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How to Clean Earrings to Stay Sparkly & Sanitary

Last Updated: June 15, 2021

Earrings (whether studs, dangles, hoops, or any other type) are a popular jewelry accessory for many people. However, keeping jewelry clean is an important task that many people forget. Not only will the metal loose shine, but building up the grime, grease, sweat, dirt, and even shampoo can irritate the skin and possibly cause an infection.

Fortunately, there are several easy ways that you can clean earrings, and you don’t need to buy a fancy cleaner to do it. Many cleaning remedies can come from items you can find around your house. Not only will they clean your earrings, but make them shiny and as good as new too!

How to Clean Earrings of All Types

Diamond Earrings

Diamond earrings are very resilient, but if you’re not careful, they can lose some of their essential coloring as well. 

What’s the key to cleaning them? You would have never thought that dish soap and water is the easiest, most simple cleaning method that can be used for diamond earrings! 

  1. Soak earrings in warm dish soap water for 30 minutes.
  1. When 30 minutes are done, take them out and gently brush with a small toothbrush.
  1. Rinse in normal water before setting them to air dry. Or use a lint-free cloth.

Caution: If working at the kitchen sink, remember to plug it. You don’t want to call the plumber to retrieve a lost earring

Silver Earrings

The biggest issue when cleaning silver earrings is knowing how to keep the metal from oxidizing. Fortunately, you only need four things for this treatment, which are baking soda, a soft brush, boiling water, and tinfoil

  1. Line a glass dish with tinfoil.
  1. Coat the earrings in a good coating of baking soda.
  1. Pour the boiling water over the jewelry until the baking soda becomes a paste-like substance.
  1. Using it like a toothbrush, use the brush to gently brush and clean the earrings.
  1. Repeat until silver sparkles.
  1. Once sparkling, rinse with hot water and dry with a soft cloth.

Caution: Do not use this method on gem earrings as baking soda could damage the jewels.

Gold Earrings

Just like with diamond earrings, all you need to clean gold earrings is mild dish soap and water.

  1. Soak earrings in warm dish soap water for 30 minutes.
  1. When 30 minutes are done, take them out and gently brush with a small toothbrush.
  1. Rinse in normal water before setting them to air dry. Or use a lint-free cloth.

Note: It is also safe to soak gold earrings in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes for the same result. It will remove any grime, oils, and dirt. However, do not use rubbing alcohol if gold earrings are using an adhesive. The alcohol may melt the glue away.

Pearl Earrings

Real pearl earrings are quite fragile and any cleaning method requires a gentle hand. Normally, only a small cotton cloth is all you need to clean these earrings. However, if you want to include water, we recommend these steps.

  1. Wet a cotton cloth and wring out the excess water.
  1. Use the wet cloth to wipe the pearls clean.
  1. Use a dry cloth to wipe off any excess water. 
  1. Let earrings sit out to dry for 30 minutes.
  1. Store in a dry, safe place.

Caution: Do not use any chemical elements when cleaning pearl earrings. This could damage or corrode the gems.

Other Cleaning Methods for Earrings

Are there other ways to clean earrings? Of course! 

For quick shines, polishing cloths are a safe option. They are especially good at getting rid of quick tarnishes. 

Hydrogen peroxide is another option that many turn to as well. This chemical acts as both a disinfectant and a shiner. 

How Often Should You Wash Earrings?

Even if your earrings don’t look dirty, they can still cause infection. It’s recommended to wash earrings as often as possible. 

Even if you just use an alcohol swab before each wear, it will help with buildup and keep your ears healthy as well.

What Happens if I Don’t Clean My Earrings?

If you wear the same pair of earrings excessively without washing them, the possibility of infection increases. The common signs of infection include:

  • Swelling
  • Pus
  • Redness
  • Irritation or pain

It’s also highly recommended, unless they are brand new piercings, to not sleep with earrings in. Doing so can increase the cause of:

  • Torn lobes
  • Allergic reactions
  • Headaches


To avoid any ear infections, we recommend cleaning your earrings as often as possible. Luckily, this process can be as simple as using dish soap and water. 

Additionally, storing earrings properly in a jewelry box or earring stand can reduce the build up of grime or discoloration as well.

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