How To Clean A Tongue Piercing

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 21, 2019
    Last Updated: November 28, 2020

Cleaning a tongue piercing may sound like a challenge. You might be thinking: the piercing is in my mouth, dangerously close to my taste buds, so surely anything I use to clean it will taste horrible, or be swallowed instantly! This isn’t the case…


Tongue piercings are one of the fastest healing body piercings. The saliva surrounding it in your mouth has antibacterial properties and can speed up your piercing’s healing process. Looking after your tongue piercing is mainly about maintaining good general oral and dental hygiene.

Keep your tongue piercing clean by:

  • Maintaining good dental hygiene
  • Using a non-alcoholic mouthwash
  • Soaking it in a salt-water solution
  • Avoiding certain types of food and drink

Cleaning Tips

A tongue piercing, like any other piercing, is an open wound and needs to be cleaned to avoid infection. When it comes to tongue piercings, because of their unique location, there aren’t really any special creams that you have to use. Instead, it’s much simpler!

Cleaning your tongue piercing doesn’t involve any complex procedures. Just do the following to help keep your new piercing spick and span and free of infection:

  • Gently brush your teeth and tongue daily
  • Use a non-alcoholic mouthwash to rinse out your mouth
  • Dab some salt and warm water solution onto your piercing twice a day – either homemade or store-bought

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.

A tongue piercing, as a new, foreign body in your mouth, may increase your saliva production. Saliva helps to kill bacteria and may also prevent infection, but you mustn’t solely rely on your saliva to clean your tongue piercing.

How Long Does a Tongue Piercing Take to Heal?

Tongue piercings can take roughly six to eight weeks to heal, but this varies from person to person and depends on how well you look after it. Avoid touching your piercing, as this can hinder its healing process and increase its chances of infection.

It’s normal for your tongue piercing to experience swelling, soreness, tenderness, and excretion of white fluid after you get it done. After all, your tongue is a muscular organ.

This may impact your ability to speak correctly and eat certain foods, but these side effects will subside as your piercing heals. Placing some ice on the piercing and letting it melt there can help reduce the swelling.

What to Avoid After Getting a Tongue Piercing

Unfortunately, having a tongue piercing does also mean making a few necessary sacrifices.

To help your tongue piercing heal, you should try to avoid:

  • Kissing: Oral contact with another person’s saliva, such as kissing, for at least four weeks.
  • Warm drinks: Drinking warm beverages for the week after you get your tongue pierced.
  • Harsh foods: Eating spicy, sticky or acidic foods for the first week getting your piercing.
  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol for the first week that your piercing is healing.
  • Smoking: Smoking tobacco for the week after you get your piercing done.
  • Fizzy drinks: Drinking carbonated beverages for three to four days, as this breaks the seal forming around your piercing.
  • Straws: Drinking through straws during your piercing’s healing process.
  • Talking: Talking too much for the first few days after getting pierced; this may be difficult if you’re a total chatterbox!
  • Touching the piercing: Playing around with your tongue piercing, fiddling with it, sticking your tongue out, rolling it along your teeth or lips, as this may irritate it.
  • Taking the piercing out: A tongue piercing can close up extremely quickly, especially when new.

Spotting Infection

When your tongue piercing is healing, it’s essential to keep an eye out for any signs of infection. These include:

  • Pus: Discharge or pus that’s yellow or green
  • Bleeding: Excessive or recurrent bleeding
  • Prolonged swelling: Swelling that doesn’t subside after some time, seems to get worse or hinders your ability to talk or swallow
  • Soreness: Redness that’s accompanied by pain or a fever
  • Abnormal coloring: Discoloration of your tongue

If you’re unsure as to whether your tongue piercing is showing signs of infection, speak to your doctor or pay another visit to your piercer.

Keep it Clean!

Maintaining good oral and dental hygiene is key to ensuring your tongue piercing doesn’t become infected. We advise that you brush your teeth and tongue gently twice a day, rinse your mouth out with a non-alcoholic mouthwash, and dab your tongue piercing with a salt-water soak to keep it clean.

It’s also very important to keep your tongue piercing jewelry clean when it comes to the time that you begin to take it out and switch it to different styles.

Avoid certain foods and drinks, such as alcohol and spicy food, to ensure that your tongue piercing heals properly. Also, try to avoid smoking, talking too much or fiddling with your piercing, especially in the beginning stages of its healing process, as these can all irritate it. Keep an eye out for any signs of infection, and if in doubt, contact your doctor or piercer.