Stay Safe and Hygienic: A Guide to Cleaning Your Piercing Jewelry

Piercings are a fantastic way to enhance your appearance, and there are different types that you can use on various parts of the body. Knowing how to clean them correctly is essential regardless of the type of piercing jewelry you prefer.

Six Ways to Clean Piercing Jewelry

Clean Piercing Jewelry

Regularly cleaning your piercing jewelry is important, and there are several simple ways to do it yourself. Unlike other forms of jewelry, cleaning your piercing jewelry doesn’t stop at affecting how the jewelry looks to the eyes. You must also use cleaning procedures that sterilize any microorganisms on your jewelry.

Method 1– Using an Autoclave

Autoclave jewelry cleaner

An autoclave is a device used to sterilize tools. Surgeons use large autoclaves to sterilize all the equipment they use to perform patient operations. Tattoo and piercing studios also use autoclaves to sterilize their tools, protecting clients from possible infection.

An autoclave employs high pressures and high temperatures (which produce steam) to sterilize items by eradicating all bacteria and microbes. This sterility denotes the absence of all living things that could harm you or your piercing.

Autoclave jewelry cleaner

You can take your piercing jewelry to a piercing studio to have it sterilized for you. Alternatively, you can choose to buy a smaller and more affordable autoclave that you can use to disinfect your jewelry personally. 

While an autoclave will disinfect your jewelry, it’s not great at removing the visible dirt. Therefore, if your piercing jewelry looks dirty, clean it with regular soap/dishwashing liquid and water before sterilizing it in an autoclave.

Method 2– Antibacterial Soap and Warm Water

Using antibacterial soap and water is an easy and inexpensive method of cleaning your piercing jewelry. To use this method, you need to follow the simple steps below:

  • Put some warm water in a bowl or cup.
  • Mix some antibacterial soap into the water. If you do not have any antibacterial soap, you should use dishwashing liquid with some disinfectant.
  • Shake the mixture properly to form a good lather.
  • Soak the jewelry in the mixture for about 3 minutes.
  • Use a soft toothbrush to remove whatever dirt particles might be on the jewelry.
  • Rinse the jewelry in lots of hot water, ensuring no soap residue. Using your piercing jewelry with soap residue on it can cause skin irritations.
  • After rinsing, allow the jewelry to air dry or dry with a clean paper towel.

Method 3– Using an Ultrasonic Cleaner

Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner
Ultrasonic Cleaner

Ultrasonic cleaners create ultrasonic vibrations that remove debris from your piercing jewelry. Ultrasonic cleaning effectively removes contaminants and stains that you would find very difficult to remove through other means. This method of cleaning piercing jewelry is also time efficient and is great if you want to clean many pieces at once. 

The simple steps to follow are:

  • Fill the cleaner with the recommended cleaning liquid.
  • Place the jewelry pieces into the cleaner.
  • Close the cover and turn on the switch.
  • Once the timer runs out, bring out your jewelry and rinse it thoroughly in warm water.
  • You can dry it with a paper towel or leave it to air dry.

Method 4– Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another quick over-the-counter means of cleaning and sterilizing your piercing jewelry. Most bacteria and viruses cannot survive in a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. The solution will sterilize your piercing jewelry through a process of oxidation, which is the destruction of a cell’s wall.

To use hydrogen peroxide as a piercing jewelry cleaner, completely submerge the jewelry piece in a hydrogen peroxide solution. Allow the piece to soak for a few minutes, then remove and leave it to air dry. Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t take long to dry, so there is no need to towel dry your piercing jewelry.

Method 5– Boiling Water

Heat is the most common means of disinfecting materials people have used for centuries. In high school, our science teachers taught us how most microorganisms would find it hard to survive in water beyond its boiling point. That theory holds when trying to clean and disinfect your piercing jewelry too.

This method of cleaning jewelry is straightforward— place your jewelry in a pot of boiling water. Leave the pot on fire for 5 minutes, and leave the jewelry to still soak in the water after you turn it off. You can safely remove the jewelry pieces when the water begins to warm, allowing it to air dry.

Soaking the jewelry in hot water will soften the dirt on it. Also, the pressure of the bubbles from boiling will help to remove whatever particles might be stuck on the piece.

Method 6– Mouthwash for Oral Pieces

While you can use any effective cleaning method for other piercing jewelry, you must take greater care with oral piercing jewelry. No one would like to taste soap or a disinfectant when they put on jewelry. Also, you might be allergic to the chemicals included in these disinfectants and soaps.

The best way to clean oral pieces is with something that isn’t harmful when you put it in your mouth– mouthwash! The best type of mouthwash for this process is alcohol-free mouthwash, as alcohol can damage some types of jewelry.

Soak the piece in mouthwash for 2-3 minutes, then remove and rinse it in warm water.

Things to Note When Cleaning Piercing Jewelry

Cleaning Piercing Jewelry

When cleaning your piercing jewelry, there are a few things to note.

1. Wash Your Hands

Always wash your hands properly before re-wearing your piercing jewelry. Touching the piercing jewelry with dirty hands filled with microorganisms would nullify the effect of cleaning the jewelry.

2. Clean Your Piercings

Clean your piercings as often as you clean the jewelry. Sometimes those little holes can begin to house some bacteria. You can easily clean the piercing with some cotton wool soaked in hydrogen peroxide or methylated spirit.

3. Store Jewelry Properly

Always store your piercing jewelry where it would not easily get dirty. Putting piercing jewelry in a jewelry bag or drawer is better than letting it lie around.

4. Take Care With Long-worn Jewelry

Remove your piercing jewelry gently if you’ve been wearing it for a long time. The jewelry might have caught a bit of your skin, and you might injure yourself if you’re not careful.

5. Care for New Piercing and Piercing Jewelry

If you’ve just gotten a new piercing, it’s advisable to let the jewelry sit in for at least six weeks. The wound would have healed after this time, making it okay to remove the old earrings and put on the new ones.

Also, clean your new body piercing jewelry after purchasing it. You shouldn’t insert the piece until you have cleaned it because you don’t know who handled it or what dirt or germs may be on it.

6. Alcohol and Chemical-Based Cleaners

Do not clean your piercing jewelry with alcohol or chemical-based cleaners. These cleaners have the potential to degrade your jewelry.

7. Be Careful With Gemstones and Electronic Parts

Be very careful how you clean your piercing jewelry if it has electronic parts. Ensure that you follow the cleaning guide that you received from the manufacturer. Alternatively, take it to the manufacturer or give a professional to clean it for you, so you don’t accidentally damage it.

If your piercing jewelry has some gemstones, you must ensure that every stone is in place before you start cleaning. This precaution is vital if you’re using an ultrasonic cleaner. The fast vibrations can cause loose stones to fall out of your jewelry.

Why Should I Clean My Piercing Jewelry?

Piercing Jewelry

It might seem like a chore to clean piercing jewelry often, and some might not even bother themselves with it. However, some compelling reasons to keep your piercing jewelry clean consistently include:

1. To Make Them Look Good

People wear piercing jewelry primarily because they want to look good. While piercing jewelry is a beautiful addition to your dressing, it can take away from your appearance if the jewelry you have on is dirty. Wearing dirty jewelry can affect people’s perception of you, which isn’t cool.

Also, when you do not take proper care of your piercing jewelry, it can begin to look older than usual. Even if you spend $1000 on a piece and do not often clean it well, it’ll look undesirable when you put it on.

2. To Avoid Bad Odors

When you leave your piercing jewelry on without cleaning it for a long time, lots of dirt can get stuck in the piercing and on the jewelry. The dirt stuck on the jewelry can begin to have a foul odor over time. The last thing you want is for people to associate bad smells with you because you’re trying to look good.

Also, preventing foul odors is a reason it’s essential to clean your piercings as often as you clean the jewelry.

3. For Health Reasons

When you wear your piercing jewelry for long without cleaning it, there can be a buildup of bacteria on the piece. Wearing a piece with such microorganisms can cause you to have infections. Also, you might begin to have allergic reactions such as itches and rashes on that part of your body.

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