Jewelry Care 101: How to Disinfect Earrings

Disha is a writer by profession and passion. She recently completed her post-graduate in…

Keeping your jewelry clean is essential, but with earrings, it’s not just about appearances. Piercing holes are sensitive, so preventing dirt and germs from getting trapped in your earrings is crucial. In addition, regularly sanitizing your accessories ensures they look good, germ-free, and safe to wear.

If you’re curious about how to disinfect earrings, you’re in the right place. This guide explains disinfecting new, old, gold, sterling silver, and diamond earrings. We’re also answering common questions on how to keep your earrings clean and safe to wear.

Should you clean new earrings before wearing them?

new earrings in hand


It’s important to sanitize any new earrings, even if you’ve had your ears pierced for years. New earrings might have bacteria, dirt, or other contaminants on the surface left from the manufacturing process or handling during packaging.

How to disinfect new earrings 

Here’s how you can disinfect your brand-new earrings. 

Materials Needed

  • Mild soap
  • Water 
  • Bowl
  • Clean, lint-free cloth


  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to avoid transferring bacteria to the earrings.
  2. Create a soap solution with warm water in a bowl.
  3. Soak the earrings in the solution for a few minutes.
  4. Rinse the earrings thoroughly under running water to remove any soap or cleaning agent residue.
  5. Pat the earrings dry with a clean, lint-free cloth. 

How to disinfect old earrings

Disinfected earrings


Disinfecting old earrings can be a little time-consuming because of the dirt and debris accumulated on the surface of the jewelry over the years. Here’s how you can clean and disinfect your old and precious earrings. 

Materials Needed

  • Jewelry cleaner or other cleaning agents like hydrogen peroxide/rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Lint-free cloth


  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Remove any visible dirt or debris from the earrings by gently wiping them with a clean cloth.
  3. If using jewelry cleaner, follow the instructions on the packaging carefully. Some cleaners may require you to dilute the solution with water.
  4. If you’re using rubbing alcohol, soak a cotton ball in the alcohol and wipe down the earrings, making sure to cover all surfaces.
  5. Mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water in a small bowl if using hydrogen peroxide. Soak the earrings for a few minutes.
  6. After soaking, gently scrub the earrings with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove dirt or grime.
  7. Rinse the earrings thoroughly under warm running water to remove residue.
  8. Pat the earrings dry with a clean, lint-free cloth. 
  9. If necessary, use a jewelry polishing cloth to give the earrings their shine.
  10. Store your disinfected earrings in a safe, clean place, like a jewelry box or pouch.

How to disinfect gold earrings

You don’t always need a professional to clean or disinfect your gold earrings. Instead, you can save time and money by doing it yourself. Use this technique to clean your yellow, white, and rose gold earrings. 

Materials Needed 

  • Mild soap or dishwashing liquid
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Lint-free cloth


  1. Prepare a bowl of warm water and add a few drops of mild soap or dishwashing liquid to create a solution. 
  2. Place your gold earrings into the solution and let them soak for around 20 minutes to loosen any dirt or grime.
  3. Remove the earrings from the solution and rinse them thoroughly with cold water to remove all traces of soap residue.
  4. Lay the earrings flat on a soft, clean, and dry cloth or towel. Allow them to air dry completely before wearing or storing.
  5. For stubborn dirt or debris in hard-to-reach areas, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the earrings gently.
  6. Store your clean and dry earrings in a safe, secure place, like a jewelry box or pouch.

💡 Take Note: Avoid using this method for gold earrings that use adhesive to secure stones in place since the alcohol can melt the glue.

How to disinfect sterling silver earrings 

Before and after image of earrings - Jewelry Care 101: How to Disinfect Earrings


Disinfect your sterling silver earrings using these steps:

Materials Required

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Bowl
  • Lint-free cloth


  1. Mix half a cup of white vinegar with two tablespoons of baking soda in a small bowl. Stir the mixture until the baking soda dissolves.
  2. Place your sterling silver earrings into the bowl, fully submerging them in the solution.
  3. Allow the earrings to soak in the solution for two to three hours. During this time, the vinegar and baking soda will react and gently lift any dirt, grime, or tarnish from the surface of the earrings.
  4. Remove the earrings from the solution and rinse them thoroughly with water.
  5. Dry the earrings completely using a clean cloth or towel. Buff them gently to remove any remaining residue.
  6. Store your clean earrings in a safe and secure place, like a jewelry box or pouch, to prevent damage.

How to disinfect diamond earrings

Disinfect your precious diamond earrings the right way with these steps:

Materials required 

  • Hydrogen peroxide 
  • Bowl
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Lint-free cloth


  1. Prepare a container big enough to hold your diamond earrings.
  2. Pour the hydrogen peroxide halfway into the container.
  3. Carefully place your diamond earrings in the solution.
  4. Allow the earrings to sit in the solution for at least 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can leave them overnight for better results.
  5. After soaking, use a soft brush to scrub the earrings to remove any dirt or tarnish gently.
  6. Rinse the earrings thoroughly with clean water to remove any remaining solution or dirt.
  7. Place the earrings on a clean, flat surface and pat them dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  8. Store your diamond earrings safely.

💡 Take Note: While these methods effectively disinfect your earrings, some microorganisms may still inhabit your jewelry. If you’re concerned about this, consider using a UV disinfecting device.

Consider investing in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner that uses microscopic-level waves to remove buildup from the surface without damaging the metal or stones for a deeper sterilizing process.

Frequently asked questions

Gold plated earrings


If you still have concerns about disinfecting your earrings, here are answers to common questions.

How do you disinfect used earrings?

Dip a cotton ball or pad into a small amount of rubbing alcohol, then gently wipe your earrings thoroughly. Pay attention, especially to parts of your earrings that come into direct contact with your ear, like the backs and posts. 

This method is ideal for solid gold or platinum jewelry with diamonds, rubies, or sapphires. However, using a gentler solution like warm water and salt is essential for other types of stones.

Can I soak my earrings in rubbing alcohol?

Soaking earrings in rubbing alcohol is one of the most common and easiest ways of disinfecting jewelry. However, you should avoid this method if your earrings use any adhesive that holds the stone in place.

What is the best way to clean earrings?

One of the best ways to clean your earrings is by leaving them in a soap solution for about 20 minutes. This method is popular since mild soap or liquid dishwashing soap is accessible, making it a convenient way to clean your jewelry pieces.

💡 Take Note: Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as they can damage the jewelry.

Can I soak my earrings in hydrogen peroxide?

Absolutely. You can fully immerse your earrings in hydrogen peroxide for 5-10 minutes to remove any fibers or cotton stuck in the nooks of your earrings. Remember to rinse them thoroughly after soaking, then place them on a clean, dry cloth to air dry.

Say hello to clean and safe earrings

We hope our guide has helped you learn how to disinfect earrings. You can use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, hot water, or a soapy solution. Following the proper cleaning and sanitization methods will keep your earrings sparkly and free from harmful bacteria or germs.

💎 You should know: We use affiliate links throughout our site. This means we may earn a cent or two when you make a purchase on our site. Thanks for adding to our shine.