Wondering why there is gunk on your earrings and why there is gunk on your earrings in the first place?
Understandably, there could be more gross things happening out there in the world today, but we can agree that colored or discolored gunk on your earrings, from whatever place and in whatever color, is not just disgusting but also very embarrassing.
So, what is all that gunk on your earrings about? Well, keep reading to find out exactly what the gunk is and how to get rid of it.
What is the green gunk on earrings?
If you have noticed green gunk on your earrings, you may be wondering why the gunk is there in the first place and what even caused it. Also, you may be freaking out. But whatever the case, what you need to know about the green gunk is that the gunk seen in jewelry and on other kinds of metallic items is referred to as Verdigris. Verdigris can be defined as the natural patina that is formed from the oxidation of copper.
Besides oxidation, Verdigris also results from copper pieces being in contact with other moisture or other kinds of pollutants. These pollutants often include body fluids such as body oils and sweat, and also hair products or cosmetics.
The good news is that in as much as the green gunk is quite unsightly and could also be a pain to clean off, especially if you are dealing with the exquisite and detailed piece, you can actually clean out the green gunk.
That said, you need to know that green gunk is not safe on your jewelry, and it is considered a corrosive agent. What this means is that the gunk will eat away at the small bits of metal, and the longer it sits there, the worse the damage it inflicts. It’s also worth noting that Verdigris could also grow on metal alloys and pure metals, whether brass, copper, or bronze.
It may also affect the silver or gold-plated items, especially once a small bit of the metal plating wears off, is removed or chipped because this would be the perfect breeding ground for the formation of Verdigris. And in case you store your safe, clean, and good jewelry alongside pieces of jewelry with existing Verdigris, the good pieces will be damaged too.
What is the black gunk on earrings?
The black gunk on your earrings is a rather normal thing to happen to anyone who has piercings and wears jewelry.
What you need to know about the gunk is that it is made of dead skin cells combined with the discharge from the healing piercing, as well as dirt and oils. But like metal that forms Verdigris, all this gunk from dead cells would get oxidized, forming the black gunk in the process.
As the piercing hole heals and you have the earrings sitting in there, the dead cells, dirt, and all other debris will build up, forming that annoying black gunk.
Why some gunk on your earrings?
Essentially, all the gunk that builds up around your earrings is from the buildup of sebum (natural oils from the skin), dead skin cells, as well as body, beauty, and hair care products that often lend on your lobe.
Over time, your greasy skin and the clogged pores would worsen, and if you don’t exfoliate and clean out your ear piercings and the earrings properly, you will have the gunk build-up, and it may turn black or green, and in other cases, have the worst smell, called the cheese ears.
Things like shampoo and other types of hair care products left over could increase the risk of gunk formation around the earrings, which is why you need to work on ways of cleaning the earrings correctly.
Tips for cleaning the gunk on your earring
To avoid the overgrowth of bacteria, fungus, and yeast from the gunk, you need to clean your earrings and ear piercings well and make sure that there is no gun left around the earring posts.
- Clean the earrings with hydrogen peroxide
If your earrings are full of gunk and you need to clean it all out, damaging the earrings while also disinfecting the earrings, you could use hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant and also an effective cleaning agent that will wash away all the grime from the earrings. And if your earrings need cleaning and removal of the gunk, hydrogen peroxide would be a great option for you.
If the earrings are too murky, place them in a small bowl with enough hydrogen peroxide to cover the pieces of jewelry, then let them soak for a few minutes. Then use a cotton pad to clean out the gunk, rinse the pieces, then dry them on a clean cotton cloth.
If there isn’t too much gunk, you can clean out the gunk by dipping a piece of the cotton pad in peroxide then using it to gently clean the earrings.
- Clean earrings with saltwater
First, wash your hands thoroughly, preferably using antibacterial soap. The take the earring that needs cleaning and using a cotton pad or Q-Tip dipped in saltwater, wipe the earrings carefully and make sure that all the gunk is out.
Use the cotton swab dipped in salty water to also clean out the back of your ear around the piercing. This applies to the front of the ear too.
An alternative to the salty water would be rubbing alcohol, to be used in exactly the same way. Rubbing alcohol is an effective cleaner and also a great solvent that will dissolve the buildup gunk.
It is a disinfectant too, which means that it won’t just clean out the earrings thoroughly and also remove the gunk, but also sanitize the metal parts of the earrings.
- Hot Water/ Steam
You can also remove the gunk off the earrings by holding the posts up the steam. So, just boil some hot water in a kettle, then hold up the earring posts or parts with gunk where the gunk is.
You may want to wear gloves to avoid burning. Steam not only loosens and removes the gunk but also leaves the jewelry sparkling and pretty much sanitized.
If you need help understanding and getting rid of the gunk on your earrings, we hope that you won’t have to worry about the problem anymore after following any of the recommendations above. Read more tips here or here!
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.