Keeping your earrings disinfected is a good bit of jewelry hygiene to cultivate. Regular and proper disinfecting of your earrings can keep them from harboring harmful microorganisms.
4 Methods of Disinfecting Earrings
There are several simple methods to disinfect earrings and keep yourself safe from infections.
1. Disinfect Earrings via Immersion
You can disinfect your earrings by immersing them in disinfectant liquid for some time. This earring disinfecting method works best with purely metal ones that do not require special care. Three liquid disinfectants options that you can use are:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Boiling water
Pour rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide into a glass and immerse the earrings. Take the earrings out after 10 minutes, rinse and dry them with a microfiber cloth.
Alternatively, you can put your earrings in a kettle or pot of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Allow the water to cool a bit, bring out your jewelry and dry it with a microfiber cloth.
2. Disinfect Earrings by Wiping
Wiping your earrings with disinfectants is the better option if you want to clean them quickly. This method is not as thorough as immersing it, but it’s also effective against microorganisms on your earrings. To disinfect your earrings by wiping, you need the following:
- Cotton wool or microfiber cloth
- Hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol
Soak the cotton wool or a small portion of microfiber cloth in the disinfectant liquid and thoroughly wipe the earrings. While wiping the earrings, emphasize the parts that go through your ear more. Rinse the earrings after wiping them, and use a dry piece of the microfiber cloth to clean them.
3. Disinfecting Earrings on New Piercings
Professionals recommend that you leave your earrings in new piercings for at least six weeks to keep them open. You must disinfect the earrings in this period to prevent infection (like 20% of new earlobe piercings).
It’s best to disinfect earrings on new piercings while you’re wearing them. Removing the jewelry can cause it to attract microorganisms, which can get into your piercing when you re-wear it.
You’ll need a q-tip and saltwater for this process, as hydrogen peroxide might be too harsh for the piercing and delay healing. Mix half a teaspoon of salt with 100 ml water and stir till the salt is dissolved. Soak the q-tip in the mixture and clean the earrings’ backs, openings, and earlobes.
4. Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner
These handy devices are perfect for cleaning dirty jewelry, eyeglasses, watches, utensils, and more in minutes using only tap water.
Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners are easy to operate and come with a basket to secure small items like earrings. The only downside is that it does not remove tarnish.
Consider Professional Jewelry Cleaning
One of the best options for disinfecting your earrings is to allow professionals to handle it. Many jewelry stores offer cleaning services for all kinds of jewelry. And best of all, they can also make your jewelry tarnish-free.
The cleaning methods that jewelry stores use will disinfect your earrings from microorganisms. Some stores offer complimentary cleaning services on jewelry that you purchase from them.
Things to Note When You Disinfect Earrings
There are a few precautions and things to note when you try to disinfect earrings.
Disinfect Your Hands and Other Tools
Dirty hands are the source of over 3,200 different types of germs. Disinfecting your earrings only to touch them with infected hands would nullify what you’ve just done.
Wash your hands with an antiseptic soap or use a hand sanitizer to kill the germs on them. Clean hands are most important when cleaning the earrings on a fresh piercing as they’re more susceptible to infection.
You should disinfect your earrings regularly, not once in a blue moon or after you’ve caught an infection. Disinfect your earrings weekly if you wear them every day.
You can leave fresh piercings for around two weeks to give the opening time to heal. However, you must avoid touching the piercing location to prevent the spread of germs to the newly-pierced site.
Know the Metal Type (and What’s Best for it)
Hydrogen peroxide works well as a metal disinfectant; however, it’s also a potent oxidizing agent. Therefore, you should only use hydrogen peroxide on non-reactive metals like gold, rhodium, or platinum.
Hot water is the best cleaning option for earrings made of copper, zinc, and all plated items. Hot water won’t trouble your earrings’ metal if you dry them immediately after washing them.
Watch for Gemstones
Ensure the disinfection method won’t affect any gemstones attached to your earrings. You have to be particularly careful with earrings that have pearls on them. Pearls are notoriously fragile and can be damaged by many chemicals and all acids, so keep your disinfectants away from them.
You have to take extra precautions if your earrings contain other materials like wood and feathers. Disinfectants can permanently damage these materials if you immerse them. If your earrings are made of such materials, use the wiping method to focus on cleaning the earring part that enters your piercing.