While you are genuinely into your new fancy piercing, don’t forget about the most important thing that follows the actual piercing procedure – right and timely piercing cleaning routine.
Following simple aftercare tips help to avoid certain unpleasant health issues, such as allergies, infection or rejection.
This article gathers the necessary information to lead you through the inevitable piercing care process.
Find out what to clean piercings with for speeding up the healing process, action steps, do and don’ts as well as detailed video explanations.
How to Clean a Piercing in 8 Steps
The essential part of the aftercare process is the cleaning routine, which has to be performed every day during the healing process.
You would need to perform an easy routine twice a day. However, the instructions must be followed strictly and with the right materials.
- Wash your hands thoughtfully prior to touching your piercing for any reason, especially before cleaning it. You may use the antibacterial soap or disinfectant for this.
- Do not remove the jewelry during the cleaning process, as the wound usually tends to close immediately. So always keep the jewelry inside.
- Prepare the saline, special piercing cleaning solution or antibacterial spray depending on what stage of healing your piercing is.
- Prepare the cotton swabs or Q-tips. Make sure to keep them covered while not using them. As the cotton may collect dust, which contains dangerous bacteria, and you probably do not want them to go into the wound.
- Soak the swabs into the chosen solution.
- Gently wash your piercing from both sides for a few minutes.
- In case you use a salt solution, you may want to remove the rest of the liquid from your piercing, as the salt tends to crystallize and to remain on the wound. Use the clean disposable cotton pads for that.
- Perform the procedure continuously during the initial healing (can last from 1 week to 3 months depending on the piercing type)
Best Piercing Cleaners
Let’s take a look at what to clean piercings with to speed up the healing process and reducing chances of getting the infection.
Choose one of these aftercare products are:
- Sea salt DIY cleaner,
- Antibacterial soap.
See below more details about each of these solutions.
Saline solution for piercings is the most efficient and simplest piercing aftercare solution you can DIY at home.
To clean the piercing with the sea salt soaks, you would need special saline, which is available for purchase in the pharmacies, piercing stores or online. Below we will recommend the best product available.
How to make a saline solution for piercings at home?
To prepare it at home you would need a non-iodized sea salt and warm water.
To make the best saline solution, take an ounce or a quarter of a teaspoon of the iodine-free sea salt and dissolve it in the cup with warm boiled water.
Clean the piercing for a few minutes from both sides with a cotton swab and remove the rest of the liquid with the clean tissue if there is some saline left to avoid the salt crystallization on your piercing.Buy Now on Amazon
Ready antiseptic solutions, such as a piercing aftercare spray are recommended to use when one month after the piercing procedure has passed.
One of the best antibacterial sprays is Neilmed wound wash piercing aftercare.
Wound wash solutions should be used 3-6 times a day with cotton swabs soaked in them. You should gently hold the swab in the area of piercing for about 1-2 minutes each time. In such a way you would efficiently disinfect a piercing area and remove the discharge that may have formed around your piercing.Buy Now on Amazon
Using antibacterial soap for piercings is a good idea when the initial healing process has already passed.
You may do so while showering, leaving a drop of antibacterial soap on the piercing for no more than 30 seconds. Then, gently rinse all the soap from the piercing and jewelry.
Do not wiggle or rotate the jewelry while cleaning it. While drying the piercing afterward, use only clean disposable paper products. The cloth tissue could contain certain bacteria, which may infect your piercing.Buy Now on Amazon
Read more about best piercing aftercare products for any situation.
Particular Piercing Type Advices
Though there are the common pieces of advice on piercing aftercare, some particular piercings should be treated differently.
- Facial, body
The ear piercing care doesn’t require much to be done, comparing to the facial and body piercings aftercare rules, as a healing process is usually longer and, therefore, needs more attention.
The cleaning procedure, in fact, is all the same: you may choose the suitable cleaning solution and clean the area twice a day.
To help your facial or body piercing clean faster, avoid triggering it with clothes or another subject. It is also not recommended to use public pools or open waters to avoid infecting the wound.
The difficulties with oral piercings arise due to their vulnerable location. While the cleaning and aftercare tips are all the same, some restrictions are taking place in this particular case.
When your oral piercing healing, you have to avoid oral contacts as they may bring unwanted bacteria. The same goes for smoking, drinking tea/coffee, and eating spicy foods.
The surface piercing is one of the complex body modifications, which require special care.
The jewelry should not be triggered, nor removed during the healing process. To make cleaning easier, you may use cotton pads instead of Q-tips. For that, soak the pad in the cleaning solution for and lean it on the piercing for at least 10 minutes. Then remove the liquid with the disposable towels. Keep cleaning it that way during the entire healing process.
For example, one month after the procedure, it is recommended to use a cleaning solution instead of saline.
After two months – simple showering twice a day would be enough to keep your piercing clean.
What to Avoid
It is important to restrain from certain things to help you piercing heal faster and to avoid infections, getting a bump or other complications.
- Don’t use alcohol-containing solutions for the cleaning procedures. While they can be used to disinfect the piercing instrument, they may irritate the skin around the wound.
- Do not use Bactine or other solutions, containing Benzalkonium Chloride. It’s advertised sometimes as a numbing medication, which can ease the pain, as it contains Lidocaine. However, in fact, it may just irritate your pierced area as it is simply not designed for the long term piercing care.
- Avoid touching your piercing with dirty hands or other objects. Make sure your bedding and clothing are always clean. Dry your piercing only with disposable paper if needed.
- Avoid using public pools and swimming in the river/sea during the initial healing process.
- Do not remove or change the jewelry while the piercing is not healed entirely.
- Avoid using the piercing guns for the piercing procedure. As usual, the guns are harder to disinfect, so they may pass to your wound the unwanted infection.
- Do not over clean your piercing, as the extensive cleaning may irritate the piercing and cause further complications.
New Piercing Care Checklist
The aftercare rules may differ depending on the chosen type of piercing. However, there are some general and universal rules, which are presented below:
- Do not touch or pull your new piercing. Usually, there are a lot of dangerous bacteria on your hands that may get into the wound and provoke different kinds of infections. I bet you would rather avoid it.
- Perform a standard cleaning routine no more than twice a day: in the morning and before going to bed. You may use simple saline or cleaning solution (will mention below) to disinfect your piercings.
- Always wash your hands with antibacterial soap before cleaning your piercing to avoid letting infections into the fresh wound.
- Do not use hoops for the new piercing, as they would casually move around anyway. So, your piercing would be triggered, which would make it heal longer.
- For some piercing types (such as cartilage ones) it is recommended using a longer bar as initial jewelry. As for the first couple of days, you would get your piercing sore and swollen, and the longer bar would allow enough space for that.
- Do not over clean your piercings, as you would destroy the creation of the natural bacteria and impede the normal recovery process.
- Do not use the piercing guns to perform a piercing, as they may crunch the cartilage or provoke a longer healing process afterward.
- In case you feel that something went wrong with your piercing (excessive swelling, bleeding, pain), you should visit the piercer/doctor immediately to prevent further complications and dangers.
- When to start caring about your piercing?
You should take care of your piercing during the entire healing process, usually in 24 hours after the piercing procedure.
- When can I stop cleaning?
Depending on the type of piercing performed, your piercer should give you recommendations. For the ear piercing, you may keep cleaning it for 2 weeks, for the facial and body ones, it may take up to two months.
- What kind of water should I use for cleaning?
You may use distilled or boiled water.
- How to heal piercing faster?
There are no exact piercing aftercare instructions which would make a piercing heal faster. However, the right and timely aftercare would definitely rise chances to speed up healing.
- Is it normal to have crusties around piercing?
Yes, as it’s natural body reaction to the perforation. In such a way, the organism protects the damaged tissue.
- Should I remove crusties or leave it?
Do not remove the crusties extensively. As it impedes the natural body recovery process.
- I have dry skin around piercing what to do?
It can happen when the skin is exposed to the cold or as a result of the soap overcleaning. In this case, replace the soap washing with other cleaning solutions.
- My piercing is swollen for a long time what to do?
Usually, it is a normal process for certain piercing types (facial, body, cartilage). However, if the swelling persists for more than 2 weeks, do not hesitate to visit a piercer to find out whether it’s infected or not.
- Is it okay to take a shower with a new piercing?
It is fine to take a shower after one day after the procedure. However, you should not extensively clean it during showering.
- Is it okay to feel dizzy while cleaning a piercing?
No, as it’s not a normal body reaction to the cleaning solutions. If you feel dizzy during the cleaning, consider changing the cleaning method and visit a doctor to get inspected in regard to possible allergies.
- How can I make a cleaning solution?
You can easily make a sea salt solution to clean piercings by yourself, mixing a teaspoon of salt with the warm boiled water.
- Can I use table salt instead of sea salt?
No, as namely sea salt have a necessary disinfecting effect. Table salt, containing chemicals could be rather dangerous for the open wound.
- Can I use iodized sea salt?
The iodized sea salt doesn’t have a necessary cleaning effect. It rather contains chemicals, which could let the infections into the wound instead.
- What is the best piercing cleaner?
The best and simplest piercing cleaner is a sea salt solution.
- Can I remove earring to clean piercing?
No, as you may let infections getting into the wound, and your piercing may even close.
- Can I twist/move earring while cleaning?
No, you should not twist or rotate the earring to not irritate the piercing. It will reduce the chance of getting a piercing bump.
- Can I use hydrogen peroxide?
No, as It may slow the healing process of the pierced area by drying the pierced area.
- Can I use alcohol-based solutions for cleaning my piercing?
No, as it may dry the area and kill healthy cells of the skin tissue.
- Can I change my earring after 1-2 weeks after piercing?
It depends on the type of piercing and the duration of the healing process. Usually, it is recommended to wait several months before changing the jewelry.
- How long should I wait before going to pool/beach after getting a piercing?
You should wait until the piercing is completely healed, which depends on the type of piercing performed and your individual characteristics. Usually, it takes 1 to 3 months.
- How to treat an allergic reaction to a piercing?
You should not treat allergies by yourself, better use a doctor or a piercer to get professional advice.
- How to treat bleeding piercing?
Normally, your piercing should not bleed much, you could clean drops of blood with an ordinary cleaning solution.
- How to care about infant/baby ear piercing?
You should use the same aftercare rules, however, it is better to stick to the gentle cleaning solution, such as soft saline.
- Where can I buy saline solutions (spray, soap)?
Yes, you can find packaged solutions online or at the local pharmacies, or piercing shops.
- How to treat infected piercing?
You may find a full guide here.
- How to get rid of the piercing bump?
You may find a full guide here.