How to clean an ear piercing

Updated April 17, 2017

Ear piercing can be aesthetically pleasing and fun to buy jewellery for. Regardless of the length of time that an ear piercing has been in place, routine cleaning is a must. The following is a simple guide for cleaning pierced ears.

Wash your hands with warm water and soap before touching your ears. Dry your hands completely.

Dip a clean, unused cotton swab into isopropyl alcohol, or some other type of ear cleaning antiseptic. You do not have to soak the cotton swab for very long.

Push your earring forward towards your face and clean between the ear and the earring. Clean around the earring post as well.

Push your earring back towards your head and clean the back side of your ear between the earring and the ear. Clean around the post as well.

Let your ear air dry, and discard any used cotton swabs.


Make a saline antiseptic by dissolving 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt into 1 cup of warm water. You can store the solution in a new, sterile container, such as one you might purchase in the health or cosmetics section of most stores.


Do not clean a pierced ear with hydrogen peroxide, as it will only dry out the skin which can lead to infection. Peroxide has also been known to damage jewellery.

If your piercing is infected and regular cleaning has not helped, you should seek medical advice. The presence of pus, occurence of swelling, or a warm ear lobe are signs of infection.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean, unused cotton swabs
  • Ear cleaning antiseptic (isopropyl alcohol or saline)
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About the Author

Desi Crall has a B.A. in Political Science from California State University Sacramento, and is currently a graduate student of Elementary Education at the University of Phoenix. Desi has worked as a freelance writer for three years, with articles and blogs appearing on sites such as,, and