How to Disinfect Earrings

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Your earrings are the focal point of your accessorizing, and they can bring out the wow factor in your outfit as you’re impressing your audience during your presentation. Accessories like earrings accentuate your overall look, but grimey earrings can do the opposite.

Thankfully, there are ways to clean your earrings in the office right before that big presentation later in the day! Here are a couple of tricks you can easily do in your office to make sure your jewelry stays shiny throughout the day:

How to Disinfect Earrings using the Cleaners

The soaking method of cleaning earrings is the manual, yet effective way of removing the grime from your jewelry. This method involves soaking the earrings in a cleaning solution, or in rubbing alcohol, for extended periods of time so it is best not to use this method to clean costume jewelry made of rust-prone materials.

Step 1: Remove earrings

First thing's first - carefully remove your earrings. Earring studs may have rough, microscopic surfaces which can irritate your ear piercings when you move them around too much. For this reason, avoid moving your earrings back and forth, and do not use force to remove your earring studs. 

Remove your earrings over a tray or a solid surface where there is less chance of you losing a part of your earrings. If you have difficulties removing your earrings, as with the case of new piercings, use a bit of baby oil to allow the stud to glide off smoothly. 

Step 2: Wipe off excess gunk

Take a clean cloth and dip an end into some warm water to gently remove some of the visible gunk. Dirty earrings would have some green, black, or grey dirt to it, and would present a noticeable dullness to the surface. Wiping the earrings before soaking exposes the hidden dirt that will be lifted out later on.

Step 3: Fill a bowl with cleaning solution or rubbing alcohol

Fill a bowl with your preferred disinfecting solution: hydrogen peroxide, hot water and salt, dish soap, or rubbing alcohol would work well for most materials. Always check if your earrings are made with non-tarnishing materials like gold vermeil, titanium, or surgical steel.

If using hydrogen peroxide, you may opt to dilute the strength of the solution with equal parts water. Hydrogen peroxide is known to dissolve some gemstones, so check for the interaction between your gemstones and hydrogen peroxide. 

A good tell is when the solution starts to bubble at the gemstone once the earrings are placed in. If this reaction occurs, remove the earrings immediately, and rinse in cold water to stop the reaction. You may need to seal the stone with a protective coating to prevent further damage. 

With rubbing alcohol, beware of resin, clay, and plastic materials that can melt down in rubbing alcohol. Otherwise, you can safely allow earrings to soak in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes at a time to loosen the dirt and disinfect the earrings.

Also read: How to Disinfect a Couch

Step 4: Alternatively, shake up your earrings

Another effective and quick cleaning method is to shake up your earrings in a leak-proof container. You may use the same solution, but the movement of the earrings against the rush of the liquid dislodges dirt from deep within your earrings. This cleaning method is particularly useful for clustered gemstone earrings.

Add baking soda to your disinfecting solution to give a gentle scrubbing action. Fit your earrings in a leak-proof container filled with rubbing alcohol and baking soda. Give the container a good shake, and you'll be able to see dirt particles floating around the solution. 

Step 5: Brush off loosened dirt

Keep repeating the soaking or shaking method until you no longer see dirt floating around the solution. Afterwards, take a soft, small brush to scrub away any remaining dirt. The best brush to use to clean earrings is a soft, dental cleaning pick with bristles. 

Step 6: Wipe clean with a cotton ball

Finally, wipe the earrings clean with a cotton ball or cotton pad before placing back into your ear piercings. Make sure to properly dry the stud to avoid irritations with the disinfecting solution and your ear piercings. 

How to Disinfect Earrings using the Ultrasonic Method:

If you have an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, then you can use it to clean your earrings the same way you clean your rings. Professional jewelers use ultrasonic cleaners to completely clean their works before selling, and clean clients' jewelry as well.

Step 1: Set up your ultrasonic jewelry cleaning device

An ultrasonic jewelry cleaning device will deep clean your earrings using ultrasonic waves that will create bubbles to lift the dirt away from every nook and cranny of your jewelry piece. This is the ideal cleaning method for clustered earrings, diamond earrings, and gold earrings. 

However, it is not recommended to use ultrasonic cleaning to remove the gunk from soft gemstone earrings such as pearls, opal stones, and emeralds. Always set up your device with the basket to keep the earrings from direct contact with the transducer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to properly use the device.

Step 2: Use a biodegradable, non-toxic solution

There are plenty of ultrasonic solutions that guarantee a thorough clean of your jewelry, but for the best clean, look for biodegradable and non-toxic solutions that do not have ammonia or bleach in it. These solutions are safer than harsh, chemical disinfectants.

Step 3: Run the device

Run the device, and plop in your jewelry. Make sure to place your earrings in the included basket, and not directly on the transducer for the full cleaning effect of the device. When in doubt, check the manufacturer's instructions. Do not let the earrings stick to each other.

Step 4: Let the device clean for 3-5 minutes

Let the device run to clean your earrings. You should see tiny bubbles, as well as a cloud of dirt forming around your earrings. Let the device clean earrings properly, which will take around 3-5 minutes depending on your device.

Step 5: Allow the dirt to settle

Shut off the machine, and allow the dirt to settle to the bottom before removing your earrings. Do not mix the solution or remove your earrings as the dirt may settle back into your jewelry. 

Step 6: Rinse with cold water

Rinse both the basket and your earrings with cold water, and take proper measures to store your device according to the manufacturer's instructions. You may use a soft brush to gently scrub out any remaining dirt. 

Step 7: Dry your earrings

Take a clean cloth and dry your earrings. Go over the stud and stones with a soft cloth, and your earrings are now deep cleaned! 

Cleaning Pierced Ears

If you have ear piercings, you'll need to clean your earring hole as well. The best way to do so is to take a clean towel and dip one end in warm water. This will loosen the dirt and relax your skin, as well as remove any natural oils. 

Take some diluted hydrogen peroxide or alcohol and place some in a small bowl. Melt some soy wax or beeswax, and dip one end of a thread into the melted wax, allowing it to solidify in a straight line. Dip the entire thread in the disinfectant, and loop the thread into your ear piercings using the waxed end as a guide.

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