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Natural Home Remedies for Pink Eye

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Pink Eye
By Olivia Johanson

We've all seen an unfortunate soul suffering from pink eye, an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the outermost layer of the eye. When your child is sporting a pink eye, you really want a safe, easy solution and to relieve the symptoms as quickly as possible. Luckily for you, pink eye has been around for centuries and people have come up with a number of home remedies to deal with it.

What Type of Pink Eye

There are two types of pink eye, viral and bacterial. Both are incredibly unpleasant but they have different traits and treatments.

Viral pink eye: Viral pink eye is extremely contagious and typically marked by clear, watery drainage. This form of pink eye often starts with one eye and moves to the other. Unfortunately there is no antibiotic treatment available for viral pink eye, meaning patients usually have to let it run its course. This typically takes between four and seven days.

Bacterial pink eye: Bacterial pink eye is marked by greenish yellow fluid draining from the eyes and is also highly contagious. Luckily, there are antibiotic eye drops that can deal with this form of pink eye. It's important to deal with it right away as this form of the infection is also likely to spread from one eye to the other. Some people opt for the treatments listed below to avoid the chemical antibiotics.

It's typically difficult to tell which form of pink eye your child has without going to the doctor, so make sure you do!

Allergic pink eye: Sometimes what appears to be pink eye is actually just an intense allergic reaction. This is obvious if your eyes have come directly in contact with chemicals or other allergens but might be something less clear such as a concentration of animal dander or pollen. You can usually get rid of this by rinsing out the eyes for a solid few minutes. If your or your child’s reaction is caused by a liquid with a high concentration of chemicals or another kind of chemical, you should call a doctor as soon as you've finished rinsing the eyes out.

Natural Treatments

Unfortunately, these treatments don't come with any guarantee of eliminating pink eye altogether, but they all provide some level of comfort and have had some success getting rid of bacterial pink eye. Give one of these treatments a try:

1. Honey: Honey has been proven to reduce the amount of bacteria found in eyes in patients who suffered from dry eyes in this study and people from all over the world consider it one of the best home remedies for many different purposes. Mix half a teaspoon of raw honey into a quarter cup of water and add a small pinch of salt. The water should be warm but not hot. If you're concerned about how clean your water is you can boil it first and let it cool part way. Place one to two drops of this mixture in each eye every few (four or five) hours until the infection is gone.

2. Herbal tea poultices: You can use calendula, chamomile, fennel, and/or eyebright teas to create a heat compress. Eyebright can also be taken as a supplement or tea. These solutions are good for any kind of eye inflammation or irritation. Do not use calendula or chamomile if you are allergic to ragweed. Many health professionals also recommend you avoid chamomile during pregnancy and nursing, although this is highly contested in the medical field.

3. Salt water wash: You have two options here; you can purchase a saline solution specifically for eye infections or you can create your own mixture at home. Saline drops from the store might come with medications specifically to deal with pink eye or inflammation, but the right mixture of salt in water should be enough to get rid of minor cases of pink eye. Boil one cup of water with a teaspoon of salt so the salt dissolves completely and then let the liquid cool to room temperature. Use this mixture to rinse your eyes several times per day, and at least five. You'll want to make a new batch every day to avoid contamination.

4. Boric acid: Boric acid is a weak acid based on boron and is typically used as an anti-bacterial solution for cuts and other injuries. It's also commonly used to treat athlete's foot. To treat pink eye with boric acid, you'll want to mix it with some water and use it as an eye wash three times a day until the infection disappears.

How to Prevent Pink Eye

Once you've gotten rid of it, you can stop pink eye from coming back by taking the following precautions:

  • Make sure your children wash their hands thoroughly and frequently.

  • They should avoid rubbing and touching their eyes.

  • Avoid sharing face cloths and hand towels.

  • Wash their pillow cases and anything else that comes into close contact with their eyes regularly.

Your kids might still get pink eye from somebody they come in contact with while they’re out and about but these precautions can drastically decrease the risk of infection.

Olivia Johanson is the mom of two, and a home remedy addict. If you have any questions about or tips for home remedies, hop over to and leave her a comment.

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