How To Clean A Nose Piercing

  • Written By Dan Hunter on July 15, 2018
    Last Updated: October 27, 2021

The most important thing you can do after getting a new nose piercing is to learn how to keep it clean.

Piercing aftercare should start from the day you have your procedure, and continued until your piercing has completely healed.

This article will give you all of the information you need to clean your nose piercing safely and effectively, so it heals as quickly as possible and ends up looking great.

You should clean your nose piercing at least twice a day with a saline rinse until it has fully healed, which can take up to 6 months. You can also make your own salt water solution if you’d prefer.

It’s also important to keep the original jewelry in place until the piercing wound has finished healing.

How To Clean A Nose Piercing

The first time cleaning your nose piercing may be the most difficult. You’ll likely still be feeling some pain, tenderness, and slight swelling in the area. However, cleaning will actually soothe the piercing and make it feel better by reducing inflammation.

When it comes to deciding what to clean your new piercing with, you can either buy a specialist piercing aftercare product which is designed to help speed up and improve healing, or you can make a solution up yourself, which is easy enough to do.

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.

If you’d prefer to create your own solution, here’s what to do:

Wash your hands

The first step every time you clean your piercing should be to wash your hands. You touch a lot of stuff throughout the day, and everything you touch introduces different types of bacteria onto your hands.

Rinse your hands well before proceeding. Some soaps can irritate a piercing. Be sure to dry your hands with a clean paper towel and not a dirty washcloth that may contain bacteria.

If you touch your nose piercing (again, an open wound), then you are setting up the potential for bacterial infection.

Prepare the salt water solution

You will be cleaning your nose piercing with saline, a.k.a. salt water. Nevertheless, you should not use just any salt water. You can purchase a prepared saline mixture from most piercing studios or order some online. Otherwise, you can make your own saline solution at home.

If you are making your own cleaning solution for your piercing, then it’s important to remember not to use iodized table salt. Instead, you should use a fine-grain sea salt. You can find sea salt at most grocery stores with the spices. To make your own saline solution, combine one cup of warm distilled water with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, and stir until the salt dissolves.

Whether you go with prepared saline or make your own, you should put the solution into a small bowl for cleaning your piercing.

Apply the saline to your piercing

You have two options for applying the saline solution to your nose piercing. The first is to just dip your nose into the bowl of saline. Hold your nose there for several seconds. Don’t try to hold your breath longer than you can. After a few seconds, take your nose out of the bowl to breathe. Then put it back in for a few more seconds. Repeat this process for about 3 minutes.

The other method is to dip a clean cotton ball in the bowl of saline. Next, hold the cotton ball on your nose piercing for about 3 minutes, occasionally re-wetting the cotton ball with fresh saline. If you go with this method, you may also want to purchase a bulb syringe so you can squirt some saline on the part of the piercing inside your nose.

Remove piercing crust

After either method, use a cotton swab dipped in saline to gently remove any crust that formed around the piercing, both on the outside and the inside of the nose. If some crust is stuck, don’t pull it or rub it roughly. Instead, try soaking the piercing again with saline until it loosens up and gently falls off.  Avoid being overly aggressive and damaging the area.


This step is optional, but it may help speed up healing time frames and prevent any crust from forming. Combine a small amount of unrefined coconut oil and tea tree oil, and use a cotton swab to apply it around the piercing.

Avoid irritants

You don’t need anything other than sterile saline to keep your new piercing clean. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol to clean the piercing. They dry out and irritate the surrounding skin, making it more difficult for the piercing to heal. Hydrogen peroxide delays wound healing by killing regenerating cells (just like it would kill dirty microbes – it non-selectively damages cells).

If you suspect an infection is setting in, you don’t need stronger antiseptics. Simply continue to be vigilant with the saline soaks and keep your hands away from the piercing and jewelry. Make sure your nutrition is impeccable to provide nourishment and the support your body needs to heal well.

Do not apply antibiotic ointment, which interferes with fluid discharge. Discharge is your body’s way of clearing out the bacteria and infection.

Why Cleaning Your Nose Piercing Is So Important

Getting the actual procedure done is a simple process that takes just a few minutes. It’s the nose piercing aftercare that requires weeks of dedication to ensure that you get a piercing you’re happy with for the long term.

A reputable body piercer will make sure that their equipment, the jewelry, and the area getting pierced are all cleaned or sterilized prior to performing the piercing. Although, it’s up to you to continue good hygiene thereafter.

Keeping your nasal piercing clean helps to prevent infections from arising. Remember that any new piercing is essentially just an open wound. Bacteria can easily enter the wound and potentially cause an infection.

If you get an infected nose piercing, it’s going to take longer for your piercing to heal properly. Infections can also lead to further complications such as nose bumps and scarring, and can eventually require you to see a doctor to get prescribed antibiotics.

It’s also just not fun to deal with blood or other discharge from your nose when what you really wanted was a unique looking body modification.

So to get started on the right foot, you should go ahead and clean your nose piercing the same day you get it.

You’ll probably notice some clear discharge or a little blood, and that is perfectly normal for a fresh piercing, but you don’t want to leave that stuff on your nose because it will dry and form a crust that can both attract bacteria and cause a permanent scar if you pick it off.

How Often Should You Clean Your Nose Piercing?

During the healing period, which can take up to 6 months for a typical nostril piercing, you should clean your piercing twice every day.

Cleaning more than twice in one day can dry out the skin around your piercing and cause irritation. You want to avoid anything that could lead to irritation because that may set you up for an infection.

Cleaning less than twice a day, however, may allow bacteria to build up in the piercing, which of course also poses an infection threat.

If you miss one cleaning, it’s not the end of the world, but you should aim to complete two cleanings on most days. If you forget one, don’t clean more than normal time the next day. Just go ahead with the usual twice a day schedule.

Making a nose piercing cleaning routine a part of your existing routine will make it easier to remember. For example, when you brush your teeth in the morning and when you’re preparing for bed at night are common times that are easy to remember for piercing care.

More healing tips on our other nose piercing pages here.

When Can I Stop Cleaning My Nose Piercing?

You can stop following a twice a day aftercare schedule with saline once your nose piercing is entirely healed.

Again, that can take up to 6 months, or even more for some types of nose piercings, like a rhino piercing. However, you should continue to clean the piercing regularly even after it is fully healed.

After the healing process is complete, you don’t need saline soaks unless you injure your piercing or suspect something has irritated it, but you should wash the piercing with mild soap and water. Cetaphil gentle cleanser is a good choice.

This will prevent the buildup of oil and skin cells, which can produce odor from within the piercing.

To clean the piercing after it is healed, remove your jewelry first. On the contrary, never remove jewelry from a nose piercing that is not completely healed.

How To Clean Your Nose Piercing Jewelry

When you take out your nose jewelry to clean the piercing, you should also go ahead and clean the jewelry. Ensure you know how to take out and put in a nose piercing correctly first.

Cleaning the jewelry prevents the same oil and skin cell buildup from forming on the ring or post of the jewelry, and if your piercing is injured, having clean jewelry can help prevent an infection from forming.

To clean the jewelry, rub it with a mild soap and rinse thoroughly. Allow the jewelry to dry before replacing it.

Don’t leave the jewelry out for too long, as this increases the chance of your nose piercing closing up.

You should also clean the jewelry during the healing phase. You cannot take out your jewelry during this time, but you can rub a bit of mild soap on the visible part of the jewelry during your shower or when you wash your face. Again, rinse it well and try not to rub soap into the piercing.

Your nose piercing can get infected at any time, even if it is fully healed. Any time the piercing is injured or the skin around it is irritated, tiny tears can form, and bacteria can get into those small sores.

Cleaning your jewelry and the piercing regularly prevents those types of complications.

Choosing a good quality metal for your piercing can also help to prevent any undesirable effects, which can occur when using a more budget type of jewelry metal.


Nose piercing aftercare, including cleaning, should begin the day you get your new piercing. It’s simple to follow. You just use a sea salt water solution to gently clean, disinfect, and remove crusts.

Do this twice a day until your piercing has completely healed. Do not remove jewelry when cleaning your nose piercing during the healing phase, and always wash your hands before touching the jewelry or nose piercing wound.