How To Clean An Industrial Piercing

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 16, 2019
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Gaining popularity in the ’90s, industrial piercings are defined by two piercing holes — customarily in the forward and outer helix cartilage connected by a long barbell.

We’re here to teach you the best methods for cleaning and healing your new industrial piercing.

Your cleaning regimen is going to focus around at least one of the following:

  • Saline solution
  • Piercing care products
  • Chamomile tea compress

Two Piercing Holes Equal More Sensitivity 

Industrial piercings can take from 6 months up to 1 year to completely heal. Accidental bumps can be a shock to the nerves, and, when paired with negligent cleaning, this can increase the healing time past one year.

If you experience any issues after the industrial piercing’s fully healed, it’s because they’re very sensitive and alter quickly. Keep an eye on it, revisit our cleaning routine and tips, and it’ll improve.

What to Use for an Industrial Piercing

The best cleaning solutions are the most simple and even can save you a trip to the store with our DIY solutions.

Store-Bought Product

These healing products contain a simple solution in a ready-to-use package. Perfect for those who’d rather not mix together their own solution.

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.​

DIY Sterile Saline

Saline solution is easily made at home and a much better option for piercings than the store-bought options, which can have additives that irritate your piercing:

  1. Dissolve ½ teaspoon of non-iodized salt into a pot of one cup of boiling water 
  2. Stir until completely dissolved and let it boil for 15 minutes
  3. Let it cool to room temperature
  4. Pour it into a sterilized jar
  5. Repeat the above steps when you run out of solution

Method of Cleaning your Industrial Piercing

Repeat this method every 6 hours for the first week and then twice daily for the rest of the healing period.

To clean, you may need:

  • Q-tips
  • Solution of choice
  • Clean hands washed with antimicrobial soap
  1. Hygiene: Wash hands regularly, especially before and after handling your piercing
  2. Adjust: Carefully press the bar across the holes — one ball will be resting against the ear, and on the other side, the bar will be showing
  3. Soak: Saturate a q-tip in solution
  4. Clean: Gently circle both holes and the bar in the middle. If you find scabbing, continue to clean the area without intentionally removing the scabs. If they fall off on their own, don’t worry, this is normal
  5. Re-adjust: Gently push the bar to the other side and repeat the same process with a new, clean q-tip
  6. Last touches: Center the bar and do one last swab with the solution
  7. Clean up: Dispose of the waste and wash your hands

Extra Aftercare Chamomile Compress

Every few days, replace one of your daily cleanse with an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and soothing chamomile compress. It draws out fluids that can create a swollen environment by gently removing any built-up pollutants:

  1. Purchase chamomile tea-bags — ensuring they’re caffeine and flavoring-free
  2. Steep in a cup of boiled water. Great news — you can make yourself a relaxing tea at the same time
  3. Remove the bag from the hot water
  4. While it’s as hot as you can stand, place it on the piercing and keep pressure until the bag is cold

Tips for Daily Life

Daily activities can lead to undesirable irritation of your piercing. Here are some of the tips to be mindful of.


  • Sleeping: Sleep on the opposite ear for the first few weeks. Hopefully, you didn’t choose to get both ears adorned, as then you’ll need to sleep on your back. This limits the pressure on the piercing and gives it air to heal the wound 
  • Long Hair: For the ones with beautiful, long hair — tying it up and away from the pierced area will prevent the annoying untangling from the barbell
  • Self-care: Have caution when brushing your hair. Hold the hair near your pierced ear gently while moving the brush through. The same goes for washing your hair and face


  • Touching: Touching, rubbing or fiddling with your piercing unless necessary for cleaning or healing
  • Chemicals: Use hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to clean your piercings as they dry out the area and slow down the healing
  • Bodily fluids: Contact with bodily fluids at the area of your piercing can introduce new bacteria and create an infection 
  • Water: Submerging your ear in a body of water for the first few weeks — pools, lakes, oceans, and baths, included — these are breeding grounds for bacteria
  • Changing jewelry: Removing or changing your jewelry. Always consult a professional before removing your piercing for the first time
  • Rigorous movement: It’s best to plan to get industrial piercings when you’re free from any sporting commitment — especially contact ones. You want to reduce the chance for knocks to the piercing

Infection Detection

Infections are the biggest concern for all piercings and are the primary reason we need to be diligent in our cleaning routine. With industrial piercings, it doesn’t take much for the bacteria to create an unwanted environment. 

In the first 3–7days, it’s normal to have:

  • Swelling
  • White liquid secretion
  • Light bleeding resulting in scabbing around the holes
  • Pain similar to what it felt like when obtaining the piercing

If an infection is present, you may observe the following:

  • Ongoing swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Non-stop pain
  • Thick, yellow or smelling discharge
  • Burning and heat

If you suspect an infection, it’s best to get a physician’s opinion and act on the treatment as soon as possible.

Keep the Industrial Piercing Clean

Industrial piercings can be a great bold statement piece, and you’ll feel relief when you realize it’s fully healed. By keeping an eye on your piercing and with daily cleaning, you can easily prevent infection, quicken-up the healing process and confidently flaunt your industrial piercing.

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