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How to clean earrings and sterilize them?

clean earrings


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What is the right way to clean earrings? Do you have any earring-cleaning solutions left? What about using rubbing hydrogen peroxide vs. alcohol?

Found a cute pair of old earrings in your Grandmother’s closet? Picked up a nice pair of earrings from a flea market or second-hand store? Or a dear friend borrowed your nice earrings to flaunt at her brother’s wedding?

We have all been there.

Every time you use a pair of earrings that have been used by someone else, even when you use a shared jewelry box, there is always a question in your mind- “How to sterilize earrings?” before you put them on, as you don’t want yourself to put the high risk of infection in your pierced ears.

1. Keep track of your cleaning habits.

When you are learning how to clean earrings, it is essential to remember when and why you should clean your earrings in the first place. To sum up the risks in one word: infection. Not only will regular cleaning your earrings keep them looking bright and shiny, but it will help keep your ears healthy too.

If you are wondering how to clean your earrings after piercing, follow these same steps, but don’t take your earrings out. Instead, just rotate the earring with your fingers and clean it with a cotton ball or other soft material. It is especially essential to clean your earrings after they have been pierced. Because your ear-holes are still healing, they are especially prone to infection.

Must read: Cuff Earrings: Latest Styles You Should Not Miss Out On

2. Wash those hands!


Now that you know why you should clean, it is time to learn how to clean earrings. Before you do anything else, you need to wash your hands well with soap. This will remove any bacteria on your fingers that could spread to your ears.

3. Get the right Solution

That was easy! Now the more complicated steps of learning how to clean earrings: finding the right equipment. If you have an earring cleaning solution, use that as your sanitizer. If you don’t though, you have several cleaning options.

How to clean earrings with rubbing Alcohol/Hydrogen Peroxide

Two of the most common disinfectants are rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.

How do you know to use rubbing alcohol vs. hydrogen peroxide?

Well, they are both disinfectants and antiseptics.

Rubbing alcohol is typically used for removing bacteria from medical or skin tools, while hydrogen peroxide (Also called- Earring Cleaner) can work as a bleaching agent and stain remover. So, while you may not use rubbing alcohol to get rid of stains, you can use either as a disinfectant on your earrings.

Once you have picked your sanitizer, you need to grab a cotton pad to use for the cleaning. If your earring has a lot of grime on it, you might also want to get a soft toothbrush for scrubbing.

When first learning how to sterilize earrings, though, it is essential that you are not too rough. Don’t use a brush with hard bristles, or you could damage the earrings. If you are cleaning an antique or fragile earring, skip the brush altogether.

The last tip on how to clean used earrings? Don’t do it over the sink! Instead, clean your earrings over a flat surface or in a bowl! Clean earrings are no good if you have dropped one down the sink.

4. Wipe your earrings and jewelry clean.

cleaning ring

Finally, the step you have probably been waiting for: actual instructions on how to clean earrings. Now that you have forgotten the right cleaning supplies and knowledge you need to clean your earrings regularly, there are lots of steps that are even quite simple. If you can’t take out your earrings, dip the cotton ball in your cleaning solution and rub it around your earrings as much as you can.

If you can remove your earrings, do. Wipe the front and back of your earrings with the cotton pad. You can also slightly scrub grimy areas with the toothbrush as needed. Some experts even suggest filing a small bowl with the hydrogen peroxide and letting your earrings soak in there for twenty minutes. Then let your earrings air dry on a paper towel before wearing or storing them!

Must Read : The Best Jewelry Cleaners to Keep your Jewelry evergreen

Expert Advice

The Product Analyst

Alicia Hough from The Product Analyst shares her words as” I practically cannot live without my earrings, but I always make sure that earrings for  Sensitive Ears were brought by me and it should be cleaned and sanitized, thus here’s how I do it.

Make sure your hands and everything that you will hold or use are sanitized.
*Dip a cotton ball into rubbing alcohol or any specialized solution then apply it to the front and back of the earrings. *Rotate the earrings until all parts are incorporated with the solution.
*Wipe it with a dry cloth then put it into a sanitizing earring handler, or if not available, put it back to your dresser.”


Jeff Moriarty from MoreGems advises a different technique to clean earrings. They say-” Use an ultrasonic cleaner with detergent solution. These are around $50.
This will get most/all of any debris off the earrings. Scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush to loosen any tough debris, then soak again in an ultrasonic cleaner. This would work with most earrings, but some specific gemstones/pearls/coral may need special care other than this method with a light soap/detergent.
Finally, give them a 90% isopropyl alcohol bath to fully sanitize. Sounds tough, but this would take less than 5-10 minutes to complete.”

Must Read : How to Clean Gemstones: A Complete Guide to gemstones

Fantastic Services

Dean Davies from Fantastic Services says-” For cleaning gold, silver, and metal earrings, follow these steps:

Take a small bowl and fill it with rubbing alcohol. Soak the earings in the rubbing alcohol for at least an hour. Afterward, dip an old toothbrush into the bowl, and once it’s soaked in alcohol use it to gently clean the earring’s posts and decorations.

Finally, rinse the earrings off in warm water to remove traces of alcohol and leave them to dry on top of a soft cloth.

Just bear in mind that pearls and diamonds should never be sanitized with rubbing alcohol as that can damage them. If you have such, it’s best to just lightly clean them. If they’ve been used by another person before, take them to a professional jewelry cleaning shop.”

Blue Biology

Henry Harrison from Blue Biology suggests it more technically as “The best way of ensuring this is to clean the earrings with 70% Ethyl alcohol which has been shown to be superior in comparison to isopropyl alcohol due to its powerful broad-spectrum germicide.

Ethyl alcohol works by actually dissociating or dissolving the bacteria’s cellular membrane.

This process is made possible because cell membranes are like water, and when one puts a protein in ethanol the protein can longer function and becomes denatured.

The best way to clean the earrings is to have a small dish that is able to withstand the alcohol, so be sure to avoid plastics and aim for glass.

Fill the dish with 2 oz of ethyl alcohol or until the earrings are submerged. Be sure to leave the earrings in the solution for 30 seconds just to ensure that all the bacteria are killed.

Since alcohol dries relatively fast there is no need to dry the earrings.

You can simply remove them from the solution and wait two minutes for the earrings to dry, once dry you are able to wear the earrings without the worry of harmful bacteria.”

Wrap Up

All you need is consistency to keep your earrings clean.

Take care of them and yourself while donning those sparklers on.

Jewelry should bring charm, never harm.


I bought new earrings, is it safe to put them on right after you buy them or should I disinfect them?

You should disinfect them before putting them on! Though most stores would regularly use disinfects, you can never be sure. A Jewelry item would go through so many hands before reaching you and a pierced ear is quite sensitive. You can-
-Ask the store to disinfect them before handing them over to you
-Soak them in rubbing alcohol at home
-Use mouthwash or any safe to use disinfect agent available at home.

Can we soak earrings to clean them?

All you need to do is to submerge the earring in hydrogen peroxide for a deeper clean. Cotton can get caught on some of the earrings, leaving behind annoying strands of fiber. To prevent this or to simply get a more thorough clean, let your earrings soak in a small cup of hydrogen peroxide for 5-10 minutes.

Can I use vinegar to clean my earrings?

Cleaning your gold and gemstone earrings could not be easier with white vinegar. Simply drop the earring into a jar of vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes. Simply remove and scrub with a soft-bristled toothbrush, if necessary.

Can we soak silver earrings to clean them?

Silver becomes black because of hydrogen sulfide, a substance that occurs in the air. When silver comes into contact with it, a chemical reaction takes place, and a black layer is formed. Silver oxidizes faster in places with a lot of light and high humidity.

Can I use rubbing alcohol on all kinds of earrings?

Avoid using it on Pearl earrings. Rubbing alcohol may damage the pearl. Get your pearl jewelry disinfected by a professional only.

How to disinfect white gold earrings?

Take a small bowl and fill it with rubbing alcohol. Soak the earings in the rubbing alcohol for at least an hour. Afterward, dip an old toothbrush into the bowl, and once it’s soaked in alcohol use it to gently clean the earring’s posts and decorations.

Also Read: Colored Diamonds: 6 Things to Know Before You Buy

Diamond Education

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