How to Clean an Industrial Piercing

An industrial piercing is usually in the upper cartilage of the ear. It consists of two individual piercings that are connected by a rod. Industrial piercings can easily become infected if they are not properly cleaned and cared for. You should clean an industrial piercing twice daily with antibacterial soap or with a solution of warm water and sea salt for the entire healing period.

Method One of Three:
Cleaning Your Piercing with Antibacterial Soap

  1. Run warm water over the piercing. In the shower, or with your head under a faucet, run warm water on your ear for about 30 seconds. This process will loosen up any dried skin or crusty areas that have formed since the last cleaning.[
  2. Use your fingers to clean the piercing. Lather antibacterial soap and warm water together with your hands. Use your pinky finger to cover the metal rod with soap and then twist the piercing around several times. Use your pinky finger to work the soap behind the rod on the inside of your ear and around the pierced holes for three minutes.[
  3. Rinse and dry the piercing. After cleaning your piercing for three minutes with antibacterial soap, rinse the jewelry and piercing with flowing water until all the soap is gone. Using a disposable paper towel, pat the piercing dry.

Method Two of Three:
Cleaning Your Piercing with a Sea Salt Soak

  1. Make a sea salt solution. Find a clean, one-liter plastic container like a Tupperware. The container should be able to withstand the heat of boiling water. Add one teaspoon of sea salt to the container. Fill the rest of the container with boiling water. Allow the mixture to cool until it is very warm.
  2. Submerge your ear in the water. Once the water has cooled to a temperature that is still very warm, place the container on a table. Sit in a chair next to the table and lean over the container. Submerge your ear entirely in the water. Keep it submerged for 5 minutes.
  3. Soak with a cotton pad instead. If you don’t want to fully submerge your ear, you can clean the piercing with a cotton makeup pad instead. Soak the cotton pad in the sea salt solution and apply the pad to your ear for five minutes.
  4. Allow the piercing to air dry. After you have soaked your piercing in the sea salt solution, you will need to allow it to dry. Let the piercing completely air dry after the soak. Do not touch the piercing between cleanings.Advertisement

Method Three of Three:
Practicing Safe Aftercare

  1. Clean your hands before touching the piercing. It is extremely important that you do not touch your piercing with unclean hands. Before touching or cleaning your piercing, you should wash your hands with soap and hot water. Make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after lathering and then rinse with hot water.[
  2. Clean your piercing twice a day. In order to avoid infection, you will need to clean your industrial piercing two times a day during the healing period, which may take anywhere from four weeks and six months. Work the cleaning into your daily schedule. For example, you can clean the piercing after breakfast and before going to bed each night.[
    • If you do not clean your piercing regularly, it can become infected or take longer to heal.
    • Keep in mind that industrial piercings take longer to heal than standard ones. When your piercing has healed, it should no longer be tender to the touch. However, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor or piercer to determine if your piercing has healed completely.
  3. Visit a doctor if you see signs of infection. Redness, red lines, or yellow discharge near your industrial piercing are signs the piercing could be infected. If you have these symptoms, or if you experience swelling or extreme pain, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.[6]
    • If you see crustiness around your piercing, don’t pick at it. Leave it so the doctor can examine it and take a sample.
  4. Avoid soaking your piercing when bathing or swimming while it heals. An industrial piercing can take anywhere from one month to six months to heal. Apart from cleaning your piercing, it is important that you avoid soaking it during this time. You should not soak the piercing while taking a bath, showering, or washing your hair. You should also avoid swimming.[
  5. Change your clothing and bedding regularly. It is important that you wear clean clothes and sleep on clean sheets while your piercing is healing. If you do not, you can invite germs into your piercing. This can lead to unwanted and potentially serious infections.[
    • Change your clothes every day.
    • Put clean sheets on your bed at least once per week.

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