How to Loosen Clip-on Earrings

by Alexis Rohlin ; Updated September 28, 2017

Clip-on earrings have been worn by women since the Victorian era, when they had simple screw-on backings. Modern clip-on earrings consist of a paddle-shaped clasp or clip. Sometimes the backs of the clips can become bent or are made too tight at the factory. Clip-on earrings that are too tight can pinch your ears and be very uncomfortable. If you find that your clip-on earrings are too tight, you can loosen them yourself with a few simple tools.

Shut the clasp of the earring.

Insert the clip-on earring key or the blade of a small flat-blade screw driver underneath the center lever tongue, which will be sticking out of the bottom past the hinge of the clasp. Pry up the tongue with the earring key or screwdriver to lift it up slightly from its current position and loosen it.

Open and close the clasp and try the earring on to see if it is loosened. If it has not, pry it up a little more and try it again. Continue moving the tongue up until the earring sits comfortably on your ear.


  • If the clip is a simple clip, or a folded over paddle-back clip on a pair of hoop earrings or lighter dangle earrings, bend out the folded part with needle-nose pliers.

    If you accidentally lift off the paddle-back clasp, you can easily put it back on. Bend down the tongue of the clasp if it is uneven with a pair of needle-nose pliers to make it flat so that it lines up with the sides of the paddle clasp. Pinch the sides of the clasp with needle-nose pliers, line up the prongs located at the bottom where it will hook under the hinge of the clasp holder or mount on the back of the earring. Move the clasp into its correct position and release its sides to pop it back into place.

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About the Author

Alexis Rohlin is a professional writer for various websites. She has produced works for Red Anvil Publishing and was one of the top 10 finalists in the 2007 Midnight Hour Short Story Contest for Rohlin holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in English from Madonna University.