How to Prevent Infection in Pierced Ears

One of the most common places to receive a body piercing is the earlobe. As part of preventing infection, you should only have your ears pierced with a piercing gun that has been cleaned and sterilized. Choose a clean and reputable shop, or check with your physician to see if he performs piercings. Once the ear piercing has been done, follow all after-care instructions to prevent infection.

Clean the ears twice a day. Use warm water and an antibacterial soap. Rinse away all soapy residue and gently pat dry with a towel. Your hands should be washed before handling the pierced portion of the ear.

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Rotate the earring two to three times per day. Moving the earring around can help prevent an infection, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians 1. You can perform this task while cleaning the area.

Apply a medicated cleanser as directed by the ear piercing facility. According to the University of Pittsburgh, benzalkonium chloride is typically the active ingredient in these antiseptic cleansers 2. Apply the solution to a cotton ball and rub it onto the piercing site to clean and kill bacteria.

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Remove visible crusting around the piercing site. Use a cotton ball dampened with distilled water or anticeptic to get rid of any crusting that you notice around the piercing.

Leave the earrings in place. The earrings used during the piercing should not be removed for at least a month.


Avoid exposure to any substances that may cause an infection to develop after you have pierced your ears. The University of Pittsburgh recommends cleaning your pillowcase and telephone before placing them against your ear. You should also not expose the area to hair gels, sprays and perfumes.

If you notice pain, swelling or redness around the pierced area, an infection may have developed. Contact your doctor for medical treatment.