Use a pencil eraser to scrub away stains on surgical steel jewelry.

How to Clean Stained Surgical Steel Jewelry

by S.R. Becker

A lot of body jewelry is made of surgical stainless steel. Despite the name, stainless steel is not completely resistant to staining. Chlorine and oxidization can cause stains on your jewelry. The best way to clean body jewelry is in an ultrasonic cleaner and autoclave, and a piercing shop can do this for you. If you're unable to take your jewelry in for a professional cleaning, a little strategic scrubbing can help remove common stains and discoloration.

Rub a pencil eraser over the stain as if you're erasing a mark on paper. Don't be afraid to rub hard -- the eraser will not damage the steel. Continue erasing until all or most of the stain comes off.

Dip a soft cloth in white vinegar or club soda if the eraser fails to remove the stain. Gently rub the cloth over the stain until it comes off.

Fill a coffee cup three-quarters full with distilled water. Place the cup in the microwave and heat until the water is very warm but not hot.

Squirt one pump of unscented, dye-free antibacterial soap into the warm water and stir with a clean spoon. Remove any beads you can from the jewelry and drop the beads and the jewelry into the cup. Allow them to soak until the water turns cool.

Pour distilled water over the jewelry to rinse it. Lay the jewelry on a clean paper towel to dry.

Items you will need

  • Eraser
  • Soft cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Club soda
  • Coffee mug
  • Distilled water
  • Unscented, dye-free antibacterial soap
  • Spoon
  • Paper towels


  • Never use abrasives on your jewelry or scrub it with a toothbrush, because this can scratch the jewelry.

About the Author

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images