How to stop your stretched out ears from stinking

Ear stretching has been practiced for hundreds of years by indigenous peoples for various rituals in countries such as Africa, Europe, and more recently in North America and Europe. Ear lift essentially involves widening a healed hole in the earlobe and placing a plug or tunnel into the pierced hole. Choosing to stretch your ears gives you a personal responsibility to properly care for your piercing. Stinky ear plugs, commonly known as ear cheese, are caused by dead skin cells that form inside the stretched-out earlobe and collect on the plug. Ear cheese is a combination of dead skin cells and shampoo/soap products that come together to form a disgusting, smelly discharge. Once this happens, you will need to take the following steps to remove this horrendous stench from your ears.

Step 1- Cleaning your plugs

Remove plugs and wash carefully in a sink with lukewarm water. Use mild liquid soap to wash all sides and clean the jewelry well. When you’re done, use a paper towel to blot dry and keep covered. Be sure not to leave it in the shower or sink as possible recontamination can occur. For organic stoppers like wood, specialty oils like JoJoba can help properly clean specialty materials.

Step 2- Cleaning the earlobes

First, lather both hands with warm water and clean with antibacterial soap. Then, in a circular motion, use one finger to rub the inside of your stretched out earlobe. Be sure to rub and clean all the dead skin cells on your earlobe with plenty of water and antibacterial soap. If your lobes aren’t big enough for your finger, try using a cotton swab to clean the insides. Be sure to completely dry the earlobes inside and out with a new, clean paper towel to prevent bacteria from getting trapped.

Step 3 – Reinsert Plugs

Once the inside of the earlobes have been cleaned and dried, immediately reinsert the plugs into the stretched earlobes. Recently cleaned earplugs and ear jewelry can easily collect bacteria while air-drying in sinks or showers, so it’s important to do it quickly. Wipe off any remaining water around your piercing with a clean cloth or paper towel. If your earlobes need lubrication when you reinsert the plugs, try massaging them with vitamin E oil.

Many cleaning agents such as alcohol and hydrogen peroxide can be too harsh to pierce and stretch your ears. We recommend soaking your piercings and plugs 1-2 times a day in a mild saline solution of warm water and iodine-free sea salt. Following these easy-to-do steps daily can prevent stretched, stinky ears and stop ear cheese.

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