Occasionally throughout life, an earring back or two will become stuck on our favorite pair of earrings, and it will seem nearly impossible to remove it. There is no need to worry. We have filled this post with all the “must-know” info to help you out of this common jewelry mishap.

Several factors can lead to an earring back becoming stuck on your earring post. There is no need to be fearful or embarrassed. This happens to everyone at least once in their life!

In this post, we will determine which kind of earring backing you have so you can better diagnose the cause, and we’ll share our tips and tricks for getting you unstuck and onto the next set of glamourous studs.

Earring Back Got You Stuck In an Old Trend?

First, it is essential to know what we are working with. There are several different types of earring materials and several different types of earring backs. Add in a few different ways an earring can become stuck on the ear, and you’ve got a panic attack waiting to happen.

Instead of letting our emotions run away with us, we’ll look at this objectively and logically, so we make better-informed decisions on style and earring care in the future and avoid this stressful earring issue.

Types of Earring Backs

  • Push Backs — Also known as butterfly backs or friction backs. This type of earring back is incredibly common and gets the butterfly moniker from the shape of the metal coil on the back that provides friction to keep the backing in place.
  • Jumbo Earring Backs — Jumbo earring backs are simply enlarged friction backs that make it easier for those with limited finger mobility to manipulate.
  • French Clips — These earring backs have a small hinge at the base that folds over the post of the earring and sits against the back of the ear.
  • French Wire — French wire earring backs are one of the most common earring backs and look similar to a shepherd’s hook. 
  • La Pousette Backs — If you are looking for an earring back that is comfortable to wear but is also more secure, this is the choice for you. As for those heirloom or special occasion pieces, look no further than a la poussette back. La Pousette backings contain two buttons or tabs on the sides of the backing that you push in order to move the backing around and release it to lock into place.
  • Latch Backs — If you have a habit of losing your earrings, investing in hoops with a latch can help your earrings stay on as they have a built-in latch that tightens over the post when you click it into place.
  • Saddlebacks — Saddleback earrings are similar to lever backs except in that the earring itself is usually designed differently and is in more of a horseshoe shape that is meant to be worn flat against the face.
  • Screw Posts — Typical earrings that are looped or in a bar shape that have a small immovable ball or set of balls. You simply screw these little balls off, slip the post through, and then screw back on. These are used a lot for body piercings as well as cartilage piercings..

Try out some of our huggie earrings. They are easy to wear and won't get stuck on your ear when you need to take them off.

Huggie Earrings Hoop Earrings
Cross EarringsGreen Huggies

What Causes an Earring Back to Become Stuck?

Each of the different earring backs detailed above has its drawbacks. Sometimes a mechanical failure can cause an earring to become stuck in your ear, and sometimes our ears themselves attempt to heal the cartilage of the ear with the earring still inside.

One of the main reasons earring backs become stuck is due to the buildup of sebum. Sebum is our skin’s natural moisturizer. Sebum is an oily substance our skin makes to keep it healthy, moisturized, and safe from toxins. 

When sebum mixes with dead skin cells in or around our piercings, it can clog just about anything up. Allow the mixture to dry, and it can really make it challenging to remove an earring backing.

Another big reason your earring back may get stuck is if the mechanism, hinge, or ball threads become compromised. This can happen through normal wear and tear and from taking your jewelry on and off hastily or by not caring for and cleaning your jewelry properly. Be sure you are cleaning your sterling silver or gold jewelry properly, especially if you will be wearing certain pieces more often than others. 

How to Take Matters Into Your Own Ears

If your earring back becomes stuck and you can’t seem to remove it with just your fingers, here are a few steps you can follow to help loosen up that earring back and set yourself free.

First, we want to state that if you are experiencing any sensitivity or swelling of your ear, you should call your doctor and make an appointment before proceeding with removing the earring back on your own. 

Now, let’s talk about getting you free of this bad boy in an easy to follow step by step fashion:

  1. Take a warm shower and concentrate the warm water on the earlobe. Suds up the ear with a cleansing face wash then slowly and gently massage the warm water around the earring. Rinse your ear with warm water and pat the area dry.

  2. Grab the front of the earring with one hand and the back of the earring with another. Gently attempt to twist the earring clockwise to loosen the backing. It may come off at this point.

    If your earring is still stuck after cleaning the area, you can create a simple warm saline solution and apply it to the area. 

  3. Take a bowl of warm water and dissolve a tablespoon of salt into it. 

    Using an ear swab or a cotton ball, dip the applicator into the warm salty water.

    Apply the warm salty water all around where the backing and the stud or bar meet each other and hold for a few seconds.

    Next, carefully grab the back of the earring and the front of the earring in each hand and give it a twist and a tug.

    If your earring back is still not budging after this third try, it is time to bring in a friend and a pair of needle-nose pliers.

  4. Hold the front of your earring while your friend attempts to loosen the backing from the earring. They can do this by clasping the pliers around the earring back and giving it gentle tugs. 

    Depending on the type of backing, like with a butterfly clasp, they can use the pliers to loosen the piece or spiraled metal that gives the butterfly back one of its names. Once you’ve pulled on the spiral, try rotating the metal back and forth before holding the front of the earring and giving it a tug.

  5. Finally, if none of these methods are working, you might need to call a jewelry store and ask if they can help cut the post of your earring with some wire cutters, removing the back. 

    Don’t fear. You can have your earring reset, and we promise you it won’t be nearly as traumatizing as getting your earring back stuck.

    The jewelry store will also be able to advise you on resetting the earring and diagnosing what happened with the earring back to get it so very stuck.

In some extreme cases, the ear may close over the earring stud trapping it inside the cartilage. In cases such as these, we suggest you get in touch with a local licensed piercer and see if they can help you. If not, it is time to make an appointment with a doctor.

Following these steps above, you can get yourself out of a bind when you need to, but how do you avoid getting your earring backs stuck? 

Stick to a Routine to Not Get Stuck

The easiest way is to implement a little cleaning and inspection routine for your earrings. We all have our favorite pairs, and even our daily drivers deserve a little TLC. 

Setting aside a time each week to remove your earrings and soak and clean the backs and the posts will increase the longevity of any working or moving parts involved. Wiping your earrings off after cleaning and allowing them to air dry can also assist with keeping everything free of debris and ready to go for your next wear.

Cleaning your earrings is also a great time to give your ears a little R&R with a good wash, dry, and moisturize. Ear care is no laughing matter, and if you are worried about this happening regularly with your piercing, then this little routine is a great way to get ahead of the issue.

Earring Backs are Replaceable, Ears Not so Much

While we all may find ourselves in this sticky situation from time to time, it’s best to remember that we can cut down on the possibility of this happening to us just by sticking to an earring cleaning regimen and taking care of your piercings regularly.

There is nothing worse than being stuck in a trend with no way out in sight.