Why Do My Earrings Smell

What Is “Ear Cheese”?

So, what exactly is ear cheese? To be honest, you probably aren’t going to like the answer.

It’s a build up of dead skin cells, sebum (oil), and any hair and beauty products that land in your lobe area.

It builds up into a greenish-brownish-grayish paste, and starts to get stinky as bacteria builds up, giving it its distinctive cheesy whiff.

Why does piercing smell bad?

If you have worn the same pair of earrings without cleaning them for a few days, you may have noticed that an odor develops. If this has happened to you, you are not alone.

It also isn’t something that should cause you to worry. It is totally normal (albeit kind of gross), but it does not mean that you have an infected ear piercing or that you are reacting to your earrings.

The smell comes from naturally occurring oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. Your ear piercing sites are the perfect breeding ground for this mixture. Oil, sweat, bacteria, and dead skin cells can all easily be trapped there and quickly start to smell.

If you sweat a lot, work out with your earrings in, don’t regularly wash your earrings, and/or wear your earring backs very close to your ear, you are even more likely to experience this smell.

There are numerous reasons behind it, but one of them is a buildup of dead cells in the pierced holes. When you wear ear jewellery for longer without changing it, chances are that dead cells may buildup around the hole. This would not only cause a foul smell but you would also notice a thick textured plaque. People who regularly change their earrings experience this problem less often.

This smell can vary from person to person. And if you are going through the same, then here are some simple steps to get rid of that piercing stink.

Why Do We Get Ear Cheese?

Ear cheese is a totally natural part of having pierced ears.

It builds up for the same reason that any kind of dead skin builds up; your body needs to replace skin cells constantly, and some cells get left behind.

You get greasy skin and clogged pores when you don’t exfoliate your face — and dry, cracked heels when you don’t exfoliate your feet. The same thing happens with your ears; it just combines with the grease from your scalp and ears, and it’s a bit harder to clean, so it builds up.

Who Is At Risk For Ear Cheese?

Almost everyone with a piercing will get ear cheese at one time or another, but some people are at higher risk.

If you have new piercings that have just recently healed, you might be at higher risk, because your body may still be reacting to the new wound by producing extra skin cells.

You might also be at higher risk if you have earrings that you never take out, or if you are older, and your ear piercings are starting to stretch a bit.

How to avoid getting the funky earring smell?

  1. Take your earrings out when you exercise so that sweat does not get trapped in your piercings.
  2. Take your earrings out when you shower so that shampoo or other particles do not get trapped in your piercings.
  3. Wash your piercings and earrings with gentle soap and water or a saline solution a few times a week. Make sure to dry off your earrings and your piercings after cleaning them.

For more advice on how to properly care for ear piercings, read this blog post.

How to clean when my earrings smell?

Clean your piercings

Your skin secretes a natural oil called sebum which can mix with the dead cells in your piercings and cause a buildup. This buildup serves as a great environment for bacteria to thrive and hence you end up with a foul smell.
Cleaning your piercings regularly with warm water and soap can help prevent these buildups and keep your piercings fresh and clean.
If you are already suffering from a case of nasty smelling ear piercing then you can wash your earlobe under warm running water, using an anti-bacterial cleanser.

Clean your jewelry

Even if your ears are all clean, the sebum and oils can stick to the earrings and cause bacterial growth. This is particularly for people who wear artificial or junk jewelry. Make sure to clean your earrings once in a while to avoid smelly piercings. You can use anti-bacterial wipes to wipe the grime off your earrings.

Choose your Jewellery carefully

Many jewelry options for ear piercings such as studs can cause the dead cells to be trapped inside the piercing and cause ear infection. There is no room for movement and the bacteria stay trapped in there for long periods of time.

Try choosing rings that can move freely and hence can allow your skin to breathe.
Also, make sure to avoid metals that can cause allergic reactions.
Many people have allergic reactions to metals like nickel. This can cause the skin around the piercings to inflame and can be the beginning of an infection.

Do not over-clean your ears

In an effort to make their piercings bacteria-free, many people go overboard and end up irritating the sensitive skin on the earlobes. Any harsh chemicals present in the strong antibacterial agents can cause redness and inflammation of already sensitive skin. Your usual soap and warm water are enough to keep your piercings clean.

Apart from all these aforesaid measures, you must also ensure to take care of your piercings. Occasionally, after cleaning your ear piercings do not wear earrings and let your skin breathe for some time. Also, remember to remove your earrings before you go to sleep to avoid the foul smell especially if you wear artificial jewelry. This would also cut down the risk of infections.


There are certain cases in which you should be careful.

First of all, if it’s because of laziness, it is bad.

Second, if your skin is too sensitive, then you don’t want to leave them for too long.

Also, avoid wearing cheap fashion jewelry for too long.

Bacteria is every where.

The beauty of a lady is in her care about herself.

Wouldn’t be bad if you don’t care about an important part of your elegant body?


Let me make things clear before we get to the main answer.

Piercings and earring holes need attention and care.

I assume that you clean the holes daily.

To remain safe and sound, clean your earrings once a week especially if you wear the same pair all week.

Remove the earrings regularly to clean them. If you don’t you’ll have a buildup of tissue/debris that can be bad for your health. It will potentially lead to infection and other stuff that may end up very expensive.

It only takes 45 seconds a day, however guarantees that you’re going to stay away from painful infections and stuff.

So here’s my catch:

Under maintaining proper hygiene, yes, you can leave your earrings in.

There is absolutely no limitation on the time that you should wear them.

Your earrings should be made of fine metals such as silver and gold.

This way, you will make sure that you avoid any unwanted reactions.

You may damage your earrings.

Considering what I said, here are some earrings that you can leave all the time.

The round back of this stud earring is so comfortable even if you sleep with them. It’s got a hidden halo around it. This adds some details to it so it’s not boring.

You can leave them in pretty much all the time.

When it comes to leaving your earrings in for some time, a couple of factors come to a place that are important.

  • Shape and style (It must be comfortable and simple so it doesn’t snag)
  • Material (It must be adorable, durable, skin friendly and comfortable)
  • Security (You should make sure they’re secured in your ears and you don’t lose them)
  • Sparkle (This may not be the case for many, but it is for me)
  • Cuteness (If I don’t love it, then it’s not cute. If it’s not cute I don’t want it. If I don’t want it it’s not mine. I better wear something cute that I love all the time and makes me feel good)
  • Trend (This might not be the case for many. But I like being on the top of trends. At least I don’t wanna be outdated. My choice should also look attractive to others.)

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