Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Treat Ear Infections?

Ear infections can result from a build-up of excess bacteria or viral infection in the inner, middle, or outer ear, according to Medical News Today. Although no clinical trials have examined the effects of apple cider vinegar on ear infections, one 2017 study revealed it does exert antibacterial and antiviral action. Since apple cider vinegar contains antimicrobial properties, it helps kill fungi, which is one of the causes of ear infections (per Healthline).

People have used apple cider vinegar to treat a variety of health issues for hundreds of years (via Healthline). The vinegar contains a wide variety of healthy substances, including acetic acid, amino acids, and antioxidants. The cloudy liquid resting at the bottom of the bottle is called the mother, and it's chock full of beneficial bacteria, proteins, and enzymes. While there are no scientific studies to support this, can you use apple cider vinegar to treat ear infections?

Apple cider vinegar can help mild outer ear infections

While Mayo Clinic says most infections don't cause lasting damage, severe infections can pose serious health risks and should be treated by a medical professional. However, apple cider vinegar could help treat those mild outer ear infections in children and adults, according to Healthline.

Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli are some of the leading causes of ear infections (per 2021 study). Fortunately, a 2018 study published in Scientific Reports showed that apple cider vinegar stopped the growth of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Escherichia coli (E. coli). In fact, apple cider vinegar reduced inflammation in samples of bacteria mixed with immune cells. Researchers hypothesize that these actions could come from the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar, which can damage microbes in the infectious bacteria. The study concluded that apple cider vinegar could help with some bacterial infections. Additionally, the 2017 study published in Natural Product Research exhibited apple cider vinegar's strong antibacterial properties starting at 25% concentrations.

To use apple cider vinegar for ear infections, Healthline recommends mixing it with equal parts warm water, not hot, or rubbing alcohol to make ear drops. Apply using a clean dropper bottle or baby syringe. The person being treated should lay on their side. But be sure not to insert the dropper inside the ear. Instead, cover the treated ear with a cotton ball and then apply five to 10 drops into the ear. You'll want to remain still for a few minutes after application so the drops can soak in. Repeat as often as needed.