How to Clean and Disinfect Earrings like a Professional Jeweller

Gold earrings, silver earrings and even diamond earrings can lose their shine after consistent wear. Plus, earrings are a jewellery staple that need regular disinfecting for obvious reasons. While a professional jewellery cleaner can provide this service for you, learning how to clean your earrings at home will likely save you some precious time and allow you to set some cash aside for another purchase. Another pair of luxury earrings, perhaps?

In this blog, we'll walk through how to clean earrings of all kinds from pearl earrings to gold earrings and more. We'll also talk about improving the appearance of studs as well as getting rid of that all-important dirt so you can rest easy knowing your earrings are 100% clean and safe to wear.

How to Effectively Clean All Types of Earrings

While jewellery cleaning is do-able at home, you need to be aware that cleaning jewellery is complex, depending on the surface you're working with. 

Diamond, gold, silver and pearls are all different types of materials with varying properties and reactions to substances. As such, you'll need to clean your various types of earrings differently, rather than adopt the same approach for every pair. 

Sound complicated? Just follow the instructions set out below.

Pearl: To clean pearl earrings, you'll need to be quite cautious isolating the pearl front from the metal back. You can't immerse pearl earrings in water as soaking them will weaken the material. To remove dirt, you'll need to use a disinfectant on the metal back and a paste-like mixture on the front. To create a paste, you should take a jewellery cleaner and add a drop of water to form a thick solution you can apply with a small, soft-bristled brush or toothbrush. This method can also clean gemstone earrings or costume earrings that have various elements. If in doubt, use this isolated method as it doesn't require earrings to come into contact with water or harsh chemicals to get clean.

Silver: Silver earrings are perhaps the easiest to clean with plenty of dedicated products that promise to clean silver. Silver polish or polish wipes will work wonders on sterling silver and pure silver earrings, without needing to soak in water or be too careful about where you're applying the solution. With silver polish, you can get into the grooves of the metal-back using a clean cloth and create a high shine. Ideally, you should use a microfiber cloth that will be gentle on the silver surface. Microfibre is also ideal for leaving silver without any streaks or fibres.  With wipes, you can perform a quick clean, but you should commit to a deep clean every month or so.

Gold: As we noted in our previous home cleaning jewellery guide, gold is a material that will often tarnish and show signs of discolouration just like silver, yet it's more sensitive to cleaning. You must soak gold earrings in warm water mixed with a couple of drops of jewellery cleaner to form a gentle sanitizing solution. You'll then need to place your gold earrings into the bowl and leave them to soak for ten to fifteen minutes. This solution will work its way into those hard-to-reach places without using any abrasive products. 

Diamond: Cleaning gold and diamond earrings are similar, as both require a soapy hot water bath to remove grime and bacteria. In this sense, the cleaning method is practically identical except for the fact you can feel a little more confident to swill your diamond earrings and manhandle their surface to inspect whether they're clean enough. You can finish off cleaning diamond earrings by swiping any residue off with a cotton pad or soft towel.

How to Disinfect Earrings

You shouldn't only aim to remove visible dirt from earrings; you'll also need to remove grime that's difficult to see such as grease and oil that's built up. 

Piercings can easily become infected if your body jewellery isn't disinfected with a cleaning solution that strips the surface of body oils, beauty products and hair products and any other bit of gunk that ends up in the crevices of your earring backs.

Rubbing Alcohol: An easy solution is rubbing alcohol such as you might use in first aid to disinfect the earring back. Take a cotton ball, toothpick or a q-tip to apply the alcohol with care. These types of cleaning agents are used during ear piercing, proving they effectively remove invisible grime, leaving the area clean and clear.

Vinegar: Although we tend to steer clear of cleaning hacks that involve household items like baking soda or toothpaste, using vinegar as a disinfectant is Frost of London-approved. Apply this much in the same way as you would rubbing alcohol focusing on the backs of your earrings that commonly contain grooves and pick up residue from shampoo, conditioner and lotions. To avoid leaving a vinegar scent on your favourite pair of earrings, you should quickly rinse with cold water before use.

Hydrogen Peroxide: For some serious disinfecting action, you should turn to hydrogen peroxide. This clear liquid is a chemical compound and you should handle it with care. With that said, as a bleaching agent and antiseptic, you can count on this substance to do the trick. Hydrogen peroxide will irritate the skin if it comes into direct contact with it, so for this method make sure to pop on a pair of latex gloves to protect the hands and fingers and thoroughly rinse off the liquid before wearing.

How to Restore Earring Shine

Once earrings are clean and disinfected, you should take the time to give them thirty seconds of TLC, so they feel and look good. 

They say diamonds last forever, but their shine will only prevail with a bit of love and attention. 

Buff earrings with a dry cloth: With a clean cloth, make quick, circular buffing motions on the surface of your earrings to remove any water stains or leftover dirt. Think of your clean earrings as you would a mirror that requires a little bit of post-cleaning attention to get that ultimate sparkle.

Always use circular motions: Never swipe up and down, left and right when attempting to shine your pearl, diamond, gold or silver earrings. These motions will leave you with streaks on your clean earrings and will probably cause you to put too much pressure on your jewellery. The best jewellery cleaning techniques are similar to household cleaning when you might buff your car's alloy or handbag's hardware. You'll need to work in circular motions to avoid scratching and encourage shine.

Regularly dust-off earrings: Using a dry cloth or cotton pad, you'll want to dust-off earrings after every use to prevent build-up. You can do this without water or any solution, as a small step in-between deep cleaning sessions. Ultimately, this will mean you won't need to clean your earrings as often while they remain the shiniest part of your collection.

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