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How to Clean an Infected Nose Piercing Site

author image Brynne Chandler
Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.
How to Clean an Infected Nose Piercing Site
A woman with a pierced nose.

Nose piercing has possibly been in practice since there have been noses and sharp things to pierce them with. Piercing your nose generally involves denser flesh than ear piercing, and the nose contains substantial bacteria, so infections are common. People typically touch new nose piercings often, which can introduce bacteria into the piercing and cause an infection under the skin. Cleaning an infected nose piercing site is not difficult. You can do it at home unless you run a fever, see visible pus or experience severe swelling and pain. In that case, you should contact a doctor.

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Step 1

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Dry them on clean paper towels rather than on a cloth towel to minimize the amount of bacteria that you add to your hands.

Step 2

Pump some soap onto a clean cotton swab and gently swab the area around your piercing to soften and remove any dried or crusted stuff. According to the experts at the Association of Professional Piercers, you should not use harsh substances like alcohol, Betadine, Hibiclens, hydrogen peroxide or any over-the-counter ointments or creams because they can interfere with the skin healing around the piercing.

Step 3

Rinse the soap away carefully with warm water. Blot your nose dry with a clean paper towel, being careful not to tug on or bump your piercing.

Step 4

Put a small spoonful of sea salt into a 5 oz paper cup. Don’t put too much; a little pile about the size of your thumbnail is good. Fill the cup with the hottest water that will come out of your tap.

Step 5

Soak a clean cotton ball in the salt water solution and squeeze out most of the excess. Press this gently to the infected piercing. Hold the cotton ball against your nose until it cools off and then discard it. Soak, squeeze and apply a fresh cotton ball until you have been doing so for at least five minutes.

Step 6

Splash some clear, warm water on your nose to wash off any salt residue, and then blot is dry with a clean paper towel. Do this twice a day until the infection clears up.

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