Can you clean your earrings in or with salty water, and should you even be doing this? Should you use salty water to clean your earrings?
If you have been researching how to clean your earrings appropriately, you may have come across articles and guides that recommend the use of saltwater for cleaning earrings. But isn’t such information confusing, especially when all jewelers warn against wearing your jewelry or exposing the jewelry to salt or salty conditions? Also, isn’t the use of salty water only recommended for use when treating and cleaning new piercings?
In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know about cleaning your earrings with saltwater and why it would be an ideal option for you to try.
Can you clean your earrings with salt water?
Absolutely, yes. You could use salt water to clean the earrings, but only occasionally – when you need to disinfect or sterilize the earrings.
Despite cleaning the earrings whenever you wear them or take them out, there is always a risk of infection if you wear the earrings and you’d not cleaned them well.
If you haven’t had that pair of earrings on for a while or just had them in for too long, a deep cleaning session for the earrings should include disinfection. Saltwater is often the cheapest and the most effective disinfectant.
That said, you should first read the instructions that the earrings came with. You need to make sure that the materials used for the construction of the earrings are safe and will not get damaged when exposed to saltwater.
Does the saltwater kill the bacteria on the jewelry?
Generally, saltwater has the ability to kill most types of bacteria. And though the salty water will not kill all types of bacteria, it kills some while also bringing more bacteria to the surface, making it easier for the bacteria to be rid of.
For bacteria that can be killed by salty water, the process happens because of osmosis, in which water is drawn out of the bacteria’s cell membranes, resulting in the subsequent death of the bacteria. But if you are dealing with the types of bacteria that are halotolerant, for example, some staphylococcus strains, salt won’t do much in killing this type of bacteria because they have mutated and developed a salt-alert system that prevents the loss of water by use of a sponge-like system or sponge-like molecules.
When it comes to earrings, you need to sterilize them once weekly. Although your earrings won’t look too dirty, they may still cause issues if they harbor bacteria. And you will agree with us that this is not the kind of thing that you want to find out about, the wrong way.
How to clean earrings with salt water (step by step)
If you need to sterilize your earrings, you also want to make sure that you will not damage your earrings in the process.
This is crucial because the earrings are often made of different materials, and most of these materials are sensitive to salty water.
So, before you start to disinfect your earrings, be sure that they will be safe in salty water, and if they won’t, you may be better off using hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or just wiping down the earrings with some warm, soapy water.
To clean or disinfect your earrings using saltwater, follow these steps:
- Look out for the precious stones
Before you start cleaning the earrings, especially earrings with stones, you should check the stones they are made of and their qualities.
Most of the stones, especially the organic ones, are sensitive to salt and other harsh elements, which is why you have to be extra cautious.
If your earrings are diamond stud earrings, you could clean the earrings in salty water because diamonds are very resistant.
Just keep the cleaning sessions occasional, and don’t put them in the salty water too often.
- Be careful with pearls.
Natural or faux pearls can be damaged easily. You could, however, wipe the earrings using a warm and mild soap solution, but don’t dip the pearl earrings in salty water.
- Wash your hands
Before you wash or sterilize your earrings, you should wash your hands first. You could use either antibacterial soap or water.
- Sterilize the posts, always – a quick method
If you must disinfect the pearl earrings, you could dip a piece of cloth or corner of a cotton towel in the salty water to slightly dampen it, then use that section to wipe down the posts.
You could take out the backs and dip them in the salty water if the metal is not corroded.
Since earrings can be challenging to disinfect, especially when you don’t want to dip the earrings in the salty water or don’t have the option of taking the earrings to a professional jewelry cleaner, you should find a way to safely sterilize the earring posts and the clasp or backs.
You could use a piece of cloth as recommended above, or even a cotton pad or Q-tips dipped in the salty water.
- Thorough Method
If you are not worried about damage from the salty water, this method will work perfectly.
You’d have to submerge the earrings in salty water in a small bowl.
Let the earrings sit for about a minute or a maximum of 10 minutes if you think they need the extra time, then rinse the earrings in clean water before wiping them down using a microfiber cloth and a cotton pad.
You may have to rinse the earrings one more time before you put them away.
If you need to clean and/or sterilize your earrings using saltwater, follow the steps above. Keep in mind that you cannot keep the earrings in saltwater for too long.
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Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.