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Earring backs sometimes smell awful, and this actually has everything to do with your skin and what it is doing when you have your earrings on. If you have been wondering why do earring backs smell bad, today’s discussion is simply perfect for you.

OMG, My Earring Back Smell Bad…

Earring backs smell differently depending on how the body responds to the presence of metal in it. Unfortunately, people have varying responses to metal, depending on how their immune systems are set.

Typically, individuals with higher immune responses will have more trouble with earring backs smell issues, which would mean they would have to clean their piercings and earrings more often than people with almost no reaction to metals.

This is just how things work when you are introducing foreign bodies into the skin, even if your piercing/s have already healed or are already really old.

Read more: How to Clean Stud Earrings

Why do Earring Backs Smell Bad?

Prepare your stomachs, because the smell that ends all body smells and is also called “ear cheese” is actually gunk that is a combination of dead skin cells, skin oils, and other effuse from the skin.

If your piercing happens to be infected, scratched, or wounded for some reason, then the ear gunk that smells so distinctive may also have traces of blood and puss. The quantity that you see may also be comprised of dried up sweat, which is plentiful behind the ears because of the ears’ proximity to hair and the neck.

Either way, the gunk is something that’s not supposed to accumulate for long periods of time and it’s not okay for earring backs smell to be on the negative side. If you feel that your ears have been suffering for too long, you need to start taking the steps to at least reduce the accumulation of the gunk on your ears.

Earring Back Smell

For people with older piercings, the smell may be due to hygiene issues – you may not be washing your earrings and your piercings frequently enough and there’s a large accumulation of dead skin cells and oils there.

For people who have just gotten their piercings, it’s important that you check how your piercing is doing. The presence of puss and blood indicates an infection, and you may want to go to a physician to have your ears checked if this is the case.

In some situations, newly pierced folks may not have infected ears but would still have a slightly accelerated build-up of sebum and dead skin cells due to natural immune response.

Should You be Worried about Earring Backs to Smell?

Actually, yes you should be at least mildly concerned, and here’s why. Earrings and other pieces of jewelry can easily get bacteria by the micro-ton, and this can be a problem since piercings are technically open portents for bacteria and other unsavory things.

So no matter how expensive your earrings are, if it is dirty, it can cause an infection. Some people make the mistake of just bathing or showering, and thinking that this is enough. It’s not, because you need to clean your ears and make sure that the jewelry you are using is also clean. If your piercings are immaculate but your earrings are dirty, you can still get infected, period.

How to Clean Earring Backs (and The Rest of Your Earrings)?

Earrings and their accompanying earring backs, for their miniature sizes, are actually hotbeds of bacteria and other nasty things. The gunk that accumulates at the back of the ears is a mixture of sebum, creams (from make-ups, soap, shampoo, etc.), a contaminant from your hands/fingers, and even hair products like gels, waxes, etc.

The back of the ears is like a net that catches small quantities of these contaminants each day. With the presence of earring backs there, well, you know why the quantity of the stuff is increasing day by day.

Read more: How To Clean Earring Backs?

Steps to Keep Your Earrings and Earring Backs Clean:

1. Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands with some warm water and soap. Make sure you rinse out everything and pat your hands dry. Also, the guidelines here do not apply to earrings that have precious or semi-precious stones. Gemstones require different cleaning parameters, and using cleansers or even alcohol on gemstones can tarnish them as many of them are naturally porous and absorptive.

Also, avoid using any gels, creams, and other liquid cleaners on earring backs as these can easily leave a residue.

2. Prepare Cleaning Agents

Tested cleaning agents for metal jewelry are simply rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. The reason why they’re excellent for the use that we have in mind is they are relatively cheap, easy to apply, and they take care of the biological contamination in the earring backs that are actually causing the unwanted smell.

3. Wear Gloves When Cleaning Jewelry

Always wear gloves when cleaning jewelry. As prolonged exposure to rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide can cause skin problems (like irritation). For the cleaning process, you will need cotton swabs or cotton balls, a small container for the disinfecting agents, and a small, dry rag to place the earrings to dry on.


4. Wipe the Earring Backs with Cotton Ball

Submerge the tip of the cotton swab or cotton ball in pure hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. Wipe the earring backs, making sure that squeeze a bit of the disinfectant through the hole in the middle. Repeat several times until you are no longer getting a stain on the surface of the swab or cotton ball. Immediately rinse in warm water and place on the clean, dry rag to pat dry.

You can do the same for all your other earrings, but if you happen to have pearls or precious stones there don’t. These cleansers may be too harsh on other materials used for jewelry, and you may end up with damage, which will be irreversible should something tarnish or fade as a result of exposure to moisture or the cleaning substances.

Why Do Earring Backs Smell Bad

More articles about earring backs you may interest:

Best Way on How to Clean Earring Backs? All Backing Applied

How Do You Get A Stuck Earring Back Off?

What To Do When You Lost Earring Back?

How Many Types of Earring Backs?