The Piercing Gun

How To Clean Your Piercing

Sterile Saline (alcohol-free mouth rinse for oral)

Packaged sterile saline is a gentle, smart choice for piercing aftercare. Your body will heal a piercing without fancy oils or creams. A sterile saline will help remove ‘crusties’ and debris to keep your piercing clean while your body works its magic.

It’s very important to note that products like Tea Tree Oil / Alcohol / Peroxide are not designed for piercing aftercare and can result in significant irritation to a fresh piercing. We highly recommend avoiding use of these products! Sterile Saline for life!

  • Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason – This is important. Hands are pretty dirty!
  • Rinse your piercing with sterile saline twice a day (morning and night) to flush out any debris and cleanse the piercing site of any ‘crusties’. If you’re finding it difficult to remove any matter around the piercing, you can soak the site for 2-3 minutes with sterile saline to soften any ‘crusties’ making it easier to remove.
  • Leave it alone. This is all you need to do to keep your piercing clean!

We advise you to continue this daily routine for at least the first 3 months of your healing period.

What is normal 

Swelling / tenderness / redness will appear over the first 1-3 weeks, you can ice your piercing to help reduce swelling (5 minutes on, 5 minutes off). Some minor bleeding / bruising / discolouration is normal for the first week or so and not necessarily a sign of complication. Your piercing may remain in this state for around 4-6 weeks.

What to do

  • Do not touch your piercing unless you are cleaning it. It’s not necessary to twist or rotate your jewellery, this will only delay your healing.
  • Leave your initial jewellery in for the minimum healing time advised by your piercer.
  • Avoid bodies of water for at least the first month of healing. Pools, spas, bathtubs, lakes etc all harbour bacteria and can result in infection.
  • Do not sleep on your piercing! This puts a lot of pressure on your piercing and can cause healing complications (changing the angle of the piercing itself). Travel pillows that have an open ring in the centre are very useful for healing ear piercings.
  • Keep yourself healthy during the healing. Avoid big weekends or excessive stress. Your piercing will be a reflection of your general health!

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Specific area: Navel/Nipple 

  • Avoid tight clothing around the piercing. Again, this will put a lot of pressure / friction on the piercing and will cause healing complications.
  • Keep your navel piercing dry. When you get out of the shower, make sure there is no moisture around the piercing site.
  • No bodily fluids on healing wounds.
  • This piercing can take up to 6 months to settle.

Specific area: Oral

  • Rinse with sterile saline or alcohol-free mouth rinse for 30 seconds twice daily after eating, on top of this, rinse with cold water after each time you eat to help flush any food away from the piercing. Maintain good oral hygiene!
  • Avoid smoking and drinking during healing. This will lengthen your healing time and increase your risk of complications.
  • It’s important to down size your original bar after roughly 4 weeks. Swelling will subside significantly after this period and you need a proper fitting bar for optimal healing.

Specific area: Genital

  • Light bleeding is normal for the first week. If this persists, get in touch with your piercer.
  • Sex can resume when comfortable, roughly 4-6 weeks.
  • No unprotected sex during healing!
  • Shower before and after sexual activity during healing.
  • Avoid activities / clothing that put stress on the area. If it feels sore, stop whatever you’re doing.


  • Your piercing can have ups and downs, some recurring swelling or redness is normal but if it’s excessive or prolonged, get in touch with us to check it out.
  • During healing your piercing can get irritated. This can present itself as a bump around your piercing, this is not uncommon but it needs to be addressed (usually in person with your piercer).
  • If you fail to maintain good aftercare or downsize your post after the recommended time, you can experience unnecessary swelling or even a drastic change in the angle of your piercing.

Downsizing after initial swelling is important!

  • If you like your jewellery, leave it in place for at least the first 9-12 months! If you leave your jewellery out for an extended period of time, your piercing may close and you won’t be able to re-insert jewellery.

What To Avoid

  • Don't use Alcohol, Peroxide, Betadine, Tea Tree Oil or Hibiclens. These products are way too strong and will dry out your piercing significantly which increases healing complications.
  • Do not overclean your piercing. Cleaning more often than twice a day is not recommended. This will cause undue irritation to your piercing with excessive touching and possibly dry out your piercing.
  • Avoid sleeping on your piercing during healing! This is the number one piercing killer. This will cause severe irritation due to the pressure of being slept on and it will push your piercing to sit on an angle.
  • Don't hang charms or any object from your jewellery until the piercing is fully healed.
  • Avoid submerging your piercings in water such as pools, lakes and spas unless you feel confident that the water is clean enough for you and an open wound (Which is what your piercing is while it is healing). Most bodies of water contain large amounts of bacteria. If there is sea life, motor oil or children in the water it is not clean enough!
  • Exercise during healing is fine, just 'listen' to your body. Try to avoid activities that put undue stress on the area. Your own sweat and bodily fluids are not harmful to your piercing, provided you clean daily as directed. A saline rinse can be helpful during exercise or when in an environment where your piercing may be exposed to dirt, dust or sweat.

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These guidelines are based on a combination of vast professional experience, common sense, research and extensive clinical practice. This is not to be considered a substitute for medical advice from a doctor. However, be aware that many doctors have no specific training or experience regarding piercing and may not be educated on how best to assist you.