How to Clean Earrings: Easy And Quick Methods

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Earrings are a common addition to everyday fashion, so it’s no wonder that you have an array of them. Like other types of jewelry, they get dirty too, sometimes even more. To keep your earrings in their best state and for health reasons, you must know how to clean earrings well.

Unfortunately, if you are looking for a one-size-fits-all method, we hate to tell you that it does not exist. So, in this article, we’ll share the different methods to get rid of the grime stuck in your earrings, whatever material they are made of.

How to Clean Earrings of All Kinds 

There are different ways to clean your earrings based on the specific metal or the gemstones they include. We’ll outline the various cleaning methods for each kind of earring.

How to Clean Diamond Earrings

When dirt accumulates on your precious diamond earrings, they can lose their sparkle, which is bad news in our books. But, with a bit of care, using warm water and mild dishwashing liquid, you can get your earrings to look their best again.

Materials Needed

  1. Bowl
  2. Mild dishwashing liquid
  3. Soft cloth (optional)
  4. Mesh strainer (optional)


  1. Pour warm water into a bowl and add a few drops of mild dishwashing soap like Dawn.
  2. Put your diamond earrings into the mixture and leave to soak for 20 minutes.
  3. Move the earrings inside the water to loosen the dirt.
  4. Rinse the earrings with warm water. You can place the earring inside a fine mesh while rinsing. 

💡 Tip: If you do not have a mesh, you can rinse under running water but block the drain first.

  1. Pat dry with a soft cloth or leave to air dry.

You can use this method about once a month for an everyday earring. It’s also great for earrings you don’t wear often but notice are dulling.

How to Clean Gold Earrings

Gold earrings, whether gold-plated or gold-filled, can be cleaned using this method. One advantage of this method is that it simultaneously cleans and sterilizes your gold earring.

Materials Needed

  1. Rubbing alcohol
  2. Soft cloth
  3. Q-tip


  1. Put a few drops of rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth and Q-tip.
  2. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the gold earrings.
  3. Use a Q-tip to reach the small areas.
  4. Leave to air dry since it will dry clear.

While cleaning your gold earring, pay attention to the part that makes contact with your skin. That’s usually the area that dirt and grime get stuck in. 

How to Clean Sterling Silver Earrings

This cleaning method will restore the shine to your sterling silver earring, and it only takes a few minutes.

Materials Needed

  1. Bowl
  2. Baking soda
  3. Soft cloth


  1. Pour a tablespoon of baking soda into a bowl.
  2. Add a few drops of water to the baking soda and stir to form a paste.
  3. Apply the paste to the sterling silver earring.
  4. Rub the earring gently with a soft cloth.
  5. Rinse with warm water.
  6. Pat dry with a soft cloth.

💡 Tip: Use a Q-tip for hard-to-reach areas in your sterling silver earring.

Tips for Cleaning Stud Earrings 

Stud earrings are a staple and are one of the most popular styles of earrings

With their simple style, free from any form of dangling, they end up being everyday wear for most people. So, they accumulate dirt on the post, the back, and gemstone (if any). Here are tips on how to get rid of grime on your studs:

  • Rinse in a small bowl to prevent them from falling down the drain.
  • Pay attention to the earring back, where oil and sweat typically accumulate. 
  • Use a soft brush to get into smaller hard-to-reach parts.
  • Wipe down stud earrings made of gold, silver, and diamond to disinfect them. Do not use on pearl earrings.
  • Gently wipe down pearl earrings with a soft cloth.

How to Clean Polymer Clay Earrings

How to Clean Earrings: Easy And Quick Methods

Whether your polymer clay earrings are glazed or unglazed, you can use the same method to clean them. Simply get a soft, damp cloth and wipe down the earring thoroughly.

Tips for Cleaning Rusty or Tarnished Earrings

Gemstones like diamonds and pearls do not tarnish. They can last a lifetime with proper maintenance. 

Sterling silver and gold-plated jewelry items will tarnish when exposed to body oils, sweat, makeup, and other chemicals. Rusty earrings require deeper cleaning compared to mildly stained ones. Here’s a method that works.

Materials Needed

  1. Bowl
  2. Aluminum
  3. A tablespoon of baking soda
  4. A tablespoon of salt (optional)
  5. A cup of warm water


  1. Line the bowl with aluminum foil until it is completely covered.
  2. Add a tablespoon of salt and baking soda into the bowl.
  3. Pour a cup of warm water into the same bowl and stir till the mixture dissolves.
  4. Place your tarnished earring into the solution and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Remove your earrings from the mixture and rinse well with warm water.
  6. Pat dry with a microfiber cloth. 

💡 Tip: Ensure your earrings are completely dry before you store them away.

Another method is to purchase a gold or silver jewelry polishing cloth and use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It usually involves using one side of the cloth to loosen the tarnish and the other side to buff the jewelry.

How to Clean Pearl Earrings

Pearls are delicate and should be treated as such even while cleaning. Aside from the gunk on the earring backs, there might be visible stains on the pearl itself.  

Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe your earring thoroughly. Then, wipe again with a dry cloth and leave to air dry for a few minutes before storing away properly. 

Since pearls are soft and can be easily scratched, they should be stored separately from other pieces of jewelry in a soft pouch.

How to Clean Earrings After Piercing

Typically, you should not fiddle with the earring inserted after a new ear piercing

Instead, focus on caring for the piercing itself by directly spraying a sterile saline solution at least twice daily. After the solution sits for about two minutes, you can pat it dry with non-woven gauze.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions many people have about cleaning earrings.

Why do earring backs smell?

Earring backs smell because they accumulate dead skin cells, soaps, hair products, and body oil over time.

What is the gunk on my earrings?

The gunk on your earring is the normal build-up of body oil and other substance like hair products when you wear your earring for an extended period. 

What can I use to clean my earring holes?

You can use soap and water to clean your earring holes while having a shower. 

For a newly pierced hole, spray the sterile saline solution directly on the hole twice daily and dry with non-woven gauze.

How do you sterilize earrings at home?

You can sterilize earrings at home with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Simply dampen a soft cloth or cotton pad with either solution and use it to wipe down the earrings. 

💡 Caution: Do not use this method to sterilize pearls directly. You can only use it for the metal back.

How often should you clean earrings?

You can wipe down your earring with a soft cloth after each wear to immediately remove any oil or dirt. 

If it’s an everyday earring, you can choose to clean it properly once every month. For a pair of earrings you wear infrequently, you can clean them whenever you notice their shine has dulled.

Spick and Span

You may have earrings made from different metals and gemstones but there are methods to clean them safely. Knowing how to clean your earrings is beyond just restoring their shine but also disinfecting them to get reduce the bacteria present. 

You can do all the cleaning methods at home in under 30 minutes and many involve materials you already have in your pantry. While you’re armed with enough knowledge to get right into cleaning, make sure to use the correct method for the right kind of jewelry.

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