Why Are My Earrings Turning Black?

Earrings turning black happens due to tarnish a corrosion layer forming on the metal over time after exposure to air, skin oils, hair products, perfumes. These cause silver, gold and other metals to react. This buildup of tarnish dulls shine and luster. Gently cleaning the earrings removes the layer, restoring sparkle.

Earrings darken over time. Skin oils, perfumes, shampoos all cause a reaction. Silver and gold both affected, losing luster and shine. Why are my earrings turning black? Tarnish builds up, the metal reacts. Cleaning helps remove this coating.

Tarnish causes the blackening. Air oxygen interacts with silver, gold, and other jewelry metals, such as earrings with a split earlobe. Exposure to perfumes, lotions, makeup, and skin oils speeds up tarnish forming. More exposure quickens darkening. Safe storage slows the process. But a polishing cloth cleans, removing tarnish easily.

Key Takeaways

  • Earrings turn black due to oxidation and exposure to chemicals.
  • Low-quality metals and acidic skin can accelerate tarnishing.
  • Proper storage and regular cleaning can prevent tarnish buildup.

There are Some Primary Causes of Earrings Turning Black?

Earrings turn black mainly due to oxidation and chemical reactions. Metals like silver react with oxygen and sulfur, forming a dark layer. Chemicals from lotions, perfumes, or sweat can speed up tarnishing. 

Low-quality materials or acidic skin can worsen the issue. Storing earrings in humid or sunny places can also accelerate tarnishing. Cleaning them regularly and storing them properly can help prevent blackening. Adding protective layers like rhodium plating can offer further protection.


Exposure to air and moistureFormation of tarnish layer
Reaction with sulfur compoundsDarkening or discoloration
Contact with chemicals (e.g., perfumes)Accelerated oxidation process
Low-quality metalsIncreased susceptibility to oxidation
Skin pHInfluence on tarnishing rate

Oxidation happens when metals like silver react with air and sulfur, forming a black tarnish. It’s common with earrings made of sterling silver. Exposure to chemicals like lotions and perfumes speeds up this process. To prevent it, clean your earrings regularly and store them in a dry place away from sunlight.

Chemical Reactions

Chemicals in lotions, perfumes, and sweat react with metal earrings, causing them to turn black. This reaction speeds up tarnishing, especially with low-quality metals. To prevent this, clean your earrings regularly with a jewelry cleaning solution. Store them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight to slow down oxidation.

Poor Quality or Plated Earrings

Poor Quality or Plated Earrings

If your earrings are turning black quickly, they might be poor quality or plated. Poor-quality metals react with air and sweat, causing tarnish. Plated earrings can tarnish when the plating wears off. Check for signs of wear on the earrings, such as flaking or discoloration. Invest in higher quality earrings or have plated ones re-plated to avoid this issue.

The Body Chemistry

The body’s chemistry can make earrings turn black. Metals react with air and sweat, causing oxidation. Chemicals like lotions and perfumes speed up tarnishing. Storing them in a dry place helps prevent it.

Tips for Keeping your Earrings Looking New

Keeping your earrings looking new requires regular care and maintenance. Here are some tips to help you maintain the beauty and shine of your earrings.

Store them properly: Store your earrings in a jewelry box or pouch to prevent them from getting scratched or tangled with other jewelry. You can also use individual compartments or small zip-lock bags to keep them separated and organized.

Clean them regularly: Clean your earrings regularly to remove dirt, oils, and buildup that can dull their shine. Use a soft cloth or a jewelry cleaning solution specifically designed for the type of metal or gemstone your earrings are made of. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage delicate materials.

Avoid exposure to chemicals: Remove your earrings before swimming, showering, or using any beauty products such as lotions, perfumes, or hairsprays. Chemicals in these products can tarnish metals and damage gemstones over time.

Be gentle with them: Handle your earrings with care to avoid bending, scratching, or breaking them. When putting them on or taking them off, hold them by the stud or hook rather than pulling on the delicate parts.

Protect them from damage: Avoid wearing your earrings while engaging in activities that could cause damage, such as sports, gardening, or heavy lifting. Store them safely when not in use to prevent accidental damage or loss.

Regular maintenance checks: Inspect your earrings periodically for any signs of damage or loose parts. If you notice any issues, such as loose stones or bent posts, have them repaired by a professional jeweler to prevent further damage.

Rotate your earrings: If you have multiple pairs of earrings, rotate them regularly to prevent excessive wear and tear on any one pair. This also allows you to enjoy all of your earrings and keeps them looking new for longer.

Store Earrings Properly

To keep your earrings looking their best, store them properly. Choose a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Avoid storing them in humid areas. Consider using anti-tarnish strips or airtight containers. Regularly clean your earrings to prevent tarnishing.

Keep them Away from Moisture

To keep your earrings shining, it’s crucial to shield them from moisture. Moisture speeds up tarnishing, making your earrings turn black faster. Store them in a dry place, away from humidity, like a jewelry box. Moisture can come from water exposure or even humid air, so it’s best to keep them dry.

Avoid Direct Contact with Cosmetics

To prevent tarnishing, keep earrings away from cosmetics. Chemicals in lotions and perfumes speed up oxidation. Store earrings in a dry place to avoid moisture. Regularly clean them to maintain shine and prevent blackening.

Clean them Regularly

To keep your earrings looking their best, make sure to clean them regularly. Use a jewelry cleaning solution or a polishing cloth to gently remove any tarnish or buildup. Pay special attention to areas where dirt and oils tend to accumulate. By cleaning your earrings often, you can prevent them from turning black and maintain their shine for longer.

Handle your Earrings with Clean Hands

Handle Your Earrings With Clean Hands

When handling your earrings, always start with clean hands. Dirt and oils from your fingers can transfer to the metal, leading to tarnishing. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your earrings. This simple step helps maintain the shine and appearance of your jewelry for longer.

Avoid Excessive Force

When handling objects, including delicate ones, avoid using excessive force. Gentle handling prevents damage and prolongs their lifespan. Forceful actions can lead to breakage or distortion, often irreparably. Treat items with care to maintain their integrity and functionality.

Polish your Earrings Regularly

Make sure to polish your earrings regularly. Use a jewelry cleaning solution or a polishing cloth. This helps prevent them from turning black. Keep them in a cool, dry place when not wearing them.

Rotate your Earrings

To prevent your earrings from turning black, rotate them often. Oxygen and sulfur in the air react with metals, causing tarnish. Chemicals like perfumes and lotions can speed up the process. Keep them in a dry place away from sunlight to slow oxidation.

How to Clean Earrings that Turned Black?

How to Clean Earrings that Turned Black?

To clean earrings that turned black, start by mixing mild dish soap with warm water. Then, gently scrub the earrings using a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove tarnish and dirt. Rinse them thoroughly with clean water and dry them completely with a soft cloth.

For stubborn tarnish, create a paste using baking soda and water, then apply it to the earrings with a soft cloth. Rub the paste onto the earrings, focusing on the tarnished areas, and rinse them clean. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or rough materials that could scratch the metal. Regular cleaning and proper storage can help prevent earrings from turning black in the future.

Prevent Silver From Turning Black

To prevent silver from turning black, start by storing it in a dry, cool place away from sunlight. Clean your silver jewelry regularly using a mild soap and warm water. Dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth after cleaning. 

Avoid exposing your silver to harsh chemicals like perfumes and hairsprays. Consider using anti-tarnish strips or pouches when storing your silver items. Finally, if your silver jewelry tarnishes easily, consider getting it plated with a protective layer of rhodium or gold.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get black marks off earrings?

To clean black marks off earrings, use warm soapy water and a soft toothbrush. Scrub gently, rinse, and dry thoroughly. Consider a jewelry cleaning solution for stubborn stains and store them in a dry place afterward.

Why do my earrings go black and smell?

Your earrings turn black and smell due to oxidation. Chemicals like lotions and sweat can speed up this process, causing discoloration and odor.

Is it safe to wear tarnished earrings?

Tarnished earrings can be worn safely but may cause skin irritation in some. Check for allergies or sensitivities before wearing. Clean them regularly to prevent reactions and maintain their appearance.


Tarnish builds up on earrings over time. Oxygen, moisture, skin oils, hair products interact with silver and other metals. This causes a chemical reaction. Dull black corrosion forms. The tarnish layer grows and spreads. Cleaning removes tarnish and restores shine.

Prevent future tarnishing through proper earring care. Store pieces in soft cloth pouches after wearing. This protects from exposure. Limit applying perfume, lotion, hair products while wearing. Tarnish builds slower with less exposure to reactive chemicals. Handle gently to avoid scratches that allow faster tarnishing.

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