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Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?
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Author:  Rhizopus Oligosporus [ Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:59 am ]
Post subject:  Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

I've seen some pierced earrings I like at the second hand store. But I've never bought them because I'm not sure how dangerous it might be to use them. If I boiled them or soaked them in alcohol, or both (not at the same time!) would that make them safe?
Now that I've asked this question, I think I might be to weirded out to use them even if everyone says it will be safe!

Author:  baps [ Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

If they've been sterilised then yeah I'd say they're fine. I think I'd want them auto-claved though for my own peace of mind!

Author:  erynne936 [ Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

As long as they look like they are in good shape and not yucky I would sterilize with alcohol and wear them.

Author:  supercarrot [ Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

you can use your pressure cooker as a makeshift autoclave. (soak them in alcohol and scrub them beforehand for extra sanitation.)

Author:  Mars [ Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

Heh funny. I wouldn't even blink an eye with giving them a quick alcohol bath and calling it good. It's interesting to me that so many of you seem to feel otherwise!

Author:  Veg_Eric [ Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

erynne936 wrote:
As long as they look like they are in good shape and not yucky I would sterilize with alcohol and wear them.


Alcohol isn't always enough for sterilization. See page 10 http://whqlibdoc.who.int/aids/WHO_AIDS_2.pdf

Best way seems to be to boil or steam the items.

Author:  booberthefraggle [ Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

Mars wrote:
Heh funny. I wouldn't even blink an eye with giving them a quick alcohol bath and calling it good. It's interesting to me that so many of you seem to feel otherwise!


^^
I'm gross ad unsafe though so.

Author:  shortbus [ Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

A piercing/tattoo shop would autoclave them, probably for free if you know them, but at most for $5. Keep in mind that if they're intricate and could have dirt or other crepe lodged down in there, that it could harbor nasties that could survive an autoclave.

And for the record, Hep-C is considerably harder to kill than HIV. It can survive for months in dried blood.

Author:  Beanitarian [ Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

Depending on how they are made, you could possibly remove the backs or hooks and add new ones. I would still clean them with alcohol first. I'd say that's really the only home method I would trust, assume these are from a thrift store or similar, not from a trusted friend or family member.

Author:  erynne936 [ Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

Veg_Eric wrote:
erynne936 wrote:
As long as they look like they are in good shape and not yucky I would sterilize with alcohol and wear them.


Alcohol isn't always enough for sterilization. See page 10 http://whqlibdoc.who.int/aids/WHO_AIDS_2.pdf

Best way seems to be to boil or steam the items.


wow, it would never have occurred to me to worry about getting aids from used earrings. hm.

Author:  EllaGuru [ Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

I buy used earrings all the time, never realized I was so gross. For the record i just wash with dish soap and then rubbing alcohol.

Author:  Rhizopus Oligosporus [ Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

shortbus wrote:
Keep in mind that if they're intricate and could have dirt or other crepe lodged down in there, that it could harbor nasties that could survive an autoclave.

And for the record, Hep-C is considerably harder to kill than HIV. It can survive for months in dried blood.

You know, I think I have better thins to do than lie awake worrying about this and it's just not worth bothering with thrift store earrings.

Author:  Disappearing Ink [ Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

Surely a fully healed pierced ear is closed skin, not an open wound? Or am I being obtuse here?

That said, I don't think I'd wear second hand earrings, not because I'd be worried about catching anything, just because they would have been in a stranger's ear holes, and that's a bit gross.

Author:  torque [ Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

i would have said soak in 10% bleach overnight, but having just read VegEric's link, i see that some things seem to have changed (or my memory has crapped out) since I learned that. I thought that was the sterilizing needles mixture?? apparently it would degrade many of the metals used in the earrings, though, so it probably wouldn't be great.

Author:  shortbus [ Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

Rhizopus Oligosporus wrote:
shortbus wrote:
Keep in mind that if they're intricate and could have dirt or other crepe lodged down in there, that it could harbor nasties that could survive an autoclave.

And for the record, Hep-C is considerably harder to kill than HIV. It can survive for months in dried blood.

You know, I think I have better thins to do than lie awake worrying about this and it's just not worth bothering with thrift store earrings.


Well, it's all about risk. Could you get something from a used earring? Absolutely. Is it very likely? Probably not? If that's a level of risk you're comfortable with then go for it.

Author:  Rowan [ Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

There's never been a reported case of HIV from a cold needle....I'm going to guess the same is true for earrings.

Author:  acr [ Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

you guys make me feel so reckless. i've bought lots of earrings from secondhand stores and just swabbed them with a little alcohol or peroxide or witch hazel or whatever i had in the cabinet. but i did cringe a little during an episode of 30 rock when liz's boyfriend handed her some earrings that had been left on an airplane and she just put them on without doing anything to them. that seemed dumb, and kind of gross.

Author:  Veg_Eric [ Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

Rowan wrote:
There's never been a reported case of HIV from a cold needle....I'm going to guess the same is true for earrings.


What's a cold needel? (assuming it is not a reference to temperature)

I think I've read about Hepatitis C transmitted through sterilized hospital equipment....and because I am not a doctor or trained in the medical field in any way, I'd say that if you want to be sure you should at least boil earrings or piercings in water for a while if you want to be sure that it is free from contamination.

Author:  EllaGuru [ Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

But if we are talking of well-healed earlobe piercings is there really risk? Any piercers or health workers wanna weigh in? This thread is making me feel paranoid.

Author:  Ruby Rose [ Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

The concern seems extreme to me. Do you have similar worries about using cutlery in a restaurant that's been in countless other people's mouths?

Author:  SpiceMiner [ Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

Everyone knows there is only one way to really get them clean...

You must take them into the mountains, all the way to the Kri'stak Volcano. Thrust them into the river of molten rock, which pours from the summit. Then as they began to burn, plunge them into the lake of Lusor and twist them into a sword... err, I mean, wear them confidently! Knowing that they are completely sterile....

Author:  smoothie [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

erynne936 wrote:
Veg_Eric wrote:
erynne936 wrote:
As long as they look like they are in good shape and not yucky I would sterilize with alcohol and wear them.


Alcohol isn't always enough for sterilization. See page 10 http://whqlibdoc.who.int/aids/WHO_AIDS_2.pdf

Best way seems to be to boil or steam the items.


wow, it would never have occurred to me to worry about getting aids from used earrings. hm.


that would also be a very very unlikely scenario, as HIV virus only stays alive for about 60 seconds in contact with air. as for other diseases, i have trouble finding reliable sources as for how long the viruses stay alive in contact with air, but it seems like Hep C can stay alive for about 30 days.. but i wouldn't worry too much about it, just boil then and leave them for a few weeks or a month, then you should be more than good to go!

Author:  smoothie [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

also, i am definitely in the "don't worry too much about it". i've never even considered that used earrings could be dangerous. if the holes are well healed, there will be no blood contact, and thus, no way of you getting infected.

Author:  Erinnerung [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

My lobes are stretched and I've given my old plugs to friends when I upsize and have never thought it was weird. But for some reason the idea of secondhand 'normal' earrings kind of grosses me out. This makes no sense!

Author:  CoffeeCoffin [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can second hand pierced earrings be safe?

Alcohol does nothing. Plus if they are earrings from a second hand store that usually means that the gems or designs themselves are usually glued in and are also made out of either paste or plastic. None of those hold up well in an Autoclave considering and autoclave heats them chamber usually to a minimum of 270 degrees with at least 15 pounds of pressure per square inch. And the only reason you'd autoclave them is after they've gone through and ultrasonic (a machine that uses ultrasonic vibrations to clean tools and the like) which if it's costume jewelry your jewelry could just fall apart in that step.

Personal opinion: You're going to where, whatever you feel like wearing, if you're not a holy geeze germaphobe such as myself just by them and scrub them with some clorax bleach toilet bowl cleaner and a toothbrush (the cleaner is abbrasive and can help with getting caked on little bits) then just rinse with soap and water. If you are a germaphobe, don't put yourself through the hassle of reminding yourself that you're wearing someones old jewelry that they also secreted sebum (its what your oil glands secrete, the milky white residue that stinks that sometimes builds up in piercings, its also why people with stretched ears stink so bad) on to.

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