Plug Care and Cleaning
Once you hit your goal size, or even during your stretching journey, you may amass a sizable collection of plugs for your lobes! All sorts of beautiful pieces from glass to titanium to wood and stone. But how do you keep all these beautiful pieces clean and looking great with regular wear? Today, let’s talk about cleaning and maintaining your plugs!
Glass plugs are very easy to clean with a mild soap and water. I keep a gentle, unscented, dye and fragrance free all natural soap around for cleaning some of my plugs with. I simply lather this up and gently wash and rinse my glass plugs after wear. Without regular cleaning dead skin cells and dirt and oils can buildup on any plugs, so keeping them clean is essential to keeping your lobes healthy and your jewelry happy.
The same mild soap and water you use for glass you can also use to clean titanium and steel plugs. Make sure you rinse throughly to prevent and soap residue from remaining on your plugs. If they have gem settings, for example all my flashy Anatometal gemmed eyelets, I use a water-pik on a low setting to keep the areas around the gems clean. A low setting only please, high settings could damage stones or settings. Brass, copper, bronze, or silver plugs or settings should be kept away from water and oils, and just lightly cleaned with a dry cloth.
Wood plugs should be oiled regularly. I personally lightly oil the wearable of my wood plugs every time I wear them, and I oil all my pieces every few months to keep them looking bright and beautiful. I personally use clear jojoba oil. I’ll put a few drops on an old t-shirt, and gently rub that into the plugs, starting with the wearable and then gently around the faces, and then wipe away any excess. You can use golden jojoba oil, or other oils like vitamin E or even olive oil. But be aware colored oils will change the color of your wood plugs over time as they are absorbed, giving the wood a darker, richer sheen. Some folks adore the look this gives their pieces, and intentionally use dark oils regularly to create that effect. Please never get wood jewelry wet as this can ruin the pieces and the finish. Wood expands with water which is why it’s essential to avoid it with your wood pieces.
Horn and Bone
Horn and Bone can be gently oiled like like wood, usually before wear, and other then that cleaned with a dry soft cloth. Old t-shirts are perfect for cleaning them down, and I save up my really old worn soft ones for exactly this. Bone and Horn, and any materials like wood will change color over time, with or without oiling, so enjoy as your jewelry changes with you over the lifetime you wear it!
Stone can be cleaned with a soft damp rag, and just lightly cleaning off the wearable. Smooth face plugs can also have the faces wiped down. Rough face plugs I usually just very gently blot with a damp cloth and leave be, so as not to damage or snag any of the formations on the plugs. Damp is the key here, not soaking wet.
O-rings can be washed with a mild soap and water to keep them clean, and just allowed to dry before wearing them again. Putting on wet o-rings can cause moisture to buildup between your ear and the ring and cause irritation, even in well healed lobes.
Worth noting is how you store your plugs. Please store them in such a way that they can’t hit or bang against each other, which can cause damage and cracks or chips. I personally use a display case, but others use tackle boxes, jewelry boxes, individuals pouches, and any manner of storage choices. The key is storing them gently. Organics are best kept out of direct sunlight unless you are ok with their colors changing over time, and stored in something enclosed to avoid dust buildup.
Enjoy your stretching journey, and the beautiful pieces of jewelry you pickup along the way, and make sure to care for them correctly so they last you a lifetime!