three body jewelry hoops

When it comes to piercing care, we talk a lot about keeping the piercing itself clean and protecting it against infection-causing microorganisms. However, keeping your jewelry clean is just as imperative when taking care of your piercing.

While infections in healed piercings are rare, bacteria can still cause issues in years-healed piercings. Furthermore, all piercings excrete discharge made up of dead skin cells that gather in your piercing. If you fail to clean your piercing and your jewelry throughout the life of your piercing, things can get pretty nasty.

It’s important to take care of your body, and when you have body piercings, this includes keeping your jewelry clean. Here’s everything you need to know about cleaning and taking care of your body jewelry.

How often should I clean my body jewelry?

While you don’t have to clean your jewelry as often as you clean your underwear, chances are that you need to be cleaning your body jewelry more often than you are now.

You should clean your body jewelry every time you change it out. When you take a new piece out of your jewelry box, before inserting it, you should clean it. Dust particles, bacteria from your hands, and any debris that might have settled on your jewelry needs to be cleaned.

a man thinking

If you have to think hard about the last time you washed your jewelry, then it’s definitely overdue.

You should also always clean new jewelry before you put it in for the first time. You don’t know where it’s been or how often it’s been handled, so it’s best to be safe and start out clean.

If you’re the type to just wear one jewelry piece without ever changing it, you should still remove it and clean it every few weeks. You’ve likely touched the jewelry with your hands, leaving bacteria behind, and there can be buildup of dead skin cells (or plaque in oral piercings) that needs to be cleared away.

Besides hygiene, jewelry can become discolored and a little gross if it isn’t properly taken care of. Since you wear it every day, you might not notice the change, but someone else probably will; you don’t want the septum piercing that you’re super proud of to become the metaphorical zit that others can’t look away from.

How do I clean my body jewelry?

Cleaning your body jewelry is actually quite simple. Using antibacterial hand soap and warm, running water, gently wash the jewelry with your hands for around 2 – 3 minutes. Afterwards, make sure that it’s fully rinsed of the antibacterial soap and let it dry on a clean paper towel.

washing hands

Washing your jewelry isn’t much different than washing your hands.

If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your jewelry, you might see some buildup, especially if there’s threading. In this case, you might need to boil the jewelry to loosen any debris. However, do not boil jewelry with gemstones or acrylic jewelry.

Do not use chemicals like rubbing alcohol to clean your jewelry. This could discolor it or otherwise ruin the jewelry.

You can use a soft-bristle brush to clean difficult areas, but you must be sure to be incredibly careful so that you don’t scratch the jewelry. A brush should only be used to clean the threading or other crevices.

Can I use this method to clean shared jewelry pieces?

It is possible to wear used jewelry, whether if passed down from someone or bought from a friend, but the antibacterial cleaning method listed above is not good enough for shared pieces.

Before wearing the used jewelry, you need to make sure that it’s fully autoclave sterilized. An autoclave sterilizer uses steam and pressure to completely kill all of the bacteria found on the jewelry, while antibacterial soap will only kill most of the bacteria.

You can get jewelry autoclaved by taking it to your local piercer. They should have one on hand, and it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

How do I clean my gold body jewelry?

The above methods are approved for gold body jewelry, but you should keep in mind that gold is a softer metal, so it will be more susceptible to scratches. Therefore, you should only use a very soft-bristle brush if absolutely necessary. It’s better to use your hands or a soft cloth instead.

Four diamond seamless rings by FreshTrends
Shown: Four Diamonds, Three Diamonds, Two Diamond, and Single Diamond Seamless Rings by FreshTrends

You want to make sure that your gold body jewelry lasts a lifetime. In order to do this, it’s a good idea to get your gold jewelry professionally cleaned every few years. During this time, they can also check the jewelry for any damage, fix loose gemstones, and polish the jewelry back to its original luster. 

For the best protection of your gold and platinum body jewelry, you can also invest in a fine jewelry cleaner. We have one, here at FreshTrends, specially formulated to keep them shining like new for decades.

It’s easy to forget to clean your body jewelry, especially if you wear the same piece every day. But, like any clothing, you should remember to do regular cleanings. Luckily, keeping your body jewelry clean isn’t any more difficult than washing dishes by hand. Just be sure to keep harmful chemicals away, use gentle tools, and clean the jewelry thoroughly, and your jewelry will stay like new for years to come.

Looking to go gold?

The best way to ensure that your jewelry lasts forever is to purchase quality jewelry. Check out some gorgeous, 14k gold body jewelry that will shine for a lifetime.

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