a relief.


Yawning is another simple way to help you unclog plugged ears.

Wax Softening Oil

Mix a few drops of baby oil and glycerin then mix the them in hot water. Add equal amount of hydrogen peroxide in the solution. Lie down with the affected ear facing upwards and pour a little amount of the solution into the ear. You will hear some sound of bubbles for a few seconds.

Once you stop hearing the sound, it is time to drain the solution. You can repeat the process 3 times a day in case you didn’t get immediate relief. However, don’t repeat the process severally as hydrogen peroxide can damage your eardrums. This method is also not recommended if you have an ear infection.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Alcohol Mixture

Mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol with apple cider vinegar then  put a few drops in your clogged ears. The solution will kill/destroy any form of bacterial infection in your ear and will provide a perfect treatment for your clogged ears.

Over-the-Counter Medications or Ear Drops

There are several ear drops that you can also use to unplug clogged ears. Some of the common ones include: Similsan ear relief, Sodium bicarbonate ear drops, and Cerumol ear drops among others.

Final Verdict

As you can see, there are several ways that you can use to unclog plugged ears. When your ears are clogged, never take it for granted; at least try to use one of the highlighted methods to unclog your ears. Taking things for granted and assuming that everything will return to normal can lead to ear infection which can in turn lead to impaired hearing.

If you have a baby with clogged ears, it is wise to consult a pediatrician for assistance. You can also visit a local doctor or specialist if you are hesitant to handle the issue yourself.

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