How to Sterilize Earrings: Disinfect Earrings at Home

If you want your earrings to stay as beautiful as the day that you got them, as well as take care of your ears, you will want to sterilize them regularly. You may think that you have to take your earrings to a jeweler to get them disinfected, but you can do it from the comfort of your very own home.

Let’s talk about how to sterilize your earrings at home safely and effectively with things you can find around the house.

Why Do We Need to Sterilize Our Earrings?

There are a few reasons why we have to keep our earrings clean. The most important reason is for your health. Sterilizing your earrings on a regular basis will destroy the bacteria that can cause harmful health issues such as infection.

Infections at the site of the ear piercing are a common and painful occurrence. The piercing can make areas in the skin that are difficult to clean, making them susceptible to accumulating bacteria which can cause infection. 

Related: How to Take Out Earrings: Backing Removal Guide

This can cause redness, swelling, tenderness, and pain in the affected area. If the infection progresses, the piercing area may start producing a greenish or yellowish discharge, causing fever and itchiness in the ear. If left untreated, this can cause bloody discharge and swelling of the lymph nodes.

Another reason why it is important to sanitize your earrings is that over time your earrings can accumulate oil, sweat, grease, dirt, and other debris that you do not want to put near your skin. A big part of this gunk is from hair products, shampoo, soap, lotion, and other things that are difficult to rinse away thoroughly.

Keeping your earrings clean and sterilized will also help them keep their original shine and luster for years to come. When you allow that dirt, grime, and gunk to accumulate on your earrings, they begin to coat the material, dulling the original shine. Make sure you clean your earrings regularly to avoid this from happening.


someone using the hand pump on a bottle of hand sanitizer


How to Safely and Effectively Sterilize Your Earrings

Before you begin, the first thing you will want to do is sterilize your hands with hand sanitizer or other hand disinfectant that is alcohol based. You want to avoid using regular soap since it leaves a chemical barrier on your hand that can get transferred to the earring. Now that your hands are nice and clean, here are some of our favorite ways to safely and effectively sterilize earrings.

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Disinfecting Earrings Without Removing Them

This method is best for those with recently pierced ears since the earrings have to stay in until the piercing has healed. It is especially important to disinfect earrings in new piercings since they are open wounds and are vulnerable to bacteria and infection.

Start by dissolving a tablespoon of sea salt into a small amount of warm water. Once the sea salt has completely mixed and dissolved into the water, take a clean, dry cloth and dip it into the solution. Use this cloth to carefully and gently clean around the earring and earlobe by lightly dabbing instead of wiping.

Related: Got an Infected Ear Piercing? Here’s What to Do

Avoid using isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean the piercing since it can cause it to take much longer to heal.

Quick Method

If you can safely remove your earrings without the risk of them closing, you can use this method to give them a quick disinfecting wipe down. Grab a clean, dry cotton pad or soft microfiber cloth and pour a little bit of isopropyl alcohol on them. 

Use this to wipe your earrings down, giving extra attention to any part of the earring that goes through your ear and the backing. After you have finished wiping down the earrings, carefully give them a thorough rinse and let them air dry on a clean, dry cloth.

Deep Cleaning Method

If it has been a while since you got a chance to clean your earrings, you may want to use this deep cleaning method. Pour a small amount of isopropyl alcohol into a glass, enough to completely cover the earrings. Place the earrings into the container and allow it to soak in the alcohol for about fifteen minutes

Related: How To Tell if You’re Allergic to Jewelry

Take them out and use a clean, dry microfiber cloth and wipe down the earrings. Carefully rinse them with clean water and air dry them on a clean cloth.


a couple inspecting earrings at the jewelry store


Sterilize Before You Try Them On

Make sure that you take the time to sterilize earrings at the jewelry store before you try them on since there is a good chance that they have not been disinfected after the last person tried them on. Ask the staff for alcohol wipes or a cleaning solution so that you can give them a quick disinfecting wipe-down before you try them on. 

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Final Thoughts

Make sure you regularly sterilize your earrings to prevent bacteria buildup and infection. Next time you notice your earrings start to dull, try one of these methods to disinfect and revitalize them.