When you first get a piercing you are usually so hopped up on adrenaline that you probably miss most of what your piercer is saying regarding cleaning. Some (the good ones, anyway) will give you an after care sheet to take home. What to do when you’ve been home a couple of days and can’t seem to find your after care sheet? Have no fear, help is here!
First things first: Wash your hands!
Good Ol’ Soap and Water
Yes, it’s true. You can clean your new (or old) piercing with a mild soap and water. Studies have shown that antibacterial soaps are not any more effective than a regular soap so I wouldn’t bother paying for a “fancy” soap. Just use what you’ve got on hand and you should be good. Use a q-tip to remove any crust that may have formed around the lip jewelry. Take a little dab of soap and some water to get it to lather up. Rub the soap around your piercing. Rinse well. While washing, pull the jewelry back and forth in the piercing to get any crusties out that may still be inside and also to get the soap down in there. Just be sure to do the same thing with plain water to get the soap out.
There are a few uses for sea salt when you get a new piercing. You can soak your piercing in a sea salt bath to relieve redness, swelling and pain. With piercings in your mouth you can swish a sea salt and water mixture around in your mouth. It may sting a little but will help keep things clean. Just be sure not to swallow any of the mix. Yuck!
Wash it Out
After eating or drinking, you can use a mild mouth wash to keep your piercing clean. If you only have a strong mouthwash available then I recommend diluting it with some water. A strong mouthwash could cause some intense burning in a fresh piercing.
If your piercer has given you a bottle of cleaning solution, you can always just use that. However, if you feel that you need something more than the solution, the three options above can work for you. It should be noted that there are also a few things that you should NOT use to clean a lip piercing. Alcohol, Bactine, or Hydrogen Peroxide should not be used to clean piercings. If your piercing looks like it may be infected, see your doctor. You may need antibiotics and no amount of soap and water will wash that out.