How to Get Rid of Water in the Ear Canal

You've just stepped out of the pool (or bath, sea, lake, etc). The experience may have been an enjoyable one, but now you have that uncomfortable feeling of a waterlogged ear. This can lead to otitis externa (swimmer's ear) and other common ear infections that will ultimately affect your hearing. Plus, if you're like most people, you'd be happy just to get the blasted water out of your ear canals. Here are some tricks.

Try to move as much of the water as possible as soon as you are finished with your water activity. Tilt your head from side to side to allow the water to drain. You can also dry your outer ear with a towel. Special ear dryers are also available for purchase. Hair dryers can be used as well, but take care that you don't hold it too close or leave it there for too long, as you may burn your ear or damage your hearing. The less time the water sits in your ear, the better.

Add more water. As ineffective as this may sound, the additional water actually helps flush the existing water out. Simply take a dropper and fill it with water. Squeeze a few drops into your ear and immediately flip your head so the ear is facing downward. Let the water drain from the ear. Repeat until all the water has been flushed out.

Apply external pressure. An interesting trick is to lay down on a bed with your head hanging over the side. The affected ear should be tilted towards the floor. Cup one hand over your ear, then press the palm of your hand firmly against it. This creates a suction that urges the water out when you pull your hand away.

By applying internal pressure, you can push the water out. To do this, tilt your head to the side so that the flooded ear is pointing towards the floor. Then simply yawn. This dislodges the trapped water.

Let gravity do the work. Sleep on your side with the waterlogged ear against your pillow. The water will eventually drain out on its own. You can speed this up by lying on your side whenever possible during the day.

Try over-the-counter antiseptic ear drops. Follow the instructions included. You can also use the dropper to insert a few drops of rubbing alcohol in your ear. Both of these methods work to dry the water up and flush the ear out.

If none of these suggestions work or improvement is not total, consult your doctor immediately. This may mean that there is a more serious problem. The water must be removed from your ear canal as swiftly as possible to avoid infection and protect your hearing.


You can mix the rubbing alcohol with white vinegar. This will also kill any fungi or bacteria in the ear canal.


Do not, under any circumstances, put anything smaller than your elbow inside your ear. Take great care when dealing with the ears. Abuse can lead to hearing loss.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Eye dropper
  • Ear drops


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About the Author

Tiffany Jansen has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes children’s books for Medieval Maidens and contributes to publications such as "The Holland Times" and "The XPat Journal," as well as various websites and newsletters. Jansen holds a Bachelor of Arts in musical theater with a minor in dance from The American University.