Butterfly back earrings are by far the most common type of earring backs, especially for stud earrings.
While they work great, they tend to be challenging in some cases. If, for example, the earring back is pushed too far back, it can be challenging to remove it.
It can be equally challenging to remove the butterfly back if there is a build-up of old cells, dried-up blood, and dirt around the earring backs.
The earring back could also get stuck if it turned at the wrong angle. In such cases, the butterfly back would be stuck, and you will struggle to remove them. But these challenges end here.
Reasons why butterfly earring backs get stuck:
- The backs are too right because you have a new pair of earrings on
- The body’s reaction to piercing and earrings, subsequent inflammation, tightening of the skin and swelling, all lead to the skin around the backing and the earring backings being held on too tightly. This should be addressed immediately to avoid further damage, especially because the back might rust.
In this article, we’ll share your tips on how to safely and effectively remove the butterfly back from the ear (earring post) after it’s stuck. So, let’s jump right into it!
How to remove butterfly back earrings
Understandably, you may have used a lot of energy to try to get the earring back out. But with none of that working and knowing that you wouldn’t want to inflict any additional damage to your ears, here are some of the things that you could do to remove your butterfly back earrings safely.
1. Patience, Friend
You need to understand that you cannot get the earring back out safely if you apply too much pressure. And you wouldn’t be able to pull it out unless you’ve pushed it in, very slightly.
You should not be rough or in a rush to remove the back or earrings because any kind of improper removal of the butterfly earring backs may cause harm to your ears.
Remember that your ears are very delicate, and they could be inflamed or even infected when the tissues are hurt. So, even with an annoying earring back stuck, you should not force it out.
There are things you could do to ensure that the earring back slides out safely and without causing any hurt to your earlobe.
Now that we’ve taken a breath wash your hands, preferably using anti-bacterial soap, then dry them using a clean hand towel.
2. Petroleum jelly or Vaseline
Good ol’ petroleum jelly could be exactly what you need to remove the butterfly back. First, you’d have to apply some petroleum jelly around the earring back, then try to give it a slight nudge. You could also try to rotate it just a bit, then let it sit or adjust to the new position. Then try to pull it out this time, and with a little more force, as long as you don’t feel pain.
If you feel pain or notice swelling around your piercing, it’s time for you to stop and let the piercing relax. You may have to put some ice on the ear and don’t disturb it for a few minutes.
If the pain or swelling doesn’t go down, or if you just can’t remove the back, seek professional help. Go to a professional piercer immediately because they will have the right set of tools and experience to help you out.
Bear in mind that as long as the earring back is not budging and you’re using as much force as you deem to be enough, then it means that the only thing left for you to do is to seek professional help.
3. Soften the hardened ‘cement.’
While the butterfly backs are naturally problematic, this design of earring backs is generally a terrible one, and many other people are struggling with what you’re also going through. But all hope is not lost.
- Since the butterfly’s back could be stuck because all the plasma discharged, blood and dead cells have solidified around the back, forming what appears like a natural cement around the clip; removing all the build-up gunk could be the remedy to get them back out. But you have to remove all that gunk carefully and without tools that may cause further damage. The only way to do that would be by softening the build-up first.
- Whether you do this at home or seek professional help, gunk removal will be possible through soaking up the solidified gunk, your ears, and earrings using some warm, salinated water.
- You need a quarter of a teaspoon of seas salt added to a cup of warm water. Mix this up, then soak each of the earrings in this warm salty water for about 5 minutes. You can use a cotton pad or the corner of a clean cloth to soak the earrings. And make sure the salinated water reaches between the earring post and back – in front and at the back.
4. Cotton Swab and clean water
You may not need the salinated water, just plain, clean water and cotton swabs/ balls. This is ideal when there isn’t too much dirt and gunk in there.
- Dip the cotton swab in the clean water, then use it to wet and clean around the ear. You need to make sure that the back of the ear is moistened too. Keep checking for loose dirt as you gently wipe, repeating this step as necessary. When done, dry the ear using a new and clean cotton ball. You’d want to disinfect the piercing area. You will feel some itching or stinging. When done, on both sides, let the ear(s) dry.
- Once it’s all clean and dry, try to take the earring off. To do this, hold onto the earring post, keeping it as straight and also stable as you can to ensure that the post doesn’t move about as you try to pull out the back gently. Using your other hand, trace the back’s longer surface, then grip it firmly and move it back and forth gently until it loosens. Your earring post has to be stable throughout. Once the back starts to move, give it a gentle tug for it to slide off.
- So as not to hurt your skin tissue or rip apart the piercing, you want to pinch both sides of the earring gently.
- And if you feel any crust around the back, pause and clean the area using a cotton swab dipped in warm water.
Bear in mind that there could be blood and pus in the crust, and this will make things slippery and sticky – in other words, not the best place to be. And that’s not even the worst – there are cases where your skin grows over some part of the clasp. In such cases, you will experience a lot of pain and discomfort when trying to get the backs out. You should see a doctor in such cases.
How to wear butterfly back earrings safely
- First, disinfect your earring and the backs using cotton swabs soaked in rubbing alcohol. You could also apply Vaseline on the posts and the backs’ front surface of the area that will be in contact with your ear lobe.
- Put the earring on, then holding down the front of the stud earring, gently slide the earring back into the post. Slide it until it is halfway through the middle of the post, and it looks sealed in.
- Know that the back shouldn’t feel like a challenge when sliding it in
- Once in, clean your ears frequently, and don’t let the earrings sit in for too long.
Butterfly backs for earrings can be problematic. So, if you can avoid them, you should. But if this is not an option, you should follow the steps above to ensure the safe removal of the backs.
And if stuck, be gentle with your ears as you follow the simple steps above on how to remove your butterfly back earrings.
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.