Jessica Booth
February 03, 2018 1:00 am

If you wear earrings every day, then chances are good that you’ve thought, “Ick. These need to be cleaned” at one time in your life. Chances are also good that almost immediately after thinking that, you completely forgot to go through with it. No judgement here (we’ve all been there).

Because of their location, earrings are prone to get visibly dirtier than almost any other piece of jewelry. They attract hair spray, residue from shampoo and conditioner, grease and dirt from your fingers, sweat, and accumulated cream from moisturizers and other face products. All of this extra stuff leads to discoloration, dullness, tarnish, and even potential infection.

No one has time for that!

Luckily, cleaning your earrings is actually super easy, and there are a ton of ways to go about doing it. We’ve compiled some of the top tips below so you can say goodbye to gunky earrings once and for all. (Though one quick note: You won’t want to use many of these tips on real gemstones or pearl earrings. Those are super delicate and require a little extra care and effort — your best bet is to head to a jeweler for help).

1Grab the hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide is a great option for jewelry cleaning. It acts as a disinfectant and washes away grime. If your earrings need a quick sprucing up, put some peroxide on a cotton pad, then carefully use the pad to clean all over the earring.

2 Submerge in a solution.

Cotton pads are great for detailed cleaning, but they do have one negative: The cotton can easily get hooked onto jewelry and pull, leaving little fibers on your earrings. If you don’t want to deal with that, try soaking your earrings in hydrogen peroxide or a store-bought cleaning solution instead. Fill a small cup, then just soak for five to ten minutes.

3 Submerge in hot water.

Want something even simpler? Boil some water, put it in a mug, then place your earrings in there and let them soak for about 20 minutes. Gently scrub with a clean toothbrush. This method won’t be quite as effective as a cleaning solution would, but it will definitely help.

4 Make your own jewelry cleanser.

The above tutorial mixes together hot water, baking soda, salt, and dish detergent, and uses a bowl and some tin foil. Mix everything together according to the instructions, then place on the tin foil bowl and let soak for about 10 minutes. This is great for heavy-duty needs.

5Use a toothpick for hard-to-reach spots.


Earrings can be a little tricky to clean, especially if they’re tiny or have some sort of elaborate design. Grab a toothpick for those hard to reach areas!

6 Clean sterling silver with baking soda.

Baking soda is the answer to most cleaning problems, so it’s not surprising that it’s an excellent option for cleansing tarnish off sterling silver jewelry. However, don’t put baking soda on your gemstone earrings, like diamonds. The above video shows you how to make a solution of baking soda and boiling water, using aluminum foil to really make the mixture work. After soaking your earrings in the mixture, you’ll rub them with a soft, clean toothbrush.

7  Clean diamonds with dish soap.

Diamonds are super strong, but you still need to be careful when cleaning them lest you risk discoloration. Mix together one teaspoon of dish soap (choose one without perfume or dye so you don’t mess with the diamond) and one cup of warm water. Soak your diamonds in the solution for about three to four minutes, then rub gently with a soft, clean toothbrush. Let them soak for another one to two minutes, then rinse them off in a bowl of cold water and let dry.

8 Get a jewelry cleaner machine.

Bed Bath and Beyond

If all of the above tips sound like a little too much work, consider investing in a jewelry cleaner machine, like an iSonic or SparkleSpa. They give a thorough cleaning, are multi-purpose, and don’t require a lot of work on your part. Win-win all around!