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Earrings, Jewelry

How To Clean Earrings At Home 

By  Emily Konatella

LAST UPDATED - June 23, 2022

Earrings are a favorite accessory for many. They add the last touch of polish to every outfit, whether it's sparkly diamond earrings for an evening out or a steadfast pair of silver hoops for everyday wear.

Dirty earrings can look dingy and will not convey the right look when you wear them. So, you may wonder how to clean earrings to keep them in their prestigious condition? Below, we'll explain why it's important to keep earrings clean and how to do it.

Why Is It Important To Clean Earrings?

Earrings lose their shine over time as they come in contact with sweat, humidity, oils from your skin, and even hair products! These elements will not only dim your earrings but can even corrode them over time. Especially earring posts, they can accumulate and retain skin oil that helps yeast, bacteria, and fungus to overgrow.

Earrings also go into your body. Sure, your piercing is likely not an open wound anymore, but it's still a part of your body. It's also not regularly exposed to air. It's important to keep pierced ears clean and free from infection, and the most effective way to do so is by cleaning your earrings regularly!

Different Types Of Jewelry Cleaners

There are many types of jewelry cleaners available today. However, many of them use harsh chemicals to do the job. Over time, those chemicals can reduce the lifespan of your earrings. You can usually clean earrings with combinations of baking soda, water, dish soap, and a lint-free cloth - and we go into those methods further in this article. But if you need a deeper clean, don't feel like you have to buy a cleanser! You likely have a strong enough cleanser right in your pantry or medicine cabinet!

How To Clean Earrings With Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is perfectly useful for disinfecting cuts and polishing jewelry, and it's safe to use with sterling silver, gold, and diamonds. Simply soak your earrings in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes, then rinse and wipe dry with a soft cleaning cloth. Alternatively, you can dip a cotton ball, cotton pad, or q tip into the alcohol and use it to wipe the earring. You can also use pre moistened alcohol wipes!

Avoid rubbing alcohol with gemstone earrings, costume earrings, or any other earrings where the embellishments may be held on with glue. The alcohol will cause the glue to melt away.

How To Clean Earrings With Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide will also fully sanitize your earrings and is safe for sterling silver, gold, diamond, and costume jewelry. Leave your earrings to soak in hydrogen peroxide for 20 minutes, then rinse and dry.

How To Clean Earrings With Vinegar

Vinegar comes in a clutch if you have earrings that have started to turn green. Sometimes, earrings have zinc or copper added to them, and oil, sweat, and oxygen combine to turn those alloys green. To solve the problem, soak your earrings in vinegar for 20 minutes. Towards the end of the soak, use a soft toothbrush to gently brush away any remaining dirt, then rinse and dry.

How To Clean Earrings With Jewelry Cleaner Machine

If you don't feel like going to a professional cleaner to have your jewelry cleaned, it's worth investing in a jewelry cleaning machine. A jewelry cleaning machine is a low-effort way to clean your earrings and other jewelry thoroughly, and they are a great cleaning tool for cleaning earrings to get sparkly clean jewelry.

Cleaning Sterling Silver Earrings

It's unlikely that you have pure silver earrings in your jewelry box. Silver is a very soft metal and would be too malleable to use as jewelry. However, adding copper to silver lends it hardness and strength. This alloy is called sterling silver! The downside of the copper addition is that it reacts with oxygen and moisture to tarnish.

Daily Clean

To keep your sterling silver earrings sparkly bright, you'll need to clean them regularly. Ideally, it would be best if you cleaned them after each wear by rinsing them under warm water, drying them with a clean cloth, and brushing them with the grain. Don't let them air dry - they'll spot!

Some jewelers recommend holding your earrings in the steam of hot water to loosen any dirt and wipe with a microfiber cloth.

Deep Clean

Even with regular cleaning, your sterling silver earrings will need deep polishing from time to time. When you notice tarnishing, polish your earrings with a microfiber cloth. Don't use paper towels - they'll leave scratches! Be sure to rub using a back-and-forth motion, rubbing alongside the silver grain.

If your earrings look like they are still lackluster, you can boost your polishing power by making a baking soda paste. Mix two parts baking soda with one part warm water. Rub this paste onto your earrings, let it dry completely, then rinse and dry.

Cleaning Diamond Earrings

You may be nervous about cleaning precious gemstones such as diamonds, but they really aren't difficult to clean. Diamonds, in particular, are very strong. There is no concern about damaging the diamond if you use gentle cleansers that you can make at home. 

Daily Clean

Regular earring cleaning is essential to keep your earrings shining and leave you feeling clean. For regular cleaning, use the same routine as with sterling silver earrings. Rinse them under warm water and dry them with a clean cloth.

Deep Clean

Mix warm water and mild soap together, then set your diamond earrings to soak for 30 minutes. Use a clean toothbrush to gently wipe and scrub any stubborn dirt away towards the end of the soaking time. Then, rinse them with water and dry them with a cleaning cloth.

Cleaning Gold Earrings

Gold may be considered the most precious of metals, but gold jewelry is very easy to keep clean!

Daily Clean

To clean your gold regularly to maintain its shine, clean them in a solution of 10 parts lukewarm water and two parts dish soap.

Deep Clean

If your gold jewelry is looking a little dull, make a paste using baking soda, lukewarm water, and a small amount of salt. Soak your earrings in this cleaning solution for 10 minutes, then rinse them and pat dry. Don't use paper towels, or else your gold will scratch. And be sure not to let your gold earrings air dry - it will leave water spots!

If you're out of baking soda, you can also make a cleanser using warm water and dish soap. This cleaning method will require a 30-minute soak. For maximum cleaning, use a soft toothbrush to scrub your earrings clean. Then, as before, rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth.

Cleaning Pearl Earrings

Pearl earrings are often heirloom pieces and are timeless. However, the pearls themselves are soft, delicate, and easily damaged. They are prone to scratches and should be stored in fabric bags or felt-lined organizers. However, don't store them too long! Moisture may tarnish some metals, but pearls need moisture to keep them from drying out and cracking.

Daily Clean

Have a jewelry cloth nearby to give each pearl a polish after taking them off. Don't ever submerge pearl earrings fully in water, and let them dry completely before storing.

Deep Clean

Pearls don't tarnish as metals do, so you're unlikely to need to deep clean them. However, if you notice a stain on them when you remove them, use a damp cloth and mild dish soap to gently scrub the stain away. No matter the stain's stubbornness never put pearls in steam or ultrasonic cleaners.


About the author

Emily Konatella

Emily is a fashion consultant, designer and creative director with more than 15 years experience creating, designing and developing clothing & jewelry. From managing pageant shows to turning concepts into actual designs, she has experience with almost all fabric types and jewelry designs and is in touch with the latest fashion trends.

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