Over the last two years, I’ve accumulated 14 new piercings with plans to get many more.

With each new piercing, I’ve developed new techniques and habits on how to keep them clean and healing normally.

How long does it take for a piercing to heal?

When getting a new piercing, your piercer will tell you that you are able to change the jewellery after about six weeks. This is because by then the swelling should have gone down enough enough for you to safely change the jewellery without disturbing the healing process.

However, in my experience it can take up to (and sometimes longer depending on how well you keep the piercing clean and any problems that may arise during the healing process) a year to fully heal to the point where the jewellery can be taken out without healing over fully.

How often should you clean a new piercing?

During the first few weeks, it is best to clean the piercing at least once a day. After a few weeks, you should be able to cut down on how often you clean it to a few times a week, as long as you ensure that there is no build up of dirt around the bar.

If the piercing shows any sign of infection, be sure to resume regular cleaning.

What should you clean a new piercing with?

I typically use a a rotating schedule of dilute hydrogen peroxide, warm salty water and plain hot water.

If you chose to use hydrogen peroxide, don’t use it every day as it can cause the skin around the piercing to dry out and can eventually become irritating.

I try to soak the new piercing in a salt water solution at least a few times a week.

However, sometimes I just clean the piercing with hot water to get rid of any crust forming on the bar.

For piercings inside the mouth be sure to not use salt water or hydrogen peroxide. Clean the piercing with alcohol free mouthwash (or if alcohol free isn’t available, be sure to dilute the mouthwash with water) as often as possible, especially after eating or smoking.

While a piercing is healing, try not to play with the bar when you’re not cleaning it. This may irritate the piercing and delay healing,  as well as being an infection risk if you’re hands aren’t clean.