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Old 19-02-2019, 11:56   #1
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50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

Hi guys,
One of the blue water guides I was recently reading said one rule should be to clean your ears with 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar after each swim?
You guys have experiences? Seems a bit over carful to me but happy for Tipps.
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Old 19-02-2019, 12:32   #2
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

I have never cleaned my ears after a swim in 62 years. Guess I should start. Nah.
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Old 19-02-2019, 12:35   #3
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

I think that it works to help prevent ear infections if you are prone to them from swimming.
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Old 19-02-2019, 12:37   #4
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

I swam competitively in my early teens. We rinsed our ears with a mix of isopropanol and distilled vinegar after each swim to prevent swimmer's ear. For me, it hurt. I have not done it since and am now 68.

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Old 19-02-2019, 12:38   #5
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

No need to put anything in your ears, particularly no need for any chemicals. If one felt compelled to dry an ear simply use gravity with the suspect ear down for a few minutes to speed the process. Don't stick anything in the ear canal; a cotton ball placed inside the ear cup may help wick moisture but it's not necessary.

It's true salt crystals could form but they won't cause a problem unless you manipulate/rub/scratch your ear.
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Old 19-02-2019, 12:49   #6
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

Unless you have a perforated ear drum this will only clean/clear your auditory canal. Most infections where pressure/pain is felt in the ear are behind your ear drum (middle and inner ear) and generally acquired from the nasal passages/eustachian tube, from water, bacterial or viral infection.
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Old 19-02-2019, 13:41   #7
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt Balu View Post
Hi guys,
One of the blue water guides I was recently reading said one rule should be to clean your ears with 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar after each swim?
You guys have experiences? Seems a bit over carful to me but happy for Tipps.
We do a lot of snorkeling while cruising. After getting an ear infection from snorkeling in Panama I started using the vinegar/alcohol flush. Its not a cleaning, you are just trying to flush excess biologicals that are in the ear from the water. Certainly not needed everywhere, but easy to do and seems to work.
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Old 19-02-2019, 13:48   #8
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

Is that 50% of pure ethyl alcohol?
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Old 19-02-2019, 13:54   #9
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

Yep, it's the thing if you are prone to swimmers ear.

Swimmers ear is an infection of the outer ear canal. Several years ago I got it while swimming in Hawaii, so went to an MD and got a prescription which took care of the problem. Some months later while at home in VA I mentioned this to my regular MD and he told me to just use the alcohol/ white vinegar solution after swimming if I felt anything coming on or if the water was questionable.

The alcohol kills any bacteria in there and the vinegar leaves an acidic environment which discourages anything in the future. A couple of drops per ear with a medicine dropper. Seems to work for me.

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Old 19-02-2019, 14:02   #10
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50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

Yes, the 50/50 mix is what cave divers use, we call it “Ear Beer”
The way it works is the alcohol dries out the ear and the vinegar throws the PH off so much that bacteria apparently can’t grow.

For some reason some time after I started cave diving I began to get swimmers ear often, and buddy let me tell you that hurts big time.
I don’t understand why, cause I dove only Springs, with Crystal pure water.
I think once you have had swimmers ear your more prone to reoccurrences.

Only thing that may be worse than an ear ache, is a tooth ache
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Old 19-02-2019, 14:45   #11
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

Though I've never had an ear infection, I always use Swimmers Ear or the generic brands, which help dry the ears as well as to prevent infections. I'm a diver (in the ocean, in my yucky harbor, and in other dank/dark places for law enforcement) and I also swim regularly in different pools with various levels of water treatment. I'm religious about using the stuff since I was a wee tot. But it's better to use 5% anhydrous glycerin and 95% isopropyl alcohol, if you make your own.

See also https://alertdiver.eu/en_US/articles...you-prevent-it
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Old 19-02-2019, 15:15   #12
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

When cleaning the bottom of your boat, wear earplugs. Otherwise, the alcohol/vinegar mix will do a great job of killing the critters seeking refuge inside your ears.
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Old 19-02-2019, 15:22   #13
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

Ah, that Alert Diver article does recommend an acetic acid mixture AND leaving it in for 5 minutes, if you want to kill bacteria. I never do this. I suspect most of us don't/wouldn't. Think this calls for another study of real people and not Navy saturation divers from the 70s....
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Old 19-02-2019, 15:56   #14
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

In Florida where there can be high bacteria counts in the water it is quite common for divemasters to do this. This is a preventive measure, don't do it once you have an ear infection it can make it much more painful.
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Old 19-02-2019, 17:29   #15
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Re: 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar to clean ears after swimming?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Yes, the 50/50 mix is what cave divers use, we call it “Ear Beer”
The way it works is the alcohol dries out the ear and the vinegar throws the PH off so much that bacteria apparently can’t grow.

For some reason some time after I started cave diving I began to get swimmers ear often, and buddy let me tell you that hurts big time.
I don’t understand why, cause I dove only Springs, with Crystal pure water.
I think once you have had swimmers ear your more prone to reoccurrences.

Only thing that may be worse than an ear ache, is a tooth ache
Being a cave diver you should follow the deteriorating condition of the Florida springs. The worst ear infection I ever had was after diving Peacock during a drought. In fact all of us who dove that week got one.

Safe diving and don't forget to use the 'ear beer'
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