Homemade Dog Ear Cleaner + Wipes

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Homemade Dog Ear Cleaner + Wipes

Dog ears. They are just super cute and rubbing them softly is one of my favorite things to do! I often find my girl falls asleep – and I become more relaxed from a simple ear massage. But those ears can become dirty and filled with bacteria if not cleaned on a regular basis!

Below are some simple steps and a homemade dog ear cleaner solution to ensure your dog’s ear health is good.

How Often Should You Clean A Dog’s Ears?

There is no default answer to how often you should clean a dog’s ears. Regular ear cleaning is an important part of your dogs overall care, but it may be good to ask your vet what is a good cleaning schedule for your pet.

Factors like breed and whether your dog has allergies can make a difference.

For most dogs cleaning their ears once a month will be enough. Cleaning them too often can lead to possible irritation and even infection so it is important you determine a proper cleaning schedule with your vet.

Causes of Ear Infections In Dogs

There are a lot of reasons a dog may get ear infections. Below are some of the most common:

  • Bacteria
  • Allergies
  • Breed of dog (floppy eared dogs for example get them more often)
  • Ear canal shape
  • Swimming too often

Many of these can be prevented with the proper cleaning of ears and using proper cleaning products. Our cleaning solution recipe below is one option for you to try.

Do Some Breeds Get Ear Infections More Often?

Yes! Several breeds of dogs are more susceptible to ear infections than others. Some of these breeds include:

  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Bloodhounds
  • Basset Hounds

Typically dogs with long floppy ears are more prone to this issue than other breeds of dogs so it is even more important to keep their ears clean with a regular cleaning.

My girl Riley was a bully breed and she had constant ear infections most of her life due to allergies. We tried different foods, cleaning solutions and prescribed medications. Some of which did reduce the strength of the infections and reduce the amount of them, but we were never able to find a way to stop them entirely.

Signs Of An Ear Infection In Dogs

Knowing whether or not your dog might have an ear infection is important! An ear infection that is not treated can cause your dog a lot of pain and other issues.

Below are some things to look for that can be signs an infection is present:

  • Increased head shaking
  • Scratching ear with paw
  • Redness
  • Odor
  • Discharge
  • Swelling
  • Sudden loss of hearing

The first sign is typically the pawing at the ear and head shaking. This could be the early stages of the infection, so if you notice this behavior it is best to get to the vet for an antibiotic and drops.

The next stage would be the start of a more serious infection which you may notice with a weird odor coming from your dog’s ear. There may also be some discharge coming out of the ear, which is a pretty severe infection and your dog should be seen by a vet as soon as possible.

Can I Treat My Dog’s Ear Infection At Home?

No. You should not try and treat your dog’s infection at home. An ear infection can be painful for your dog and veterinarians will often prescribe antibiotics and ear drops to treat it properly. You may find other websites offering DIY remedies for the actual treatment of ear infections, but please do not tackle this at home!

The following are common ingredients in those remedies and why they are a bad idea to use on a dog suffering an infection.

Vinegar – while this is a good option for a clean healthy ear, it contains a large amount of water which will provide bacteria a happy place to live if you use it on their ears while infected.

Hydrogen Peroxide – another mostly water based ingredient that might help fight some bacteria, will also leave behind water keeping your dog’s ear too moist to be healthy.

Alcohol – while alcohol can offer some drying elements, it can also be super painful if used on an infected ear.

If you even think your dog has an ear infection, please take them to a vet for a diagnosis and treatment plan that will minimize their pain and remove the infection.

If you know your dog’s ears are healthy – then you can use the below homemade dog ear cleaner recipe and get cleaning so they stay that way! 

How To Properly Clean A Dog’s Ears

Cleaning your dog’s ears with regular cleanings will help flush out debris and keep them free from infection. It is important to NEVER use a cotton swab for cleaning those precious ears – if inserted too far it down the ear canal it can cause damage and be incredibly painful. You should always use a soft guaze pad, washcloth or my favorite – a cotton ball.

The ear cleaning process for most dogs is fairly simple and if they do not have an infection, should go smoothly. While they may not like it, they will often tolerate it. 

If you are using a store-bought bottle solution, simply apply the recommended amount into your dog’s ear and rub around the ear to ensure it gets in there well. Then use your cotton ball to gently wipe out any dirt and debris – but be sure not to dig too far into their ear canal. 

Related: Homemade Paw + Nose Butter For Dogs

DIY Homemade Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes

This simple homemade dog ear cleaner is one I use on my own girl was was approved by my vet for use. It is easy to make using common household products. A trip to the veterinarian to ensure your dog does not have an infection is probably the best step to take before using any dog ear cleaning solution. 

IMPORTANT: These wipes should only be used on healthy ears! If your dog is showing signs of infection or has red/raw ears I do not recommend using these as it can irritate them.


  • 1/2 cup witch hazel
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • Container with lid
  • Cotton or guaze pads


1 | Pour white vinegar into container.

2 | Pour witch hazel into container.

3 | Stir liquids until thoroughly blended.

homemade dog ear cleaner solution

4 | Insert wipes into container and push down to help all wipes get the moisture.

5 | Put lid on container and thoroughly shake so that all pads become saturated with the liquid.

6 | Store bottle or wipes in a cool dark place

Alternate Option: As an alternate option for this DIY dog ear cleaner recipe you can skip the addition of the pads and just use the liquid mixture in a squeeze bottle. If you have multiple dogs, you should keep the mixture for each dog in a separate bottle to avoid the spreading of germs.

Important: If your dog does welp or whine when using this ear cleaning, a veterinarians visit may be needed. In healthy ears this cleaner should not hurt – but if they are exhibiting signs of pain they may have an infection you were not aware of.

I did not add hydrogen peroxide or alcohol to this recipe at the suggestion of my own veterinarian. He finds it to be too drying for most pets even sometimes being painful on healthy skin, but he did approve the peroxide and vinegar combination. I have been using this on my own girl for about 6 months and clean her ears once a month. 

dog ear wipes
diy dog ear cleaner wipes

Homemade Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes

Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Easy to make and cost-effective ear cleaner wipes for dogs.


  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup witch hazel
  • Container with lid
  • Cotton or guaze pads


  1. Pour witch hazel into container
  2. Pour vinegar into container
  3. Stir liquids
  4. Add pads to liquid and press down
  5. Put lid on container and swish around so all pads are thoroughly covered with liquid


These homemade dog ear cleaner wipes should only be used for cleaning of healthy ears! If you dog is showing signs of an ear infection or has irritated areas, you should visit your veterinarian.

Jill Caren CharityPaws

Jill Caren

Jill is an avid animal lover who spends her time helping animal rescues by photographing homeless pets and through her work on CharityPaws.

She is currently owned by Cleo, an American Pit Bull Terrier and Snoopy Cat. Her inspiration comes from her girls Ginger and Riley (RIP) – pit mix sisters who were loved family members for almost 15 years.

You can find her on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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