How to Clean Your Ear Piercing

Three Methods:Cleaning New PiercingsMaintaining Healthy Ear PiercingsCleaning Infected Ear Piercings

Ear piercings are a popular fashion accessory for many men and women. Though they are less risky than other body piercings, ear piercings can still come with complications. To avoid getting a painful infection, it is important to learn how to clean your new ear piercings and how to maintain them once they have healed.

Method 1
Cleaning New Piercings

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    Clean your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap. You have to be sure that your ears don't get exposed to germs or dirt when cleaning.[1]
    • Carry a bottle of hand sanitizer around. If you won't be able to wash your hands, you can apply some hand sanitizer to sterilize your fingers before touching your piercing.
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    Dip a cotton ball or swab in the cleaning solution. You can use isopropyl alcohol or a sea salt solution. Many piercing professionals will provide you with a saline and sea salt solution to use. If not you can mix 1/8th teaspoon of sea salt per 8 oz. of saline.
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    Swab the ear lobe with the cotton ball or swab. Do this twice a day to keep the area around your piercing clean.
    • First, dip the cotton ball or swab in the cleaning solution or alcohol. Try pressing the cotton ball to the opening on top of the bottle, then quickly turning the bottle over to soak the cotton with alcohol.
    • Apply the swab around the piercing to keep the area free of germs.
    • Use a new swab to clean the back of the ear in the same manner.
    • Use a new cotton ball or swab to clean the other side of the ear. Always use a new cotton ball or swab for each part of your ear.
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    Turn the earring posts. Go a half turn in each direction. Gently grasp the post between your fingers and turn it clockwise, then counterclockwise. This will help to keep the skin from becoming attached to your piercing.
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    Apply an antibiotic ointment. Use a new cotton swab to apply ointment to the post of the earrings, then turn the earring again. Make a half turn in each direction two times. This will help the ointment to get inside the skin.
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    Clean your piercing daily. You can clean them once or twice a day, but don't forget. Making it part of your morning and bedtime routine is a good way to make sure you get in the habit of cleaning your piercing every day. It just takes a few minutes and can save you from getting a painful infection.
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    Keep your earrings in. Removing them for too long may cause your piercings to close. After about six weeks you can take out your earrings. Don't leave them out too long because even if the piercings are healed, they can still close depending on how fast your body heals. Some ear piercings can take longer to heal. For example, a cartilage piercing takes 4 months instead of 2. Make sure to not take out your piercing too quickly.

Method 2
Maintaining Healthy Ear Piercings

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    Take your earrings out every night. Be sure your piercings have fully healed before removing them at night.[2] Taking earrings out while you sleep will prevent your earrings from snagging during your sleep. It also will allow air to contact the skin, which will help keep your ears healthy.[3]
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    Clean your earrings with rubbing alcohol. Dip a cotton swab in alcohol. Rub it over the posts when your earrings are out for the night. Doing this regularly will help keep the earring free of germs that can cause infection.
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    Swab your ears with a cotton swab and alcohol and apply antibiotic ointment. Do this once a month, or if your piercings ever begin to feel tender. Regularly treating the ear piercings will reduce the chance you ever have to deal with your piercings becoming infected.[4]

Method 3
Cleaning Infected Ear Piercings

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    Take the posts out and clean them with rubbing alcohol. Germs and bacteria can collect on the earrings themselves. Clean your jewelry 2-3 times a day to help keep them clean until your infection clears.[5]
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    Dab rubbing alcohol on the piercing holes. Use a cotton balls or swab. Dampen the swab with alcohol, then place on the ear lobe all around the piercing. Discard the swab and repeat for the backside of the ear lobe.
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    Cover the post with antibiotic ointment. Do this each time you clean the posts, before you put the earrings back on. You will only need a small amount of ointment. The antibiotic ointment will help fight the infection and heal your ear.
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    Contact a dermatologist if symptoms persist. Most infections can be resolved at home with cleaning and ointments. If the infection doesn't clear up in a couple of days, you will need to consult a dermatologist to prevent it from spreading.


  • Only touch your ear when needed. Your hand carries more germs than you think!
  • Stay away from earrings that dangle below your ear for awhile, until your piercing can take the weight.
  • When you begin to wear dangly earrings they are now made very light, you can further protect your ear lobe by using a flat plastic backing.
  • Take your earrings out when playing sports or swimming.
  • Don't use a gun such as what you find in shopping mall stores, go to a proper piercing shop where they use needles. A professional piercer can help you choose the appropriate size and style and will do it the right way.
  • Try to use a gloves when cleaning your ears to be sanitary.
  • Change/wash your pillowcase often!


  • Be sure to clean your ears, or they will get infected!
  • Don't take the earrings out too early, or the holes may close up.
  • If your earlobes do become infected (very red or swollen/painful) go to the doctor straight away.

Article Info

Categories: Ear Piercing