How Effective Is Sweet Oil for Ear Problems?

Updated on March 19th, 2020
sweet oil for ears

Sweet oil is nothing but another name for olive oil. A commercial mix of olive, almond, and essential oils is also sometimes called sweet oil. It is packed with antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. It also has several other healthy constituents like Polyphenols, Sterols, and vitamin E.

The Monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) content is very high in this oil, making up to 75 to 85% of the total fatty acid content. Also, the extremely healthy oleic and linoleic acids are the most abundant unsaturated fat in sweet oil.

Because of its unique constitution, olive oil is supposed to be the healthiest oil on earth. It is used for cooking and also as a skin moisturizer and hair conditioner. Olive oil is also a very popular home remedy to fight excess ear wax(1), treating minor ear infections, and curing earaches. It’s more of a folk remedy than an established cure as there isn’t much scientific research study on its effectiveness.

How Is Sweet Oil for Ears More Effective?

Sweet oil is a tried-and-tested home remedy. Here’s how it works:

1. Treats Excessive Ear Wax

Ear wax is protection for the inner ear. It lubricates and protects the inner ear from water, bacteria, and infection and keeps the ear canal soft.

Small amounts of ear wax are normal and don’t need to be removed. However, a buildup can harm your hearing. This can also trap bacteria and increase your risk of developing an ear infection and earaches. One in 10 children and one in 20 adults will have an ear wax buildup(2).

Sweet oil for ears softens the ear wax. This helps you or a medical practitioner to remove the wax easily. A few studies show that sweet oil is effective but not as much as using prescribed medications. Other studies seem to indicate that sweet oil may be as effective as ear drops to remove ear wax.

[Read: Home Remedies for Ear Pain]

2. Cures Ear Infections

Ear Infections 

Using warm sweet oil for ear infections may provide symptomatic relief, especially in small children. Olive oil does have an anti-bacterial activity to protect against ear infections because it is high in Polyphenols. Nevertheless, it’s unclear whether the oil can kill the types of bacteria that cause ear infections.

3. Heals Ear Pain

Some people use sweet oil for earaches caused by an infection. A 2003 study(3) has shown that herbal ear drops containing sweet oil helped reduce pain from ear infection in kids.

How to Use Sweet Oil for Removing Ear Wax

Here’s how to use sweet oil for ears:

  • Use a glass dropper to put two to three drops of sweet oil into your ear canal while you are lying down on your side.
  • Dip a cotton swab in the sweet oil, place it on your ear canal, and allow the oil to drip into your ear canal. Do not put the cotton swab or a stick in your ear.
  • Use room-temperature or slightly warm sweet oil. Test the temperature on your skin before using it on your ears.

Do this once a day for one or two weeks for ear wax removal.

Is Sweet Oil Safe?

The studies on sweet oil for ears have been largely inconclusive, but it has not been associated with any serious health consequences. It’s generally safe if you follow these precautions when using it in your ears:

  • Don’t use sweet oil in the ear if you have a ruptured eardrum. Consult your doctor before using any home remedy for your ear.
  • Never put hot oil into your ear. This can burn the skin inside the ear.
  • Avoid long-term use of the oil in your ear as it may lead to even more wax buildup.
  • If you don’t get any relief from this oil, contact your doctor.

[Read: Treat Wrinkles Using Olive Oil]

Best Ways to Prevent Ear Problems

  • Don’t place cotton swabs inside the ear to remove wax as this can easily damage your eardrum or push wax deeper into your ear.
  • Don’t put objects into the ears of children as this can cause ear injuries.
  • Only use chemical-based ear cleaners on the recommendation of a doctor or audiologist.


Sweet oil is effective for ear problems, but only to a small degree. There need to be more high-quality studies about the effectiveness of sweet oil for ears. So, use the oil sparingly and for ear problems with lesser severity only and approach a doctor if it doesn’t help.


1. How Often Should You Put Sweet Oil in Your Ear?

Use 2-3 drops of sweet oil once a day for no longer than two weeks.

2. Should You Clean Your Ear Before Using This Oil?

No, sweet oil works as a softener, ideal for cleaning up the ear, so you need to put it before and not after cleaning.

3. How Do You Store Sweet Oil?

Like other oils, it should be stored in a cool and dark place.

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