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How to Care for Newly Pierced Ears

It’s important to take good care of your newly pierced ears so they’ll heal properly. Clean your ears twice a day while they heal and avoid handling your piercings when you don’t have to. Be gentle with your piercings to avoid injury or infection and enjoy your new fashion statement!


EditCleaning the Piercings

  1. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap before touching your ears. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly right before handling your earrings. This will prevent you from transferring bacteria to your ears with your fingers. Use an antibacterial soap to ensure that your hands are as clean as possible.[1]
    Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • Lather your hands with soap and wash them for a full 10-15 seconds to kill germs.
  2. Clean your ears twice a day with soap and water. Lather a mild soap between your fingers until it is foamy. Gently rub the soap onto the front and back of your piercings. Carefully wipe your ears with a clean, wet cloth to remove the soap.[2]
    Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 2 Version 3.jpg
  3. Use a saline cleaning solution as an alternative to soap and water. Ask your piercer to recommend a sea salt-based cleanser to care for your newly pierced ears. This will clean your piercings without over-drying the skin. Swab the front and back of your piercings with the cotton ball or swab saturated in the cleaning solution.[3]
    Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 3 Version 3.jpg
    • There is no need to rinse your ears after applying the saline solution.
  4. Apply rubbing alcohol or an antibiotic ointment twice a day for 2-3 days. Disinfecting your ear piercings will cut down the chance of infection and speed up the healing process. Dab rubbing alcohol or antibiotic ointment to your ears with a cotton ball or swab.[4] Discontinue this after a few days, as prolonged of these treatments can dry the sites of your piercings and make it harder for them to heal.[5]
    Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 4 Version 3.jpg
  5. Rotate the earrings gently while the skin is still wet. Grasp the back of your earrings and rotate them carefully right after cleaning the area. This will prevent the piercings from closing too tightly around the jewelry while they heal. You should only do this while your ears are still wet.[6]
    Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • Twisting your new piercings when your skin is dry may cause it to crack and bleed, resulting in a longer healing time.

EditAvoiding Injury and Infection

  1. Leave your starter earrings in your ears for at least 4-6 weeks. When you first get your ears pierced, the piercing technician inserts starter earrings. These earrings are made from hypo-allergenic materials that are safe to keep in your ears. Leave them in your ears both day and night for at least 4 weeks or your piercings may close or heal improperly.
    Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • The hypo-allergenic earrings should be made of surgical stainless steel, titanium, niobium, or 14- or 18-karat gold.[7]
    • If you get a cartilage ear piercing, you will need to leave the starter jewelry in for 3-5 months while it heals fully.[8]
  2. Always wash your hands before touching your ears. Unnecessary handling of your piercings can lead to infection. Avoid touching them unless you are cleaning or inspecting them. If you do need to touch them, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water first.[9]
    Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 7 Version 3.jpg
  3. Avoid swimming while your piercings are healing. Swimming can lead to a transfer of bacteria to your new piercings, resulting in an infection. Steer clear of pools, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water while your ears are healing. If you use a hot tub, avoid submerging your body deep enough in the water to get your ears wet.[10]
    Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 8 Version 3.jpg
  4. Be careful with items of clothing that could snag on your earrings. Keep your clothing away from your earrings while they heal. Pulling or friction can cause irritation and slow down the healing process. Avoid wearing hats that cover your ears and be careful when getting dressed and undressed to avoid injury.[11]
    Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • If you wear a veil, choose a fabric that won’t snag easily. Try to wear very loose veils and avoid wearing the same veil multiple times without washing it.
  5. See a doctor if you notice signs of infection that last several days. If your ears are painful and swollen a week or more after you get them pierced, they may be infected. Visit your doctor to have them checked if you notice pus or thick, dark discharge. Infected skin around the piercings will also likely be red or deep pink in color.[12]
    Care for Newly Pierced Ears Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • Serious piercing infections may require drainage and oral antibiotics.


  • Brush and comb your hair carefully to avoid snagging your piercings.
  • Wear your hair up to avoid getting it caught in your piercings.
  • If your cartilage piercing is causing you pain, try to sleep on the opposite side to avoid putting pressure on it.
  • Seek immediate care if your earlobe tears.
  • Wash your pillowcase every few days to help prevent infection.
  • Make sure the piercing studio is clean, hygienic, and qualified before you have any piercing done.
  • If you have long hair, try putting your hair up to avoid getting it caught on the piercing.

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