How to Clean Earrings | Bring the Sparkle Back to Life

Jewelry cleaning is one of the most satisfying activities you can do in your free time. It’s like bringing your jewelry back to life by scrubbing away all that dirt that was preventing it from sparkling like it used to.

However, some jewelry is harder to clean than others. Earrings, for example, are exposed to a ton of dirt and hair oils and products that can get the earring dirty pretty quickly, especially at the earring posts.

Luckily, there are many easy ways to make your earrings as good as new ones, so keep reading to learn how to clean earrings efficiently.

a pair of earrings hanging from the slice of watermelon

Cleaning Your Earrings: The Why

Cleaning your earrings or polishing jewelry, in general, is something crucial that always seems to drop off our to-do lists. However, delaying it too long might actually cause ear sensitivity and irritation, especially if this jewelry is adorning a piercing (like earrings or nose rings) and not just worn (like a ring or a necklace). And even more so if the piercing is recent.

If you just got your ears pierced, you should be aware that recently-pierced ears are easily irritated and sensitive, so wearing a dirty earring could be a huge issue. 

Not to mention, earrings are the most likely to get dirty because they gather a lot of natural oils from your hair, along with hair products, perfumes, and even makeup. This mixture could really pile up and leave you with dirty earrings that are difficult to clean, especially the posts.

But cleaning your earrings isn’t something to take lightly because there are many factors to consider when doing it, like how dirty the earrings actually are, the metal they’re made of, and the cleaning materials that’ll work best. 

For example, if you use cotton pads or paper towels to scrub your earrings clean, you’ll notice that the earring isn’t actually getting any cleaner and that it’s just gathering lint or cotton residue.

So, to make your life a little easier, we’ve made this step-by-step guide on how to clean earrings.

a pair of earrings on the stone

Cleaning Your Earrings: The How

How you clean your earrings mostly depends on the type of earrings you have, whether it’s silver, gold, diamond, or even pearl earrings. So here’s how to clean each of them.

Cleaning Silver Earrings

The best cleaning method to clean sterling silver earrings is to use a silver wipe. As you might know, silver is sensitive to water and oxygen, and it can oxidize easily. So, make sure you’re using wipes that are specific to silver earrings.

Another method of cleaning silver earrings is to use warm water and baking soda. First, use tin foil to line your container, and make sure that the shiny side is facing upwards (touching the earrings).

Then, put in the earrings and add warm water and some baking soda to make a solution that’s on the thicker side. And if you want something extra to really clean the earrings, you can add in a few drops of hydrogen peroxide.

After soaking the sterling silver earrings for a while, take them out and rinse them with cold water, then pat them dry with a soft cloth.

silver hoop earrings

Cleaning Diamond and Gold Earrings

To clean diamond and gold earrings, you can use mild dish soap. Just make sure that the soap is color-and-fragrance-free, and you’ll be good to go.

To start cleaning your gold or diamond earrings, add a few drops of soap to a cup of hot water and soak the earrings in it until the water cools down.

Next, take out the earrings and use a soft, clean toothbrush or a soft cloth to gently brush away any dirt. After that, use a clean towel, a cotton ball, or a dry cloth to pat dry the earrings, and you’re all done.

For diamond earring cleaning (see also different earring settings here), you can also use DIY cleaning solutions containing dish soap, rubbing alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide.

a pair of vintage earrings

Cleaning Pearl Earrings

Pearls are quite sensitive, and harsh detergents might damage them, so you need to be real careful here. All you’ll need in the cleaning process is some warm water, mild dish soap, and a lint-free cloth. Also, it’s really important for the water not to be too hot or too cold, so keep that in mind.

To start cleaning, add a few drops of mild dish soap to the warm water and dip your cloth in the mixture. Then, use the damp cloth to gently wipe and clean the earrings. 

And never soak the pearls in the solution! Just wiping their surface with the cloth will be enough. And, of course, this applies to all your pearl jewelry, not just earrings.

Also, keep in mind that this method isn’t something you should often do. Rather, use a dry clean cloth for your regular weekly or bi-weekly cleaning, and leave the water and soap method to when your pearls need that deeper clean.

a pair of pearl earrings

Using an Ultrasonic Cleaner

An ultrasonic cleaner uses high-frequency ultrasound waves to remove any dirt from your earrings as well as other jewelry pieces you might have. And even though this jewelry cleaner machine is quite pricey, it’d be worth the investment if you have lots of jewelry that require regular cleaning.

This cleaner is perfect for deep cleaning your jewelry because the liquid and the ultrasound waves can remove any dirt or oil particles, no matter how small or how deep they’re hidden inside tiny crevices of the jewelry piece.

However, do make sure that ultrasonic cleaners can be used for your jewelry before investing in one.

silver earrings on the red surface

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Completely Sterilize Earrings?

Using store-bought cleaning solutions is the most straightforward way to get your earrings sterilized.

However, before going forward with this method, make sure your earrings don’t have any stones that shouldn’t be exposed to harsh chemicals like pearls, emeralds, and most gemstone earrings, except for diamonds.

To sterilize your earrings, simply wipe them down with an alcohol wipe. Another option is wiping the earrings down with a cotton pad or a cotton ball sprayed with a store-bought sterilizing solution, rubbing alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide also disinfects the earrings, so it’s a great option if the earrings are extra gunky or if it’s your first time cleaning them.

What Can I Soak My Earrings in to Clean Them?

Soak your earrings in a small cup with a cleaning solution of your choice for a few minutes. After that, take out the earrings and put them under warm or lukewarm water for a few minutes. Then, get a microfiber cloth or a soft cleaning cloth and gently scrub the earrings. Lastly, rinse your earrings and let them sit on a cloth to air dry.

a person cleaning the pearl earring

How Do I Clean My Daily Earrings?

Cleaning earrings don’t have to be complex or time-consuming; the easiest way to regularly clean your daily earrings is to use hot water. All you have to do is boil some water, then grab your earring pair and let them soak in hot water until it cools down.

If your earrings seem clean enough, you can stop here, but we recommend using a soft toothbrush to gently scrub away any dirt. However, make sure you’re not applying too much pressure lest you damage the earrings. 

Can You Use Vinegar to Clean Earrings?

Using white vinegar to clean gold earrings is a great and affordable method, but it’s unsuitable for most other metals and for gemstones. Also, note that it’s better to use white vinegar and not any other type to avoid any discoloration. 

So if you want to clean your gold earrings with vinegar, add a few drops of it to a cup of hot water and soak the earrings in the solution until the water cools down. Then take the earrings out and gently clean them with a soft brush. Then rinse your gold earrings and pat them dry.

How Many Times Should Earrings Be Cleaned?

Many people believe that you should clean your earrings after every use. However, this is not necessary as long as the earrings are made of a material other than gold or silver. People who wear earrings made from gold or silver should clean them once a week using an anti-tarnish solution and cloth.

a pair of shiny gold earrings

Final Words

We hope this article has helped you figure out how to bring your earrings back to life! Earrings are exposed to a lot of product residue, so it’s best to clean them regularly to avoid any skin issues.

Most earrings can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. You can also soak them in a cleaning solution then use a damp cloth to wipe them.

Another method that’ll work great in most cases is using hot water to soak your earrings until the water cools down, then grabbing a soft toothbrush and gently brushing away any dirt you see.

Lastly, hot water with a few drops of soap also works great for diamond and gold earrings.

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