Smelly Ears

We have all been there.  While we stretch our ears we notice a little bit of a stink.  Some are lucky to never have this problem, but this article is for the people with ear stank.

The stink in your ear comes from dead skin and an oil produced by your skin called sebum.  The sebum and the dead skin get trapped in your piercings if you constantly keep your plugs / tunnels in.  It is a result of sebum and dead skin being trapped in your hole.  

smelly ears gauged

How to fix the stinky ears
The best way to fix this issue is to do the same thing that you do with the rest of your body.  Shower and clean.    You do not need to do this constantly.  Too much cleaning could lead to irritation and possible infection... so maybe just 2-3 times a week.  You might also want to let your ear breathe.  Take the plugs or hangers out of your ears and wash them. Wash with warm water and use soap (just like you do in a shower :)    Some type of moisturizer on your ears can also be helpful.

The odor will be stronger while you are stretching your ears.  This is because the ear is trying to heal and will produce more sebum and dead skin.  When you get to your desired ear gauge you will notice less of an odor.

The second half of stinky ears
The other part of the smell is the plug itself.  The skin cells and sebum can also be collected on the actual plug.  This is also easily solved by keeping your plugs clean.  Use natural oils such as jojoba.

Wood plugs reduce ear odor?

The best material to use is organic material.  Use bone, horn, or wood plugs.  Wood plugs allow your piercings to breathe.  This allows your ears and plugs to collect less dead skin and sebum.  This means less odor.  Other materials will increase the odor of your ears.

swan stretched ear plugs


What is your story?  Do you have a good story about stinky ears?  Do you have a good remedy on how to reduce the smell?  Comment below.

14 comments

  • Cat

    Was making out with a guy I was thinking of getting more involved with and I kept smelling a certain smell. I remember thinking he didn’t have the right pheromones for me but I had never encountered a guy who had a funky kind of mildly putrid smell. I finally figured out it was coming form his ear gauges. He had large ones and one fell out even and his ear lobes looked awful. Next time, he came to my house, and we were looking at my books, and I guess his gauge fell out again. Next day he asked if I had found it. Not thinking much of it, I picked it up and it was all oily and sticky. I was so grossed out and won’t be dating him (for other reasons as well.) That putrid smell was a bit much for me and I’m not going to tell some guy he needs to clean his ears. 46 years old and his gauges are falling out probably because of age too and more natural stretching. Anyway, I felt like washing my hands 10 different times that day. Such a turn off. And they were wood too.

  • Bella York

    I have had stretched lobes for about 12 years. Started when i was 16, stretched very fast cause i was a glutton for pain, and eventually settled on a 00g. I love them. It has been a journey, however. My skin is verrrrrry sensitive. When i was about 17, i got particularly loaded one night, and both my plugs fell out. In the morning, i went searching for them and found them in a pile of muddy leaves. Not one of my best moments, but something possesed me to put them straight back into my ears. Yuck. Needless to say, they got extremely infected. The gland behind both of my ears swelled and leaked, the result was extremely wet, crusty, smelly lobes. I had to take out my plugs and let my ear holes shrink back to regular size. That is my favorite part of a 00g, if ever you need to take them out, your ears WILL go back to normal. You can wear regular earrings after a couple months. It took a few more tries at stretching and infecting, but i finally decided to try bone and wood plugs, instead of acrylic, and natural material plugs are the only reason i was able to successfully stretch my ears again after that stupid, stupid decision i made. My ears still get that cheesy stank only stretched lobes and belly buttons can produce. But as with anything stinky, good washing and drying routines are a great remedy. Also, NO ONE can smell your ear stank. Unless they put their finger into your ear hole or take your plug out and physically smell it, it’s not ever going to be noticable. So darlings, the takeaway is this: if you ever lose your plug(s), WASH THEM BEFORE REINSERTING! Clean regularly, as you would any body part. Keep calm, and guage on! <3

  • Jem

    A distinct paranoia of stretching lol. I think most forget that even when you ever first have your ears pierced, that this can be an issue. Like with any piercing/body modification hygiene is so important. However it is also a natural part of healing so just stop sniffing and just do the minimum that’s needed to reduce bacteria build up

  • Rachael Young

    Alright, so people freak out about this topic. Unless you have very, very poor hygiene no one will be able to smell your ears. Of course, if you touch your lobes and then sniff your fingertips you’ll smell that cheesy smell.
    First of all, don’t let this be a turn off for stretching your ears. Even with new, healing piercings you will suffer the smell.
    Bottom line is just clean, clean, CLEAN. If you take a shower, allow the water to run over your ears. Hold your hair back and allow the water to just flow.
    My morning routine of cleaning my face consists of me removing my jewelry and cleaning it. With the towel I used on my face I will rinse it clean and pat my lobes. Use Jojoba oil on my lobes and cleaned jewelry, insert, and go about my day.
    Just clean your stretched ears and jewelry. Having stretched ears or piercings requires good hygiene otherwise you’re inviting infections.
    Now do some research on different organic materials. Some are better than others when it comes to keeping down the smell. But again your stretched ears are not going to be just reeking and flowing with stench.
    If that were the case I doubt anyone would stretch their ears.

  • Jade

    Definitely do not use Vasoline as a lubricant. It’s made of disgusting crap and PETROL. Not only that, it does NOT let your skin breathe.
    I use Vitamin E or Jojoba. If you’re using cheap jewelry, stop. Invest in your ears. Having jewelry cut out because you can’t take care of yourself is not cool…and the antiseptic and pills they will give you in the ER is way more expensive than $30 in a pair of organic plugs and $6 in oil.
    I clean my metal with regular soap and water and a soft cloth. No brushes or rough stuff. A minor scratch can be magnified with putting jewelry back in.

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