Earrings are pretty on the surface but a closer look will tell you a different story. These dainty ornaments collect more grime, grease and goop than other pieces of jewellery. It’s easy to see why. They are exposed to everything on you and around you all the time.
Muck from sweat, natural body oils, makeup, creams, hair spray, shampoo and soap residue collects in the grooves. Grease and dirt from unwashed fingers are another reason for the goop. Sometimes, the muck is visible. Sometimes, it is not. Bacteria buildup is hard to spot but it’s easy for pierced ears to catch infections from unclean earrings. But cleaning them with harsh, abrasive cleaners dulls the sparkle and shine. Not cleaning them can also cause discolouration and potential infection. So what do you do?
The trick is to keep them clean using the right products. Here’s how:
Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)
A little baking soda can bring back the shine in minutes.
- Sprinkle a teaspoon on the earrings.
- When the earrings start bubbling, soak them in a small bowl of clean water for 30 minutes or an hour.
- Rinse in warm water. Dry well with a soft microfiber cloth.
Hydrogen Peroxide (Rubbing Alcohol)
Before you try on earrings, even new ones at home, it’s a wise idea to wipe them with a disinfectant first. You never know if someone has tried them before you did at the shop.
- Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and water before you start cleaning your earrings to avoid germs from your fingers getting transferred to your earrings or ear-holes.
- Use an alcohol-based gel to sterilize your hands properly.
- Cleaning solutions are available in many jewellery stores but there are cheaper ways to clean them.
- Rubbing alcohol, also known as hydrogen peroxide is a hygienic way to disinfect your earrings. It doesn’t wash away easily and evaporates instead so there is no fear of any reactions on sensitive skin.
- Never use alcohol on delicate pearls or emeralds. Concentrated chemicals, even cleaning solutions like hydrogen peroxide can cause reactions on sensitive skin.
- A concentration level of 3 to 6% is safe for cleaning jewellery. Solutions that are above 30% in concentration can be harsh on your skin.
- Avoid removing your dirty earrings directly with your fingers. Wear gloves first.
- Pour the cleaning solution on a clean cotton pad. Carefully dab your earrings with it, with special attention of the metal back that holds it in place.
- Use a soft toothbrush to clean and a toothpick to reach hard to reach spots.
- Let it stand for a few minutes so it kills any germs, wipe clean the earrings with a soft cloth or microfiber cloth, wash them under warm tap water. Let them air dry.
How to Clean Earrings with Gemstones
Gemstone studded earrings need more gentle care. Rubbing them hard can wedge off the tiny gemstones or ruin the intricate filigree.
- Gently submerge them in the cleaning alcohol for about five to ten minutes.
- Another alternative is to submerge them in gin. It loosens the dirt that sticks between the tiny crevices.
- Use a clean, soft toothbrush to scrub away the grease.
- Wash off under warm running water and wipe them clean with a cotton pad.
- Diamonds and gemstones can also be cleaned with simple dish soap or toothpaste and warm water.
- Apply with a soft toothbrush, rinse under warm water and let dry.
- If the earrings have not been cleaned in several years, leave them in the cleaning solution for about 12 hours before rinsing off and drying.
- You can also use a hair blow dryer to dry more expensive earrings.
Rain City Jewellers, Vancouver
At Rain City Jewellers, we are experts in hand-crafted jewellery, beautiful engagement rings, earrings and wedding rings. For high-quality gemstone or sterling silver earrings at competitive prices for yourself or someone special, check out our sparkling collection.