How to Remove Water from Ears

Two Parts:Using Home TreatmentsPreventing Future Problems

People often get water stuck in their ears after going for a swim or taking a bath, especially in the summer months. While water in your ears can simply be unpleasant, if you don't remove it or it doesn't drain out on its own, then you may have to deal with the inflammation, irritation, or infection of your outer ear and ear canal, which is also known as Swimmer's Ear. Luckily, it's often easy to remove water from your ears with just a few quick tricks. If treating it at home doesn't work and you experience ear pain, then it's important that you see a doctor as soon as possible.

Part 1
Using Home Treatments

  1. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 1
    Use a homemade solution of half rubbing alcohol and half white vinegar. In addition to helping your ears get rid of that extra water, this solution will also keep them from getting infected. Simply make an ear drop solution that is made up of 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% white vinegar and carefully use an ear dropper to drop several drops of the solution into the affected ear. Then, carefully drain it out. You can get the help of an adult to drop the solution into your ear for you.[1]
    • The acid in this mixture acts to break down the cerumen (earwax) that may be holding in some water in the ear canal, while the alcohol dries quickly and takes the water with it.
    • The alcohol will also help the water in your ear evaporate more quickly.
    • Do not do this if you have a punctured eardrum.
  2. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 2
    Create a vacuum in your ear. Face the affected ear down on your palm and then use your palm to gently push in and out until water begins to come out. Don’t do this with the ear facing upwards or you may drive it farther back into the canal. This will create a suction-like vacuum that will draw the water in your ear toward your hand.
    • Alternatively, tilt your ear down, place your finger in it, and make a vacuum with your finger by pushing and pulling rapidly. In a moment the water should come out of your ear very quickly. Note that this is not the preferred method, as scratching your ear canal can cause infection. If your palm isn't working and you want to use your finger, then make sure that your finger is clean and that your nails are short.[1]
    • Additionally during the "in" phase of the vacuum method it may be beneficial to gently massage the ear in a clockwise (or counter) motion while the air is tight. This may help irrigate the moist wax and free the moisture a little. This may be especially helpful if your hearing has been impaired by the experience.
  3. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 3
    Blow-dry the ear. Though you may be skeptical about using a blow dryer to remove water from your ears, it has proven to work for some people.[2][3]Simply place your dryer on its lowest heat setting, or even on cool, and hold it at least 1 foot (0.30 m) (30 cm) away from your head, blowing it into your ear, until you feel that water draining. Just make sure it's not too warm or too close to your ear to avoid burning yourself.[1]
    • Alternatively, blow the warm air across opening of the ear instead of into it. Whenever warm, dry air passes over water, it pulls away water vapor.[4]
  4. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 4
    Use over-the-counter eardrops for clearing water from your ears. These are available in the pharmacy and usually contain alcohol, which evaporates quickly. Add the drops to your ear as recommended and tilt your ear down to drain the affected area.
    • As with the home solution, you can use the help of an adult to help drop the medicine into your ear.
  5. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 5
    Wipe the ear with a cloth. Wipe your outer ear slowly and gently with a soft towel or cloth to get rid of some of the water, tilting your ear down toward the cloth.[1]Just make sure not to push the cloth inside your ear, or you may be pushing the water further back into your ear.
  6. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 6
    Tilt your head to the side. Another trick you can try is to stand on one foot and tilt your head to the side so that the offending ear faces the ground. Try hopping on one foot to drain the water out. Tugging on the earlobe to open the canal wider or pulling the top of the ear to the side of the head can also help the water get drained.
    • You can also just skip the hopping part and simply tilt your head to one side.
  7. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 7
    Lie down on your side with your ear facing down. Gravity may cause the ear to drain naturally. Just lie down with the offending ear facing straight down for the most impact, unless you want to use a pillow for a bit of cushion. Stay in that position for at least a few minutes. You can watch television or find another way to entertain yourself if necessary.
    • If you're experiencing the water in your ear in the evening, then make sure that when you lie down to rest, that the offending ear is also facing down. This can increase the chances of the water draining on its own while you sleep.
  8. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 8
    Chew. Pretend you are gnawing on some food to move the jawbones around your ears. Tilt your head to the side that doesn't have water in it, then quickly tilt your head to the other side. You can also try chewing some gum to see if that can dislodge the offending water. The water in your ear gets stuck in your Eustachian tubes, which are part of the inner ear, and the chewing motion can help free it up.
    • You can even try chewing while tilting your head with the offending side down for an added effect.
  9. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 9
    Yawn. Sometimes you may pop the "bubble" of water through simply yawning. Any motion that can affect the water in your ear may help ease the tension and drain the water. If you feel a "pop" or some shifting of the water, then this may have a positive effect. Like chewing gum, this will also help free up those Eustachian tubes.
  10. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 10
    See a doctor when needed. You should see a doctor when you begin to feel pain in addition to the water that is stuck in your ear. Also, know that an infection of the middle ear may feel like water getting stuck in your ear, and that will need to be treated as well. There's a good chance, though, that the pain that accompanies it may be a sign that the water has caused an irritation or infection that is known as Swimmer's Ear. If you have the following symptoms, then you should see a doctor immediately:[5]
    • Yellow, yellow-green, pus-like, or foul smelling drainage from the ear
    • Ear pain that increases when you pull on the outer ear
    • A loss of hearing
    • An itching of the ear canal or ear

Part 2
Preventing Future Problems

  1. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 11
    Dry your ears after swimming. After you get in the water, whether you're swimming in the ocean or a pool or just taking a bath or a shower, you should be attentive to keeping your ears dry. Wipe the water off the outside of your ears with a clean cloth, and pat the area closer to your ear canal dry, too. Make sure to tilt your head to one side or another to shake out any of the excess water in your ears.[6]
    • It's true that some people are more prone to getting water stuck in their ears than others, since a lot of it depends on the shape of your ear. If you tend to get water stuck in your ears a lot, then you should be especially vigilant.
  2. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 12
    Avoid using cotton swabs to clean your ears. While you may think that a cotton swab could help you excavate your ears, whether you want to remove water, wax, or a foreign object, using a q-tip actually has the opposite effect, and it can actually push the water or wax deeper into your ear. It can also scratch the inside of your ear, causing further pain.[7][8]
    • Using a tissue to clean the inside of your ears can scratch them as well.
  3. Image titled Remove Water from Ears Step 13
    Avoid using earplugs or cotton balls in your ears when you have water stuck in them. Using earplugs or cotton balls when you sleep at night can have a similar effect to cotton swabs if your ears have water or other substances stuck in them, pushing the matter deeper into your ear. If you're having ear pain or feel that there's water stuck in your ear, then avoid these nighttime aids for the time being.[9]
    • You should also avoid headphones until the pain clears up, too.


  • Don't poke and scratch inside your ear or you may get an ear infection.
  • Tilt your head to the ear facing down and jump up and down and gently pulling your earlobe.
  • Just chew gum when laying down on your side (side with water in ear). After couple of minutes all the water will be gone.
  • Close your nose with two fingers and try blowing out slowly. Be careful not to blow too hard because it may hurt your ear drums.
  • Blow your nose. The change in air pressure often does the trick.
  • After you go swimming, tilt your head to one side.
  • Gently tug your ear lobe while jumping and down. Have a towel near by to soak up the water.
  • Tilt your head where the ear that has water on it is facing down, or just see a doctor if nothing helps, it might become something serious.
  • Hold your nose and blow while holding you breath you should feel air coming out the ear water is in.
  • Pour a cap full of isopropyl rubbing alcohol into the ear with water, your ear facing up. Then tilt your head so that the ear is facing down. The water should come right out.
  • Gently hit on top of affected ear and tilt your head. The water will ease out on its own.
  • You can find a product at many drug stores which is 95% alcohol designed to get water out of your ears. It's used the same way, but is more effective than just using water (This costs more than alcohol and does the same thing).
  • Shake your head vigorously for 10 seconds.
  • Use a blow dryer. Hold it 5 inches from your ear and use warm air so you don't burn your ear. It should dry the water.
  • Stand up, turn filled ear down and tilt your head so you are more upside down. Shake and the water should come right out.


  • Rubbing alcohol may sting momentarily when it comes in contact with your skin.
  • Consult your physician if none of these tips are successful.
  • Rubbing alcohol is for topical use only. Do not ingest. Call emergency services immediately if this should happen.
  • Take care so as not to lose your balance when hopping. Steady yourself by holding onto a chair or railing.
  • These methods will most likely leave you with a mixture of warm earwax and water coming out of your ear(s). Take care not to get any of this on any easily-stained fabrics.
  • Don’t push foreign objects into your ear. Cotton swabs and other items pack material deeper into your ear canal and can break the skin, causing infection.[1]

Article Info

Categories: Cleaning Ears