How to clean earrings — from gentle washing to sanitizing

Learn how to clean earrings with simple household supplies

Gold earrings on white background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Give your accessories some extra sparkle and learn how to clean earrings with minimal supplies. No matter if you're into hoops or studs, it's easy to freshen them up at home. 

You may not have considered cleaning your earrings but if you're wearing them regularly, they can accumulate plenty of grime. 

We asked the experts how to clean earrings with the best cleaning supplies. Don't worry about tarnishing or damaging your precious gemstones, this simple method is safe and sound.

How to clean earrings

If you can't remember the last time you freshened up your earrings (if ever?) it is definitely time to clean your jewelry. With daily use, earrings can build up makeup, sunscreen, body oil, and other grime. 

If you're wearing earrings every day you should be cleaning them every two to four weeks. For earrings you only wear occasionally, wash them about once a month or every five wears. 

Once your accessories are fresh and clean, you can organize your jewelry so everything is on display and easy to find.

Gold stud earrings

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Step 1: Make a soapy solution

Fill a small bowl with a few drops of dish soap (classic Dawn dish soap, available on Amazon is always a good choice) and a cup of warm water. "Make a soapy solution in a small bowl to soak earrings in. For extra cleaning power, try adding a tablespoon of baking soda as this will help lift away trapped grime," says Angela Rubin, a cleaning expert from Hellamaid.

Angela Rubin, cleaning expert at HellaMaid
Angela Rubin

Angela Rubin works at Hellamaid, a top-rated cleaning company in Canada. Hellamaid are industry experts specializing in residential and commercial cleaning services. 

Step 2: Soak earrings and gently scrub

Soak the earrings in your soapy solution for at least ten minutes. "After soaking the earrings, use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub the earrings. Focus on gemstone settings, earring backs, and all the tiny nooks and crannies where grime may be hiding," says cleaning expert, Karina Toner

These extra-soft toothbrushes available on Amazon will help lift away trapped debris.

Jewelry soaking in small glass bowl

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Step 3: Rinse and dry

Once finished scrubbing with soap, rinse the earrings under cold, clean water. "Use a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to rinse earrings so they won't get lost or dropped down the sink," says Karina. 

These mesh strainers from Amazon are perfect for rinsing all kinds of jewelry while keeping them safe.

After rinsing, dry the earrings with a microfiber cloth.

Step 4: Sanitize (optional)

Consider sanitizing your earrings if you bought a new pair or they need some extra cleaning. Simply wipe down with some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel (you can pick up rubbing alcohol on Amazon if you don't have any on hand). Focus on the posts and earring backs. 

"You should always sanitize earrings if you're sharing with another person, donating them, or wearing a new pair for the first time," says Angela.

With a few simple cleaning hacks, your earrings will look as good as new. All you need is a little dish soap and some warm water to get a sparkling result. If your jewelry needs some extra help, cleaning with baking soda is even more effective.

Emily Lambe
Deputy Editor

Hey! I’m Emily and I’m the deputy digital editor at Real Homes. I’m here to bring you the latest decor trends, inspirational ideas and the best budget-friendly buys. I live in a rented apartment, making the most of small spaces and using accent pieces to make things pop. When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing yoga, eating chocolate or working on my skincare routine.