How To Clean Earrings: Keeping Your Jewelry Sparkly and Fresh


Earrings are the finishing touches to any outfit, and add a dash of sparkle or bit of glam to your look. However, you might find it surprising just how dirty your earrings can get. Like clothes, you want to regularly wash and care for your favorite jewelry pieces. This helps to reduce the chance of infecting your piercings and also maintains the integrity of your precious baubles. But chances are you’re wondering how to clean earrings, what to clean them with and how often they need cleaning. Luckily, we’re here to help. From studs to statements and gold to pearls, we’ve got the skinny on keeping your pieces shiny and new.

Earring Maintenance Basics

Keeping your earlobes and earrings clean is key for overall health and safety. This is true whether you’re getting pierced for the first time or adding a new hole to your ear party. Get into the habit of practicing proper and frequent care for both your new and most loved pieces. By doing so, you can add years to the life of your earrings.

How To Clean New Earrings

Even if you’ve had your ears pierced for years, you should always sanitize a newly purchased pair of earrings. Before you get started on how to clean new earrings, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands. That should come as no surprise, right? To sanitize your new sparklers, use jewelry cleaner, soap and water or cleaning agents such as hydrogen peroxide. Don’t worry, more on those handy household solutions later. After a quick soak in your weapon of choice, rinse your earrings with warm water and dry completely. You are now set to safely rock your new jewels knowing they are fully sanitized.

For freshly pierced ears, aftercare is the most important step to the entire piercing experience. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to leave your starter studs in for six weeks. Remember to clean twice a day with the provided solution. Methods can vary, so be sure to carefully follow the instructions of your piercer.

How To Clean Stud Earrings

Classic studs are one of the most popular styles of earrings and will forever remain an easy everyday option. Often small, sterilizing them might slip your mind—especially if you don’t frequently change them. When diving into how to clean stud earrings, keeping them safe is key. Our best tip is to clean them in a small dish so they don’t fall through your fingers. No one wants to place an emergency call to the plumber to fish out your diamond dazzlers from the drain. 

How To Clean Earring Backs

When it comes to how to clean earrings, don’t forget about the backs. From studs to chandeliers, your favorite sets often come with fasteners to keep them secure and in place. These deserve just as much cleaning attention as the star of the show. Go ahead and clean the backs just like you would your stud earrings with a quick soak. Better yet, wash them together in the same container. Since these backs are quite small, you may see gunk that you just can’t reach. Grab a handy toothpick to get into those tiny crevices and thoroughly rinse with warm water to wash away dirt.

Frequent and Regular Cleaning of Your Earrings

By now, you’re probably nodding your head in agreement that it’s time to clean your earrings. After reading this article, you might go into a cleaning frenzy of your jewelry box and think you’re set for a while. But how long until the process needs repeating? Experts recommend cleaning your earrings, especially the posts, as often as possible. If you can, give them a gentle cleanse before or after each wear. Although it feels daunting, we promise it’s worth it to avoid requiring deeper cleaning and medical care in the future. Keep scrolling to find out how to clean earrings of any kind, including some handy at-home hacks to try.

Caring For Your Metals, Gems and Stones

Your earring organizer is likely filled with an array of hoops and studs, from sterling silver to gold and of course, pearls. Surprisingly, there isn’t one simple answer for how to clean earrings. Different metals, gems and stones require various methods and solutions to get the best possible outcome. And, don’t forget about proper storage. This can be just as important as cleaning for maximum longevity. 

How To Clean Silver Earrings

Silver is one of the most popular metals for all jewelry, including earrings. When it comes to this metal, you commonly hear the terms silver and sterling silver. Have you ever wondered, what’s the difference? Us, too. Turns out, it’s pretty significant. Pure silver has a silver content of 99.9%, meaning it is extremely malleable. This softness makes it a poor candidate for most jewelry. Instead, pure silver is commonly mixed with other types of metals to toughen it up a bit. Enter sterling silver. What sets sterling silver apart from pure silver is the addition of around 7% copper. This helps to increase hardness and strength. The downside is that the copper will react with oxygen in moist or humid conditions and easily tarnish.

Now that you’re schooled in all things silver, let’s take a look at your sterling silver earrings. They require easy but regular cleaning and care to keep them shining bright. After every wear, we recommend running them under warm water, allowing any dirt to quickly wash away. Before storing, dry thoroughly with a clean cloth, rubbing along the grain of silver. Never let them air dry, as this will leave water spots. 

From time to time, you may find that your sterling silver earrings have lost their glow and need a deeper clean. If you see a little bit of tarnishing, polish them with a microfiber cloth. Steer clear of using tissue paper or paper towels, as these can leave scratches. Avoid polishing in circular motions and instead work in short, back-and-forth motions.

If you feel like your sterling silver earrings are still looking a bit dull, don’t despair. There are a few DIY options you can try post polishing. Turns out, baking soda is your best bet for how to clean sterling silver earrings. Simply mix two parts baking soda with one part warm water. Create a paste and gently massage the mixture onto your sterling silver earrings. Let the paste completely set to help remove any tarnish, then rinse and dry with a soft cloth. 

How To Clean Gold Earrings

Similar to sterling silver, baking soda is a great cleaning agent for gold earrings. Feel free to mix your gold and silver jewelry together, as well as use the same cleaning solution for both. However, you’ll want to try a slightly different method when it comes to how to clean gold earrings. In addition to the baking soda and warm water, add a sprinkle of salt. Let your gold earrings soak in this mixture for about ten minutes, then carefully pat dry. 

All out of baking soda? No worries. Look no further than your kitchen’s trusty dish soap. In a small bowl, combine the cleanser with warm water and immerse your gold earrings for about 30 minutes. For an even deeper clean, gently scrub with a soft bristle toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and, as always, pat dry with a lint-free cloth.

How To Clean Pearl Earrings

Pearl jewelry of any kind are beautiful investments that are commonly passed down from generation to generation. The best part? Pearls are majorly trending right now. Unlike other types of jewels, pearls are especially delicate and easy to damage. Learning how to clean your pearl earrings with the right methods will ensure they last long enough to achieve heirloom status.

For daily upkeep, have a jewelry cloth handy on your dresser to polish your pearls after every wear. This will help to prevent buildup of oils and other residues. If you can see visible stains on your pearls, don’t fret. Use a damp cloth with a combination of lukewarm water and mild dish soap and carefully wipe your pearl earrings. Never fully submerge pearls into water and be sure to let them fully dry before storing. 

Since pearls are soft, they are easily prone to scratches. Knowing that, place them separately in fabric-lined compartments or bags. However, you don’t want to stow them for too long. Pearls do best in a moist environment so wear yours frequently to avoid them drying out. Steer clear of applying anything to your body or face like makeup or hairspray once your pearls are in place. They should be the final touch to your outfit and put on right before you head out the door. Wondering what outfit to style them with? Wear them with your go-to little black dress for work or special events.

Stylist Tip: Never put your pearls in a steam or ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. Although it may seem quick and easy, this will damage the outer pearl layer.

Easy At-Home Jewelry Cleaning Hacks

If you’re anything like us, you’re always looking for quick and easy cleaning methods. Jewelry should be no different. Wondering how to clean earrings with products you already have on hand? In addition to baking soda and dish soap, some of the other solutions might surprise you. Take note, not every cleaning product works with every type of jewelry. Before reaching for just any bottle, read on to make sure you clean the right metal with the right product.

How To Clearn Earrings With Hydrogen Peroxide

We’ve mentioned it earlier, but now let’s take a deep dive into how to clean earrings with hydrogen peroxide. You can use this safe and efficient cleaner on any jewelry, from gold to silver and even your costume earrings. If you’ve got sensitive ears, this cleaning hack is the one for you, as it swiftly kills bacteria. Simply place your earrings in a dish or bowl and fill with hydrogen peroxide until they are completely covered. After a twenty minute soak, carefully rinse and dry.

Keep Your Earrings Sparkly With Rubbing Alcohol

Odds are, you’ve got a bottle of rubbing alcohol tucked away in the back of a cabinet. If you already have a bottle of rubbing alcohol, it’s your lucky day. This antiseptic hero works like a charm for disinfecting cuts and polishing jewelry. Are you as excited as us?

When thinking about how to clean earrings with rubbing alcohol, use this solution for gold, sterling silver and even diamonds. The best method is to dip a cotton ball or swab into a capful of rubbing alcohol. With your earrings in, apply it directly to the front and back of both the earlobe and earrings. Make sure to carefully rotate the earring to get it clean from all angles. For another option, you can also soak your earrings in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes. Either way will help to lift away grime, oils and dirt. Be mindful of the style of earrings you have. Rubbing alcohol is a great option for plain pieces but avoid it for earring with embellishments. The alcohol may melt the glue used to hold them in place.

How To Clean Earrings With Vinegar

Vinegar has long been regarded as an easy and versatile natural cleaner for a variety of products. What’s not to love? Even better, you probably already have some sitting in your pantry. Reach for it next time you want to give your beloved jewelry a spruce up. A quick soak will do the trick to clean and revitalize any earrings. Want an even deeper clean? For another option on how to clean earrings with vinegar, mix it with one of our cleaning favorites, baking soda. Yes, the mixture should be fizzing. Drop your earrings in for up to three hours. Remove, rinse and dry, of course. 

How To Clean Earrings That Turned Green

After close inspection, you may have noticed that some of your earrings have turned a bit, well, green. Hey, it happens. Wondering why? Earrings and other jewelry sometimes contain additional metals such as copper or zinc. Oxygen, oils and sweat react with the additives causing it to corrode over time and turn green. Although it’s not appealing, there’s typically a quick fix for how to clean earrings that turned green. Vinegar to the rescue. Soak your earrings in at least a quarter cup of vinegar for 20 minutes. For a slightly deeper clean, grab that soft toothbrush again and gently brush off any remaining particles of dirt. As always, rinse thoroughly and dry completely before placing them back in your jewelry box. As good as new.

Looking to add some new earrings to your collection? Our style experts are ready to help fill your jewelry box. Take your style quiz, order a Fix and don’t forget to ask your stylist for the latest earring trends. Relax and receive five items that you can try on comfortably at home. Shipping and returns are always free.

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