Q. Many years ago, I used vinegar and water to treat my son's swimmers ear. I cannot remember the correct vinegar and water ratio and I hope you can help.

A. Doctors sometimes recommend using ear drops made of one part white vinegar to four parts water after swimming. Another approach is to use a few drops of half white vinegar and half alcohol. That helps dry the ear out and makes it more acidic and less vulnerable to infection.

Join Over 54,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. ronii
    Reply

    is this safe no offense?! will it burn? alcohol is a burning substance!! half a teaspoon of each? my ear is hurting bad so if you could respond quickly that would good!!

  2. gilohumphries
    Reply

    Halo, I suffered 6years of ear problem with both ears, the doctors can’t help me cause they gave me ear drops and pills to dry up my ears, but it didn’t stop, there is yellow discharge coming from both ears and has a bad smell. What can I use? Will vinegar and water help? pls help it is irritating.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Smelly yellow discharge really require medical attention.

  3. Dave S.
    Reply

    The question was: Swimmers Ear and Vinegar with water….”The Ratio” ???
    I use a formula similiar to this…but it is a little different…
    Mix a solution of 1/2 isopropyl alchol and 1/2 vinegar…You can drop it in the ear canal with a dropper…let stand for a little while, and then empty the ear canal or use swabs…
    The alcohol dries the water, and the vinegar leaves an acidic base for the ear canal…so fungus won’t grow…
    Water in the ear canal is not good…but let’s be practal and have our fun in the water and keep the condition of our ear canals healthy…
    I have been using this solution for years…but bear in mind not to use this too often, to prevent dry skin in the ear canal…

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts with others, but be mindful of protecting your own and others' privacy. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from web visitors is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. In posting a comment, you agree to our commenting policy and website terms and conditions.