In need of a home remedy for pink eye? I’ve got you covered. And I’ve so been there. It was about a decade ago, and we were on our way to the Christmas Eve service to meet my inlaws for what was supposed to be a weekend of family holiday fun. Then I hear my girl, who was decked out in velvet and patent leather shoes say, “Mommy, my eye itches.”
She’d been *perfectly* fine when we left the house, but within thirty minutes, her eye was bright red and beginning to water and swell.
And it was Christmas. Eve.
We ended up heading home right after the service, and opting out of all of the festivities that year. I had no idea what to do, besides trying to keep her from touching her eyes, encouraging hand washing, and changing out her pillowcase. All important things.
But she woke up on Christmas morning looking like she’d been in a prize fight the night before. Both eyes were nearly swollen closed. My poor baby. And if you’ve had a run in with pink eye, you know it’s highly contagious. So her little brother was sporting two pink eyes by the next afternoon.
Kids are not real great at not touching their eyes when they’re itching and painful. Go figure.
I called and begged the phone nurse at the pediatrician’s office to call something in for us on Christmas day, and the kids recovered quickly once I had the prescription antimicrobial eye drops. But after that experience, I really wanted some options to keep on hand so I could start treating at the very first signs if we ever had a run in again.
At that time, I was just beginning to have an interest in natural remedies. I made a short “To Research” list of the things that I thought we’d deal with most often as a family. My goal was to search out natural options that we could try at home for simple things like coughs, headaches, etc. Pink eye was on my list.
It’s been over a decade since the Pink Eye Christmas, and I’ve had the chance to test several home remedies for pink eye, but I have a favorite that I keep on hand *all* the time just in case…
Home Remedy for Pink Eye
Colloidal silver is my tried and true home remedy for pink eye. It’s my very favorite, since it’s pretty easy to find, it has an extremely long shelf life, it’s very effective, and it doesn’t sting (usually). Many times we’ve had the start of an irritated or itchy eye during cold and flu season, and a drop or two of colloidal silver in each eye sets things right. I repeat every couple of hours if symptoms return. Often they don’t.
This coupled with my hand washing, the no-touchy-the-eyes pep talk, and a fresh pillowcase is the main home remedy for pink eye that I rely on. If I can catch the infection early enough we can usually knock it out within a day.
Please Note: Check the label. If it states, “Do not use in eyes” then avoid doing so. Sovereign Silver (affiliate link) is a highly regarded brand with a very pure product, and their website actually gives dosage recommendations for their silver. (1-2 drops every hour).
More Home Remedies for Pink Eye
Another handy remedy that’s not quite as natural, but works really well if you don’t have silver on hand is to pick up a bottle of basic sterile eye drops from the contacts section of any pharmacy. There is a preservative (often this one) that has knocked out eye infections here. I treat just like I would with eye drops from the doctors office, muliple times a day and then another day past when the eye returns to normal.
I’m not normally a big fan of sterilizer/antimicrobials for day to day use, but in this case, I’m less of a fan of letting a virus or bacteria run rampant through the eyes of my family members. The benefit of the eye drops is that it’s super easy to get your hands on any time of the day or night. And even on Christmas Eve if you need it.
If you’re more inclined for an herbal remedy for pink eye, chamomile is a classic herb that’s used for eyes. You can brew a tea, and apply a washcloth soaked in warm tea, or even use warm teabags for relief. This is a very soothing and natural home remedy option.
You can find lovely organic dried chamomile at Mountain Rose Herbs.com (affiliate link)
Many of my naturally minded friends swear by using breast milk for eye infections. So that may be also be a great and all natural option if you’re still nursing.
There are other home remedies out there, including some that I’m not comfortable trying- I’m not comfortable putting a recipe with essential oils into my eyes, or testing out things that sting or burn. Especially when I have so many good and effective home remedies right at my fingertips.
Avoiding the Morning Crusties
My final tip is a great idea that I picked up from a friend. She was experimenting with using virgin coconut oil to help an eye infection. Although it didn’t help clear the eyes, they did discover that it took care of the icky goopy crusty eyes in the morning. She recommended smoothing a very tiny amount over both eyes (with clean hands) just before you turn off the lights to go to sleep. Coconut oil can make the vision blurry if applied during the day, but it really does a great job of keeping the goop out at night.
If we come down with a severe case, I always do the virgin coconut oil at night. It makes the mornings so much more pleasant.
Please note that I’m not recommending not seeking medical treatment for eye infections. Home remedies are simply solutions that we turn to first here in my home, since I’m comfortable with the results I’ve seen. If an infections worsens or persists, please seek medical care.
So tell me, do you have a good home remedy for pink eye? Which one will you try?
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I am right there with you on the colloidal silver! It has never failed us!Even though the kids hate that first second, they know that they will soon (very soon!) find relief from all eye irritation.
Gwen Brown says
Yes! It’s GREAT stuff!
Heather Oosterhuis says
What a great article about home remedies for pink eye! I love it and have tried all the remedies you mentioned–and they all work. One time on vacation two of my girls had pink eye–traveling–what a nightmare. I went to the local food store and bought the cleanest lavender/chamomile tea bags they had. I ran them in hot water to wake up the herbs…wrang it out a little so it didn’t drip and then put them over the eye. It was very soothing for them while in the car. I did want to mention that essential oils in the eyes are never ok. Instead, I would use lavender around the outside of the eye. Make a circle starting above the eyebrow and going down around the cheek bone. It’s very soothing. Thanks for a great article!
Gwen Brown says
I *completely* agree…I would never use essential oils in the eyes under any circumstances.
How do you buy Colloidal Silver? Is there a recommended or preferred brand?
Gwen Brown says
Our local herb shop carries it. I’ve heard from many that they love the brand Sovereign Silver, but I just used the brand from our local shop. It never goes bad, so I bought a larger bottle and split it with my Mom. 🙂
Collodial Silver is our go to remedy too. Works perfectly!!
Hi Gwen! I’d like to try this remedy for pink eye – the colloidial silver – but when I went to the store the labels said specifically NOT for use in eyes. Is there a s safe for eyes?
Thanks for all your great info!!
Gwen Brown says
I’m not sure why some brands have the “do not use in eyes” label. I would not choose those…some brands don’t specify that. Sovereign Silver(affiliate link) is highly regarded brand and they actually give directions for use in eyes on their website for their product. So maybe stick with them?
(And THANK YOU for mentioning this! I added a note in the post about it.)
River Baggins says
These are excellent suggestions. 🙂
A few years ago, I used donated breast milk for my daughter. Hers was gone in a day! The rest of us used raw cow’s milk (we didn’t have access to goat milk, which I’d read was faster) and it was gone in two days.
I cried it out once when I got it in college, after waiting a week with no change. I rented “Old Yeller” and “Love Story” and made myself cry all night. The next day, it was practically gone. I wouldn’t have my 5-year-old cry, though, but in case adults get it, that was the best thing I could have done.
This info came in handy last fall as I got a pink I before I was supposed to travel across the country. I went to urgent care figuring they’d prescribe antibiotic eye drops, but the PA said it was viral and going around and basically I could travel as the worst hadn’t hit yet. (I also lost my voice).
I used regular eye drops until I could get to a health food store to get the silver (I got the brand you recommended), and I was fanatic about handwashing and not sharing drinks and silverware.
The irritation subsided quite a bit when I started the silver and my eye was better in a few days; the voice took longer, but I didn’t get as sick as the PA predicted, which was probably the elderberry rosehip syrup 🙂
Thanks for the info.
I’ve never heard of using chamomile tea but we’ve used eyebright tea. It works great. I brew it double strong & cool/keep in a mason jar in the frig.
I have a chonic eye condition and would get eye infections in my right eye every 10 days or so. My doctor has me wash my eye with organic green tea. That helps keep the infections from developing. But I’m definitely going to try this silver. I’m so done with these infections.
I have used oxygenated water aka Vitamin O. and the pink eye was gone within two days. It was a holiday weekend and it was the only thing I could think of to try.
Harvey Lee says
I am suffering from pink eye and was looking for such kind of remedies. Finally I got it on your post. These can be very helpful for me. Thanks for sharing this.