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How to Clean Your Body Jewelry

illustrated assorted body jewelry with sparkles and soap bubbles

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to consider sterilization and disinfection practices more than they ever have before. In addition to frequent hand washing and sterilizing surfaces that may have been exposed to the coronavirus, it is important to remember to disinfect any objects you carry and use every day. Your cellphone is a likely candidate for the dirtiest object you routinely handle (tips on cleaning it here), but body jewelry is another commonplace object you may not immediately think to disinfect. If it’s been a while since you’ve fully removed and cleaned your body jewelry, we’re here with a refresher.

How to Clean Body Jewelry

While everyone with a piercing should be familiar with piercing aftercare practices, disinfecting your body jewelry is slightly different, as it’s more about keeping the jewelry clean than the piercing itself. The most reliable sterilization method for body jewelry is to use antibacterial soap and warm water, following the steps outlined below.

illustrated fingers holding a captive bead ring in a blue circular icon

Carefully remove your body jewelry.


illustrated icon of a captive bead ring soaking in a cup of soapy water

Submerge the jewelry in warm, soapy water and allow to soak for 20 seconds to loosen any hardened dirt or debris.


illustrated icon of a profile of a soft-bristled brush

Use a clean, soft-bristled brush to scour and scrub all surfaces of the jewelry.


illustrated icon of arrows pointing in a cycle to indicate repetition

Repeat the soaking and scrubbing process for three minutes with each piece of jewelry to ensure it has been fully sanitized.


illustrated icon of a captive bead ring resting on a paper towel to dry

Let the jewelry dry on a clean paper towel.


illustrated icon of a pump bottle and cup of soapy water

Clean the piercing area with warm, soapy water.


Alternatively, you can sterilize body jewelry by letting it sit in boiling water for five minutes, then set it to dry on a clean paper towel. Keep in mind that you can only boil your jewelry if it has no electronic components, acrylic pieces, or delicate jewels or gemstones.

Jewelry that lives partially or completely in your mouth, such as lip, tongue, or cheek piercing jewelry, might accumulate plaque just like your teeth and gums. The same procedure described above can be used to clean these pieces of jewelry, but for routine maintenance and sterilization, you can also soak oral jewelry in non-alcoholic mouthwash for 2-3 minutes.

If you’d like more specific cleaning and aftercare instructions about how to clean a nose piercing, how to clean a belly button piercing, or how to clean an ear-piercing, check out our blogs below.

Keep checking our PainfulPleasures blog for more information. We here at PainfulPleasures encourage you to stay safe, practice good hygiene, and observe all social distancing and other guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and your local authorities.