Garlic Olive Oil Remedy for Ear Infections

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Homemade garlic olive oil for ear infections
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Garlic Olive Oil Remedy for Ear Infections

When it comes to powerhouse herbs and natural remedies for illness, garlic tops the list. It is naturally antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibacterial, making it beneficial for helping the body fight many types of infections.

I always have fresh, organic garlic on hand because my husband comes from an Italian family and all of his favorite dishes call for garlic (and so does my favorite garlic soup). I’m always grateful I do when any of us get any kind of illness because of garlic’s natural ability to help the body fight infection.

Garlic as a Natural Remedy for Illness

Garlic has been used as a natural remedy for illness for thousands of years. There are historical records of its use in Ancient Greece and Rome, and it was part of the legendary vinegar of the four thieves tincture that supposedly saved four thieves from death during the bubonic plague.

There are almost 5,000 published studies that support garlic’s healing ability for everything from hypertension to hair loss and everything in between. (sources)

Though there are many supplements that contain garlic, I’ve found that raw, fresh, organic garlic seems to be the most effective remedy. I also include garlic in many tinctures as well as in my fire cider recipe.

The fastest and most effective way I use garlic for illness is mincing it up and drinking in water. It isn’t the most appetizing, but it works. I just mince one clove of garlic into tiny pieces and put in a small glass of water. I drink the water and just swallow the garlic pieces without chewing.

Unfortunately, my kids aren’t a fan of taking garlic this way because of the strong taste and they have more trouble swallowing the pieces of garlic. Since the most common childhood infection is an ear infection, I’ve been using a traditional garlic oil remedy for years to help fight ear infections quickly….

Garlic Olive Oil for Ear Infection

Traditional Garlic Olive Oil is a remedy that has been used for dozens, if not hundreds of years for ear infections. Unlike many other conventional remedies, garlic can work with the body and provide relief quickly with long-lasting results.

Antibiotics are often prescribed for ear infections, even though the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has not recommended this as a general practice since 2004. Many ear infections are caused by viruses, which are unaffected by antibiotics. (source)

Thousands of children unnecessarily get antibiotics each year for ear infections when the antibiotics are not even effective for most infections. This has potential long-lasting side effects as antibiotics can permanently alter gut bacteria and many types of bacteria are becoming antibiotic resistant due to overuse of these drugs.

Additionally, research has shown that most children fight an ear infection on their own within 24-72 hours without the need for antibiotics or other intervention.

That said, just hearing that your child will be better in 1-3 days is not comforting to a mother who is holding her toddler as he or she screams from the pain of an aching ear. Fortunately, there are remedies, like this garlic ear oil, that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used to ease the pain of ear infection and speed the healing process.

Why it Works:

Garlic is powerful on its own and olive oil is soothing to infection as well. Olive oil is often used as the base for healing salves and lotions because it contains potent polyphenols which reduce inflammation. Together, garlic and olive oil can help ease the pain of ear infection and reduce healing time.

Important Note:

This remedy is very effective, but it is important to make sure that the ear drum has not ruptured before using this or any other remedy in the ear. I have this Dr. Mom Otoscope on hand to check my child’s eardrum before using any remedy inside the ear canal. Typically, pain subsides if the ear drum bursts so the presence of pain can indicate that the ear drum is still intact, but I always like to check.

If one of my children does ever experience a ruptured eardrum, I would definitely get him or her checked my a doctor, though often not much can be done besides keeping the ear dry and letting it heal naturally.

How to Make Garlic Olive Oil for Ears

I’m grateful that ear infections are very rare in our family, but if one strikes, I immediately head to the kitchen to make this remedy…


  • 1 clove of fresh garlic (organic if possible), minced
  • 2 tablespoons of high quality olive oil or sesame oil


  1. There are two ways this remedy can be made, depending on how much time you have and your preference for heating olive oil or not.
  2. The fastest way is to heat the olive oil in a small pan or double boiler (preferred) and add the minced garlic. Then, keep on very low heat for about 20 minutes to let the beneficial properties of the garlic infuse into the oil. At this point, strain the garlic and remove. I let the garlic cool to just skin temperature and place about two drops in the ear. The warmth and the oil often offer fast relief. This homemade product is not shelf stable, so I make a new batch of this mixture every 24 hours if needed rather than keeping the remaining oil to avoid any problems with contamination.
  3. If you prefer not to heat garlic, you can accomplish the same thing by mincing raw garlic and keeping in olive oil without heating for 2-3 hours before straining and using, though this option is not as helpful if you need immediate relief.

Fresh Garlic Poultice

If you don’t have oil on hand or prefer not to use it, you can accomplish some of the same benefit by slicing a clove of garlic and placing between layers of a piece of gauze. Then, this gauze can be placed on the outside of the ear and left for 30 minutes or so to help fight infection. This isn’t as effective as the oil used internally but is safer, especially if you don’t know if the eardrum is intact or not. To increase the beneficial potential, you can also place a warm rice pack on the outside of the gauze to add heat.

A Pre-Made Alternative

Though I’ve found that homemade fresh warmed garlic olive oil is more effective, there are also pre-made, shelf-stable versions (like this one) you can keep on hand.

What do you do for ear infections? Ever tried a natural remedy like this?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


114 responses to “Garlic Olive Oil Remedy for Ear Infections”

  1. Nicole Avatar

    Does this work in dog’s ears? Would it work for fungal or yeast infections?

  2. Ally Avatar

    Great article! I know I’m really late at commenting but just came across this. What is your opinion on Colloidal Silver? I’ve only used CS once when my toddler had an earache and she was better the following morning but would be interested in also stocking up on garlic oil.

  3. Petia Avatar

    Can add to your post how much of the garlic oil and how often to put inside the ear of a baby/child?

  4. George Avatar

    Katie, I owe you more than I could possibly express here for posting this remedy. I found this article quite a few years ago now, but I came across it when I had a particularly bad ear infection for the first time as an adult. Growing up, I had terribly painful ear infections and my mother would stay up crying right alongside me. (In researching this, I discovered that having cigarette smoke in the house can cause ear infections to be so painful. Thankfully, my mother passed before I found this out, as it may have killed her to think she caused such pain. But, I digress…) I used this remedy that first time and was absolutely blown away at its efficacy; it was like magic. I’ve since used the shelf stable version you linked to a couple of times, pretty much as soon as I feel the pain beginning. As a result, I haven’t had another seriously painful ear infection and I’m so thankful to you for that. I also will tell anyone I can about this remedy because no one, especially a child, should have to go through that amount of suffering.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


  5. Brittany Avatar

    Making the us now! What is the shelf life + how/where should it be stored? Thank you.

  6. Emily Avatar

    Thank you for this information! My 4 yo was diagnosed with an ear infection by her pediatrician on Friday. She had only complained once about her ear hurting up until that point but has had a cold for 3 weeks. I used the garlic oil drops and she appeared much better very soon and hasn’t complained about her ear hurting since. But she does still have a lot of congestion. Should I assume that the ear infection is gone and not do ear drops anymore? Or still do the drops if she’s still got congestion? I would keep doing them for good measure but she really hates them. I just don’t want the infection to recur. Thanks for any suggestions you have.

  7. Emilie Avatar

    Curious, can you use minced garlic or does it have to be fresh garlic? My daughter has been up all night. She was on antibiotics 2 weeks ago but that obviously didn’t help.

  8. Madison Avatar

    How do you reheat the oil within the 24 hour period? Looking forward to some relief with this. Thank you!!

  9. Jodi Avatar

    Hi, you do not want to administer in any way Garlic to your cat. Their bodies do not process garlic as we do. Please, it may not kill your cat but it can cause some serious health problems.

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