PSA: How To Get Water Out Of Your Ears

>> Saturday, March 08, 2008

Everyone knows that weird feeling and strange sound that comes with water being stuck in your ears after a swim. You can’t get it out with a towel. You can’t absorb it with a Q-Tip. You can’t drill a hole under your ear with your cordless Dewalt to let the water drain. So what’s a triathlete to do?

Lesson 1: Materials

The first thing you need is some rubbing alcohol, preferably 70% alcohol (that’s 140 proof if you brew your own). The next thing you need is a little dropper bottle. This isn’t completely necessary, but it makes things much easier. The third and last thing you need is something to wipe-up with: a towel, a tissue, or even some TP. That’s all.

Everything ready to go

Lesson 2: Drip, Drip, Drip...

First, fill the dropper bottle with alcohol. Then tip your head to the side so that your water-filled ear is pointing to the sky.

Then drop 5 to 6 drops of alcohol in your “plugged” ear.

It’s a weird sensation when your ear fills with alcohol. It doesn’t hurt a bit, but it usually makes me go like this:

...and it makes that vein pop out in the middle of my forehead...

Once you drip the alcohol in your ear, let it sit for 5 to 10 seconds. Enjoy it. This is “your time.”

Lesson 3: Water, Be Gone!

Tip your head so the water and alcohol filled ear can now drain. Use a towel, tissue, or TP to dab up the water and alcohol.

That’s it. You’re done. The alcohol mixes with the bit of water in your ear. When you tip your head to get it out, the majority of it comes out right away. The little bit that doesn’t come out is now highly concentrated alcohol, and it evaporates in seconds.

This has worked EVERY TIME for Pharmie and myself. I’ve probably done this about 40 or 50 times in the last few years. It’s not originally my idea. I heard it from Pharmie. And Pharmie was told this great idea by a former college roommate who was on the swim team. Works like a charm. Try it out for yourself (if it’s not currently the way you get water out of your ears).

Oh, and big thanks to Pharmie for modeling for me! Thanks Hun!


tracie 10:12 PM, March 08, 2008  

oooohhhh i'll have to try this next time! thanks for the PSA.

btw, if you haven't confessed your icky speedo wearing incident yet, i'm pretty sure pharmie will DEF see it when she views her lovely modeling job. :P

CoachLiz 11:01 PM, March 08, 2008  

I have been using this method for years since I swam competively in school. Another "home remedy" to mix up is half white vinegar and half alcohol. The acidity of the vinegar makes it hard for bad stuff to hang out in the ear and the alcohol helps it evaporate fast. This was the ear drop dur juor in Girl Scouts at summer camp. Works great in a squeeze bottle as well.

Ryan 6:03 AM, March 09, 2008  

Can you drink ear alcohol?

E-Speed 8:09 AM, March 09, 2008  

I've done this with hydrogen peroxide, it tingles!

Brian 8:13 AM, March 09, 2008  

I used to do something similar for wax buildup. But after the hydroden peroxide you shoot water in your ear as hard as you can. Pretty nasty stuff. But now that I'm swimming on a regular basis I don't have this issue.

Born To Endure 8:47 AM, March 09, 2008  

Ughhh...why didn't I know I don't have to jump up and down after my swim trying to get the water out of my ears almost knocking myself unconscious...thanks!!!

Dana 4:53 PM, March 09, 2008  

As always I learn something new every time I visit your blog. Thanks!

Kellye Mills 7:00 PM, March 09, 2008  

You are so educational!! LOVE the instructional photos! :)

RobbyB 7:34 PM, March 09, 2008  

Good stuff! And good to see Pharmie getting into the action!

Triteacher 8:16 PM, March 09, 2008  

Thank you, Pharmie & Steve! My students have been getting away with murder this year because I - can't - hear with all that stinkin' water in my ears. Look out now, kiddos!

Anne 9:15 PM, March 09, 2008  

This beats my home remedy and will immediately be adopted. Great PSA.

Unknown 11:26 AM, March 10, 2008  

Knew about this one, but it's always nice to get a nice recipe. Though some of your recipes, crotch rot, seem to be recipes for disaster!

triguyjt 12:49 PM, March 10, 2008  

did pharmie charge a modelling fee???

who was on the cover of triathlete that pharmie was reading???
was that a layout of said coverboy???
are you jealous??

Anonymous,  1:33 PM, March 10, 2008  


I used this method last week, but with a dixie cup because I had no dropper. I really need to get a dropper!

Great pictures :)

J~Mom 2:07 PM, March 10, 2008  

Finally a PSA for me!! YAY! I can definitely use this tip! Thanks!

Jessica 8:04 PM, March 10, 2008  

great stuff!! Haven't needed to pull that trick since I started with the mack's ear plugs.Of course, that doesn't make for such useful psas :)

RunBubbaRun 8:13 PM, March 10, 2008  

Good to know, I always hate that feeling..

Maybe the rubbing alcohol will help with your "crotch rot", if it does work PLEASE don't model it for us. TMV (to much visual)

ps. They got some cool stuff in that Tri magazine.

nwgdc 9:37 PM, March 10, 2008  

wow...i don't even swim but found this useful! now i just need to find a swimmer to share the idea with!

thanks for stopping by. i've stumbled upon your site and always find it funny. time to link it up!

ShirleyPerly 3:39 AM, March 11, 2008  

You know, I used to get water in my ears all the time and now rarely do. I know someone who still does though and am going to direct her to your blog. Thanks for the PSA!

GP 7:24 AM, March 11, 2008  

I started competitively swimming when I was five. But my career nearly ended early because I had such horrific water-in-ear problems.

My dad used this exact technique of me and it worked like a charm. Without it I wouldn't have been a swimmer, and probably never become a triathlete. So, I applaud your advice! Good sharing!

Jumper 2.0 8:08 AM, March 11, 2008  

Great PSA,

Speaking of Pharmie. Do you ever let her use the computer????


Kickstand Pam 9:50 AM, March 11, 2008  

Very informative. Thanks!

Oh and thanks for the belly ache laughes. They really help me start my day. :)

Lily on the Road 3:50 PM, March 11, 2008  

Thanks now I know!

Cool, TY

21stCenturyMom 12:36 AM, March 12, 2008  

When I was a kid in Ohio we used to belong to a country club. We would go to the snack bar and ask for a shot of vodka to help get the water out of our ears and then we would take it into the locker room and down it - tee hee!

Thanks for dredging up a great memory.

monica 2:51 AM, March 13, 2008  

um, hello?? oh that's right, y'all can't hear me cuz your ears are all backed up.

anyone heard of EARPLUGS?? it'd save you millions on rubbing alcohol...

anna jo 5:53 PM, March 22, 2008  

I just use a combination of tilting my head to the plugged up side and jumping on one foot. it usually does the trick. I wish I would have known about this sooner, though, because it's probably a little more effective and not as silly looking. thanks for the tip!

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