How to Clean Earrings

To clean earrings, fill a small bowl with lukewarm water and add a few drops of mild liquid dish soap. Submerge the earrings in the soapy solution and allow them to soak for 5-10 minutes to loosen any dirt or debris.

Then, gently scrub each earring using a soft-bristled toothbrush, paying close attention to nooks and crannies. Rinse thoroughly under clean running water to remove all soap residue and pat completely dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. 

This basic soap and water method is suitable for most earring materials like gold, silver and surgical steel and helps keep them shiny and protected from dirt and germs.

Earrings Can Get Dirty Quickly

Earrings accumulate dirt, oil, and grime on a daily basis. From touching your ears to general exposure to environmental elements like sun exposure and daily smog, earrings need to be cleaned regularly to keep them looking their best. Failing to clean earrings can allow buildup that is difficult to remove and may even damage the material over time.

How Often Should I Clean My Earrings?

Most experts recommend cleaning earrings at least once a week. Those with piercings may need to clean daily, especially during healing. However, the cleaning frequency may vary depending on your lifestyle and jewelry material:

  • Gold or silver earrings: Clean once a week or when they start to look dull.
  • Diamond or pearl earrings: Clean weekly or biweekly since they tend to attract less dirt.
  • Surgical steel or titanium earrings: Clean daily while piercings are healing and at least 3 times a week long-term.
  • If you work out regularly: Clean after every sweaty session since sweat and bacteria need to be removed.
  • Exposed to a lot of environmental dirt: Consider cleaning 2-3 times a week.

Paying attention to how quickly earrings get dirty for your individual lifestyle will help determine the best cleaning frequency. It’s always best to clean before signs of buildup are visible.

How to Clean Gold Earrings

Gold is a delicate metal that can be scratched or tarnished if cleaning solutions are too harsh. The gentlest method is to use mild soap and warm water:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning to avoid contaminating the earrings.
  2. Create a lather using a small amount of mild liquid soap in a bowl of warm water. Avoid using dish soap which can be too alkaline.
  3. Gently scrub the earrings under running water using a soft-bristled toothbrush or soft cloth. Avoid using metal brushes or tools that could scratch.
  4. Rinse thoroughly under warm running water to remove all soap residue which could potentially corrode the gold over time.
  5. Dry immediately with a soft cotton cloth. Avoid drying/storing near other jewellery that could scratch the clean surface.

For stubborn dirt on gold, a homemade mixture of 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts warm water can help loosen deposits before rinsing. Always do a spot test first to ensure it does not discolor the particular gold alloy being cleaned.

Easily Clean Your Silver Earrings

Silver is a metallic that readily tarnishes when exposed to air and moisture due to a chemical reaction between silver and sulfur. Regular cleaning helps remove tarnish and keep silver bright:

  1. Gather supplies: silver polishing cloth, distilled water, cotton balls.
  2. Moisten a cotton ball with distilled water. Distilled water has no impurities, unlike tap water, that could accelerate tarnishing.
  3. Gently wipe down the entire surface of the silver earrings with the damp cotton ball, taking care around any engraving or details.
  4. Dry immediately using brisk strokes with the polishing cloth. Continue working the cloth over the earrings to develop a nice shine.
  5. For stubborn tarnish, you can make a paste using silver polish or baking soda with a few drops of water. Gently rub onto tarnish spots and rinse clean.
  6. Always store silver in a fabric-lined jewelry box away from other metals to prevent corrosion from cross-contamination of metals.

Cleaning silver this way about once a month should keep it brightly polished. For daily wear pieces, clean weekly. The key is catching tarnish before it becomes thickly bonded to the metal.

4 Steps to Make Diamond Earrings Sparkle Again

Diamonds and other precious gemstones need little more than gentle washing to remove surface dust and grime:

  1. Wash hands thoroughly then fill a small bowl with lukewarm water and a few drops of mild dish soap.
  2. Soak the earrings for 5-10 minutes to loosen dirt and oils coating the gems.
  3. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, gently swirl over diamond surfaces being careful not to apply too much pressure. Avoid harsh scrubbing.
  4. Rinse thoroughly under warm running water to remove any residual soap. Gently blot water away using a lint-free cloth or soft tissue.
  5. Allow to air dry completely in a dust-free place overnight before returning to jewelry box storage. The mild soap should leave diamonds sparkling brilliantly again. Avoid harsh chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners which can potentially damage delicate faceted gemstones over time with improper use.

Give Pearl Earrings a New Lustre

Give Pearl Earrings a New Lustre

Pearls, like diamonds, do best with gentle cleaning to preserve their delicate nacreous surfaces. Here is an easy way to freshen up pearl earrings:

  1. Fill a small glass or porcelain bowl with lukewarm water and add a couple drops of mild dishwashing liquid.
  2. Swish the pearls gently in the soapy water for 5 minutes. Rinse under warm running water until all soap is removed.
  3. Gently dry pearls with a lint-free cloth or tissue, rubbing in a circular motion. Avoid harsh rubbing or brisk movements that could damage fragile pearl surfaces.
  4. For an extra shine, rub a thin coating of olive oil into the dry pearls using your finger. This helps hydrate and condition the pearl nacre.
  5. Wipe away excess oil with a cloth and buff to a soft gleam. Store in a cloth-lined jewelry box to maintain luster between cleanings.

Keeping Your Piercing Clean

For newly pierced or healing ears, it’s crucial to keep jewelry and the piercing entry point clean to prevent infection. After cleaning jewelry as described above, also clean the back and front surfaces of the piercing with a cotton ball and saline solution:

  1. Dampen a cotton ball or swab using a sterile saline spray or solution mixed from 1⁄4 teaspoon salt to 1 cup warm water.
  2. Gently wipe away any crusties or discharge from the front and back of the piercing tunnel.
  3. Avoid harsh rubbing which could further irritate delicate new skin. Saline helps soothe while removing debris and normal wound fluids without drying the area.
  4. Pat dry afterwards and allow to air dry fully before gently reinserting cleaned jewelry.

Cleaning piercings 1-2 times daily continues providing sterile conditions for proper healing over the first few months. Afterwards, cleaning a few times weekly is usually sufficient for long term piercing maintenance.

How Often to Clean Earrings

To summarize cleaning frequencies based on jewelry material:

MaterialCleaning Frequency
Gold, silverOnce a week or when dull
Diamond, pearlWeekly to biweekly
Surgical steel, titaniumDaily while healing, 3x/week long term
For heavy sweatingAfter each sweaty activity
Exposed to dirt2-3x a week may be needed

Paying attention to how quickly jewelry shows signs of dirt buildup will indicate if you need to increase cleaning frequency for your lifestyle factors and jewelry wear schedule. It’s always best to establish a regular routine to keep earrings looking their best long term.


  • Small bowl or cup
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Lint-free cloth


  • Mild liquid dish soap
  • Vinegar (for tough gold cleaning)
  • Distilled water
  • Baking soda paste
  • Saline solution
  • Olive or jojoba oil (for pearls)

Now that the basic tools and cleaning methods are outlined, select the appropriate technique based on your earring’s material to keep them shining as new. Regular cleaning is an important part of jewelry care and maintenance.

How to Clean Earrings With Soap

How to Clean Earrings With Soap

This basic method is suitable for most metals and materials to remove normal dirt and oils. For delicate materials, use a mild liquid soap.

Wash Your Hands

Always wash hands thoroughly before handling any jewelry to avoid contaminating the clean surface.

Let Your Earrings Soak

Fill a small cup or bowl with lukewarm water and add a drop of mild liquid soap. Swish the earrings gently in the soapy solution for 5 minutes.

Gently Scrub

Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, scrub each earring under running water, paying attention to nooks and crannies. Avoid harsh scrubbing of fragile gems.

Rinse and Dry

Rinse thoroughly under warm water to remove all soap residues. Pat dry with a lint-free cloth or absorbent tissue. Allow to air dry fully before storing.

How to Clean Earrings With Baking Powder

Baking powder makes a gentle abrasive paste suitable for silver tarnish removal without harsh chemicals.

Wash Your Hands

As always, clean hands are crucial for preventing new dirt while handling jewelry.

Combine Baking Powder and Boiling Water

In a small porcelain or glass cup, make a thick paste by slowly mixing 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder into 1-2 teaspoons boiling water.

Scrub the Earrings

Using a clean, dry toothbrush,Apply baking powder paste to earrings and scrub gently in a circular motion, focusing on tarnished areas.

Rinse and Dry

Thoroughly rinse baking powder residues away under warm running tap water. Pat completely dry with a soft cloth. Buff up shine as the paste polish evaporates fully.

How to Clean Earrings With Water and Cloth

For quick touch-ups between deep cleanings, plain water is sufficient to freshen up earrings.

Wipe Your Earrings

Using a clean, dry lint-free cloth, wipe down earrings to remove surface dust and oils. Gently rub any stubborn areas.

Let Earrings Dry

Allow to air dry fully before returning to jewelry storage. Plain water cleans lightly without risking residue buildup from other cleaning agents.

Tips for Keeping Earrings Clean Longer

  • Store in a covered jewelry box or pouch to protect from environmental dirt and grime exposure.
  • Consider purchasing a jewelry cleaning appliance for periodic deep cleans if you wear earrings daily.
  • Dry thoroughly after swimming, sweating or rainy weather to prevent moisture-related corrosion or damage over time.
  • Wipe postings and surrounding skin areas regularly if you have pierced ears to slough away dead skin cells and normal skin oils that can transfer onto posts.
  • Spot clean before dirt buildup occurs. It’s easier than heavy cleaning once grime has bonded to surfaces.
  • Handle earrings delicately to avoid scratching or damaging vulnerable surfaces and settings over time.


 Keeping earrings clean through regular gentle cleaning is an important part of jewelry care and maintenance. Following the appropriate cleaning methods tailored for each earring material will help remove dirt and buildup, reduce tarnishing or corrosion, and protect the integrity and condition of the jewelry over time. 

Regular cleansing, even as simple as occasional wipe-downs with water, helps earrings maintain their shine and sparkle. With the right supplies and techniques, taking just a few minutes to spot clean after wear or do a deeper clean on a weekly basis will help all types of earrings from delicate gems to surgical steel stay looking their best and lastingly beautiful. Proper cleaning prolongs the lifetime of any earring collection.

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