Home » How to Clean Ear Piercing? Tips for Complete Care

How to Clean Ear Piercing? Tips for Complete Care

Ear piercings are nothing new; in fact, they have been a vital part of understanding human history. The practice of ear piercing can be easily traced back 5000 years to the ancient Egyptian civilization. And even during the Middle Ages, folklore can be found describing the positive effect an ear piercing has on someone’s hearing. So, it would not be a stretch of the imagination to conclude that ear piercings have been a vital part of our history.

But in recent years, they have started to regain some of their popularity. There are many reasons why that is the case, but general societal acceptance is one main reason. Another reason is debunking several arguments that state how unsafe ear piercings are. That is not something utterly inaccurate as ear piercings are entirely safe for one to modify their body. One only requires an experienced professional to do the piercing process. DO NOT try to do the piercing yourself at home, as it is something that should be avoided at all costs. This way, they would avoid any complications that may arise.

But before one goes and books a session with the professional, there are a couple of things they need to consider. So, do read them carefully before getting an ear-piercing.

What Does one Need to Know Before Getting an Ear Piercing?

Getting an ear piercing might seem an easy enough task, and it actually is. But that does not mean one does not have to do some appropriate research regarding the same. First, what are the available options for one interested in ear piercing?

What Does one Need to Know Before Getting an Ear Piercing
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You might not know this, but there are actually three different types of ear piercing that 0ne can get. These are earlobe piercing, Helix piercing, and Tragus piercing. Their names are pretty evident of what they stand for.

Earlobe piercing: This is the standard go-to ear piercing that many opt for. As the name suggests, it is an ear-piercing at the bottom of your ear.

Helix piercing: Helix is the curvy tissue at the very top of the ear and makes for an excellent piercing spot

Tragus piercing: Tragus is right above the earlobe and in front of the ear canal. There is some anecdotal evidence suggesting its use in combating anxiety and migraine.

There are three types of ear piercing that are common. If you are someone that does not have any prior piercing experience, these are all that you should stick to.

Additionally, one must also ensure that the piercing parlor they have placed their booking at is reputable and follows proper health guidelines. This is crucial to ensure that you won’t be at risk of getting an infection during the piercing process.

Now, without further ado, onto how to clean Ear Piercing.

How to Properly Clean Ear Piercing?

The below-mentioned steps will help you know how to clean ear piercings properly. Let’s have a look at points that make sense.

#1. Wash your Hand Thoroughly

Wash your Hand Thoroughly
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The first thing one needs to do to clean their ear piercing is washing their hands properly. It is an essential part of the process. Your hand could easily contain various bacteria, and your piercing is quite susceptible to it. In the end, it is an open wound, which requires some time for it to heal correctly. But during that time, it is quite vulnerable to infection. The smartest thing you can do is never touch your ear piercing or even your jewelry with dirty hands. Wash it with a disinfectant beforehand.

#2. Use of Cotton Ball

Use of Cotton Ball
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It is pretty standard for some scabs to deposit on ear-piercing jewelry. It is simply a fact and has nothing much to do. But one thing you should not do is pick at the scab. It could quickly reopen the ear-piercing wound, and you surely would not want that. No, what you need to do is use a saturated cotton ball with warm water. Simply saturate a cotton ball with warmth and use it to wipe away the jewelry gently. It does not only work, but it is also safer.

#3. Apply a Generous Amount of Unscented Liquid

Apply a Generous Amount of Unscented Liquid
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The best way to clean an ear piercing is by using unscented soap. One needs to put a generous unscented soap on their fingertips and then apply it to the piercing site and jewelry. It is vital that one gets the soap everywhere in and around the piercing. Although, you certainly do not need to move your jewelry for the same.

One can also remove the jewelry altogether, especially if they feel that it could introduce bacteria or infection through the open wound. Simply remove the jewelry and clean it separately.

#4. Time to Rinse

Once you have correctly washed the piercing and jewelry separately, the next thing to do is to rinse them. You might need to rinse the piercing and ear jewelry several times with warm water, which is completely alright. It is essential that you remove any residue from the soap from the jewelry and the ear-piercing before wearing it again.

#5. Finally, Dry the Piercing With a Clean Paper Towel

Lastly, we have the drying process, and the best way to do this is by using a clean paper towel. Just simply and carefully dry your piercing with a clean paper towel and then dispose of it. It is recommended that you do not use any towel as it may contain bacteria, ultimately leading to infection.

Products you Can and Cannot Use to Clean Ear Piercing

While it is advised that one use standard soap and warm water to clean their ear piercing, it is not something that is set in stone. There are several products in the market that one can use for the very same purpose. These products would not clean the piercing thoroughly, but they would also speed up the healing process.

Products that you Can Use

  • Emu Oil: Emu oil consists of fatty acids, which ultimately help in reducing the inflammation of the area and pain one might be feeling. It is widely accepted in the piercing community as a universal healing product, especially for new piercings.
  • H2Ocean: It is a sea salt saline solution and is often used on the affected area.
  • Saline Solution: It is recommended for soothing and healing the new piercing. It is also one of the less expensive solutions readily available in the market.
  • Ointments: One can also use a variety of ointments to clean ear piercings. One only needs to be careful and avoid any anti-bacterial products for the cleaning as they are unnecessary unless the wound is infected.

 Products That you Cannot Use

Unlike the previous products that you can use to substitute soap and water to clean your piercing, the following products should be avoided at all costs.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Using a hydrogen peroxide solution to clean your piercing is not intelligent. Hydrogen Peroxide kills bacteria, but it also combats the white blood cells as well. The same white blood cells are responsible for the healing of the piercing wound. So, it is obvious why they should be avoided at all costs as it would extend the wound healing time. Additionally, Hydrogen Peroxide irritates as well.
  • Rubbing Alcohol: Alcohol is usually an excellent cleaning agent, but that is not the case with the piercing wound. It is used to disinfect the wound, but that is not required unless you suspect your piercing wound is infected. Additionally, rubbing alcohol over the piercing wound could dry the skin and irritate the raw piercing.
  • Glycoside: Now, it might be possible that you have not even heard of this product, and it is completely fine. The only thing you need to know about it is that you should not use it to clean your piercing wound. Reason? Well, because it contains a large amount of hydrogen peroxide, which would obviously hinder your healing process rather than help it.
  • Eye Care solutions: Another product that you should shy away from when it comes to healing and cleaning ear piercings is eye care solutions. These solutions also contain hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and other harmful chemicals that will indeed aggravate your piercing wound.

Simply avoid the products on the do not use the list to clean your ear piercing, and you will be fine.

Tips that Will Help You in Cleaning Your Ear Piercing

While clean piercing seems like an easy enough process, and it actually is, it could become a hassle if one is not careful. The first couple of weeks after getting a piercing is crucial as, during that period, the wound is highly vulnerable to infection. Here are some tips that will help you clean your ear piercing.

#1. Make it a Habit

Make it a Habit
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Cleaning a piercing could quickly become an afterthought, especially for folks with a busy lifestyle. But one simply cannot afford to do that. That is why the smart thing to do would be to make cleaning the piercing an everyday habit. And the easiest way you can do that is if you make it a part of your daily routine.

Have you ever forgotten to brush your teeth or take a shower? The answer would most likely be no. You need to make cleaning the ear-piercing a part of your daily schedule. Just start doing your cleaning simultaneously as the activities mentioned earlier, and it will quickly become a part of your everyday routine.

#2. Wash your Hands

 It would help if you ensured that your hands were clean with anti-bacterial soap before cleaning your ear piercing. It would be best to make it a habit of not unnecessarily interacting with your ear piercing or the jewelry in the said ear piercing.

Our hands touch hundreds if not thousands of different surfaces every day and can quickly become a source of bacterial transmission if one is not careful. And an open wound, as in the case of an ear-piercing, is an infection waiting to happen. So, washing your hands is something you need to keep in mind.

#3. Do not Use your Everyday Towel to Clean your Piercing

 A common mistake observed in folks who get their first ear piercing is that they use their everyday towel or face wash towel to clean their piercing. This is something you should avoid at all costs. Instead, a disposable cotton pad or a swab should be used.

#4. Dab the Piercing

Your piercing might seem strong enough to you, but it is not, especially during the initial healing stage. During the cleaning, it is vital that one only dabs the cotton pad on the piercing rather than wiping it. Wiping the piercing could easily damage the piercing, which would obviously extend the healing period.

#5. Avoid any Scented Soap

Avoid any Scented Soap
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Using a soap bar to clean ear piercing is usually advisable, but not if it is a scented soap. It is essential that one ensures that the soap they are using for the cleaning purpose is unscented. This is because scented soaps have added ingredients on top of it; several of them could be harmful to the piercing wound. The smart thing to do is simply use an unscented antiseptic soap with warm water.

#6. Clean the Piercing Area Whenever you Take Out the Jewelry

Now, if you might be thinking that cleaning the pierced area every day in the morning is good enough, then you are wrong. It would be best to do this every time you take your piercing out. There is simply no getting around, especially during the first couple of weeks when the piercing wound is still fresh enough. This is because bacteria can easily set on the surface of the jewelry, with you being none the wiser about it.

#7. Do Not Clean the Piercing in the Bathroom

One should not clean their ear piercing in bathrooms, not the public ones, and even at home. Even the cleanest of bathrooms could have a high level of bacteria in place, something that one needs to be particularly careful of. So, it would be best to avoid using bathrooms for cleaning for at least a couple of weeks.

#8. Do Not Sleep in the Pierced Area

Another thing you need to make some changes to after getting an ear piercing is the way you sleep. It is simply not a smart idea for one to sleep or lie down on their piercing for a long time. This is because it could result in the piercing trapping the moisture and bacteria in the area, increasing the chances of infection. Now, this is something one does not want.

#9. Avoid Using Hair or Body Products

Avoid Using Hair or Body Products
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Hair and body products could easily have an adverse impact on the ear-piercing area. Whether using bathing soap, shampoo, pomade, and even gel, it would be best to avoid using it near the pierced area. These products could easily irritate the tissue that is healing and cause inflammation.

#10. Look Out for Any Abnormal Discharge

Look Out for Any Abnormal Discharge
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You need to be extremely careful of a couple of things during the piercing period. First, whether or not the wound is appropriate and there is no undue pressure being put on the piercing. And the second is to notice whether there is any kind of unusual discharge coming from the piercing. This is usually a sign of infection, and it would be better if you connect with your doctor immediately if such is the case.

FAQ’s About Ear Piercings

When it comes to ear piercing and its cleaning, there is a lot of misinformation out there, especially online. Naturally, it is something that should be rectified. Here are some commonly asked questions about ear piercings answered by experts.

Q. How Long does it Take for an Ear Piercing to Heal Completely?

Ans. It is an excellent question that is quite often asked by folks who are not as familiar with piecing as others. And it is also related to the topic of cleaning as well, as, during the healing phase, one needs to be extra careful about the piercing cleaning. And the answer is – it depends.

Generally, a piercing healing would take about a month or two to heal completely, but that is only true for earlobe piercing. Such is not the case with either Helix piercing or Tragus piercing. Those ear piercings could easily take up to 6 months or even a year to fully heal. So, naturally, this is something you need to keep in mind before getting an ear-piercing.

Q. When Can one Change out Their Piercing Jewelry?

 Ans. It is another question that is often asked in the piercing community. And the answer is again dependent on the healing of the ear piercing. Naturally, one would want to experiment with the jewelry design and their ear-piercing. Still, it would be best to wait till the piercing is completely healed. One can alternatively ask their piercer the very same question. After examining the area, they would be able to give you a better idea of when you can change your piercing jewelry.

Q. How Can One Tell Whether the Piercing is Infected or Not?

Ans. Naturally, this is an essential question that needs to be answered. An infected piercing is simply not a piece of good news for anybody. That is why one needs to check for the symptoms of an infected piercing regularly.

Here are some of the typical symptoms that can be found in the case of piercing infection.

Arching or throbbing pain around the pierced area, in this case, the ear
Swelling of the piercing
Redness of the pierced ear
Constant and unrelenting itchiness
Abnormal discharge from the pierced area, typically yellow or whitish

These are just some of the more common symptoms of piercing infection. And in case you are experiencing any of them, it would be best to reach out to your doctor immediately.


Ear piercing has become quite common nowadays. They are pretty easy to get and do not require one to do much planning beforehand. But that does not mean that one does not need to take good care of them. Consistent care and cleaning are essential if one wants to avoid infection or any kind of tissue damage, which might result in them losing their piercing altogether.

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!