Burow's solution

Burow's solution is an aqueous solution of aluminium triacetate. It is available in the U.S. as an over-the-counter drug for topical administration, with brand names including Domeboro (Moberg Pharma), Domeboro Otic (ear drops), Star-Otic, and Borofair.[1] The preparation has astringent and antibacterial properties and may be used to treat a number of skin conditions, including insect bites and stings, rashes caused by poison ivy and poison sumac, swelling, allergies, and bruises. However, its main use is for treatment of otitis (ear infection), including otomycosis (fungal ear infection).[2]


The creator of Burow's solution was Karl August Burow (1809-1874), a military surgeon and anatomist. Burow was also the inventor of some plastic surgery and wound healing techniques which are still in wide use today.[3]

The pronunciation of the solution's name in English either parallels a misconceived German pronunciation (/ˈbʊrɒf/). However names ending -ow originating in Eastern Germany, e.g. Saxony, are pronounced with a long unstressed o (German pronunciation: [oː]). The spelling pronunciation (/ˈbʊr/), which is more intuitive to native speakers of English, is therefore also closer to the original German.


Burow's solution may be used to treat various forms of otitis.[4][5] As a drug it is inexpensive and non-ototoxic. In cases of otomycosis it is less effective than clotrimazole but remains an effective treatment.[6]

Skin irritationEdit

Most versions of Burow's solution can be used as a soak or compress. As an FDA approved astringent it is used for the relief of skin irritations due to poison ivy, oak and sumac, and rashes from allergic reactions to soaps, detergents, cosmetics and jewelry.[7] This is due to the combination of two active ingredients found in this version of Burow's solution, i.e. aluminum sulfate tetradecahydrate and calcium acetate monohydrate.[8][9][10]

Off-label useEdit

Many consumers have found off-label uses for Burow's solution. Due to the strength of the solution, some use it to treat ingrown nails, where Burow's solution is used in combination with warm water to help consumers reduce irritation and contain infection when present.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Drugs.com: Acetic acid/ aluminum acetate solution
  2. ^ Thorp; Kruger, J.; Oliver, S.; Nilssen, E. L. K.; Prescott, C. A. J.; et al. (1998). "The antibacterial activity of acetic acid and Burow's solution as topical otological preparations". J. Laryngology & Otology. Cambridge University Press. 112 (10): 925–928. doi:10.1017/S0022215100142100. PMID 10211213.
  3. ^ Rinzler, Carol Ann (2010-05-12). The Encyclopedia of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery. ISBN 9781438127026.
  4. ^ Kashiwamura M, Chida E, Matsumura M, Nakamaru Y, Suda N, Terayama Y, Fukuda S (January 2004). "The efficacy of Burow's solution as an ear preparation for the treatment of chronic ear infections". Otology & Neurotology. 25 (1): 9–13. doi:10.1097/00129492-200401000-00002. PMID 14724484.
  5. ^ Kashiwamura, Masaaki; Chida, Eiji; Matsumura, Michiya; Nakamaru, Yuuji; Suda, Noriyuki; Terayama, Yoshihiko; Fukuda, Satoshi (Jan 2004). "The Efficacy of Burow's Solution as an Ear Preparation for the Treatment of Chronic Ear Infections". Otology & Neurotology. 25 (1): 9–13. doi:10.1097/00129492-200401000-00002. PMID 14724484.
  6. ^ Munguia, Raymundo; Daniel, Sam J. (April 2008). "Ototopical antifungals and otomycosis: A review". International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. 72 (4): 453–459. doi:10.1016/j.ijporl.2007.12.005. PMID 18279975.
  7. ^ "CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21". Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Domeboro". dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  9. ^ "FDA". www.fda.gov/.
  10. ^ http://www.domeboro.com/about-domeboro/
  11. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/foot-pain/ingrown-toenails.html