How to Clean Your Jewelry at Home

You probably have some old pieces of jewelry lying around, becoming duller or more tarnished as the days go by.

Now it’s time to put your days of dirty jewelry behind you, because there are plenty of easy and affordable ways to polish up your accessories at home.

The best part? 

You probably already have all the things you need in your kitchen cupboards.

Each different type of jewelry requires a different type of technique. By following these tips, you will keep your diamond, gemstone, pearl, gold, and platinum pieces gorgeous and will keep your jewelry in the best condition, so they remain beautiful for years, decades – for generations.

It also should be noted, though, that if you have any jewelry pieces that are extremely important to you ― family heirlooms, for instance ― it’s best to bring them to a professional.

5 Easier Ways to Clean Your Jewelry at Home

How to Clean Silver Jewelry

The best way to clean tarnished silver pieces and keep them from re-tarnishing as quickly is …

1. Try a soaking bath

Line the bottom of a bowl with aluminum foil, dull side facing down. Put silver pieces on top of the aluminum foil, making sure it’s touching the aluminum foil. This is essential for the chemical reaction to occur.

Bring water to a boil and pour about 1 litre of boiling water over the pieces and add 1 tablespoon of baking soda per cup of water. Expect that the solution may bubble and froth a bit.

Let sit for two to 10 minutes, depending on the level of tarnish, or until the water is cool enough to touch. 

Dry the silver with a clean polishing cloth.

If your silver piece contains gemstones, do not submerge it in water; water can rust or discolor your settings or cause the stones to become loose and fall out over time. 

2. Try baking soda: 

For heavier tarnish, mix three parts baking soda to one part water. Wet the silver and apply the paste with a soft, lint-free cloth. Work it into the crevices and turn the cloth as it picks up the tarnish. Rinse well and buff dry.

3. Reach for toothpaste: 

In the same way mild abrasives in toothpaste remove stains from your teeth, they can also remove tarnish from silver. Apply a dab of white paste toothpaste (not gel) to tarnished silver and rub very gently with your finger or a soft cloth. Then, rinse well with warm water and buff to a shine with a soft cloth.

Let the pieces air dry by placing them upside-down on a clean cloth.

How to Clean Gold Jewelry

Give solid gold bracelets, chains, and earrings a gentle bath in a solution of a few drops of dish soap and a little warm water. 

Put small jewelry pieces into a strainer before placing in the solution; large pieces can go directly into the bowl to soak for about five minutes. 

Swish the items around, then take them out, lay them on a soft cloth and go over the crevices and chain links with a soft toothbrush to dislodge any dirt trapped there. Return small pieces to the strainer and rinse everything under running water. Buff dry with a soft cloth.

How to Clean Gemstones

It’s easy to restore the sparkle of precious and semi-precious stones, like diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires set in gold. You can use the same instructions as the ones above for cleaning gold, but instead of using regular water, mix the dish soap with seltzer water. 

Brush stones and settings with a soft toothbrush; then, dip in clear water to rinse or place the pieces in a strainer and rinse under running water. Buff dry and admire the sparkle.

To clean rings on-the-go, keep a jewelry cleaning stick in your purse. You’ll find them from Connoisseurs and Baublerella. Simply twist the wand to release the cleaner and use the soft brush tip to remove dirt and grime. Rinse well, and see your gems shine!

How to Clean Pearls

Because they’re so porous, pearls can easily lose their luster. Whether real, cultured, or faux, you must clean them with care. Rule number one: Never soak pearls as doing so can cause the string to weaken and break.

  • To clean pearls gently, start by laying the strand on a soft cloth. Dip a clean, small makeup brush into a mixture of warm water and a little shampoo, and go over each pearl. To finish, rinse the pearls with a clean, well-wrung damp cloth. Let the strand dry flat to prevent the string from stretching.

This no-soak treatment also works well for turquoise and opals (which are also porous stones). Special pearl care kits, like the one from Town Talk, include tissue sachets of cleaner and a polishing cloth.

How to Clean Costume Jewelry

Dab a cloth into a sudsy solution of dish soap and water and gently wipe any smudges or grime. Then rinse with a cloth dampened in plain water. Pat dry and lay the pieces upside down so moisture won’t soak into the setting. Because stones are often glued on rather than set, don’t soak costume pieces in water or the glue could loosen and the “gems” could pop off.

How to Properly Care for Your Jewelry

  • Remove rings when washing your hands, applying beauty products, cleaning the house, or applying lotions to keep the settings grime-free.
  • Don’t wear jewelry while swimming — chlorine and salt water can damage it.
  • Wipe pearls with a soft cloth after each wear to remove body oils and perfume that can yellow them.
  • Don’t let silver sit in your jewelry box — wear it! It becomes shinier the more it’s worn (the friction slows down tarnishing). When you’re not wearing it, store pieces in an anti-tarnish bag.
  • Get valuable jewelry checked regularly by a reputable jeweler to make sure the stones are in good shape and the settings are secure.

Conclusion

Whether you prefer wearing jewelry with jewelry gemstones, diamonds, pearls, or precious metals like gold or platinum, in order to keep their fantastic look, you must regularly clean your jewelry. 

Each and every type of jewelry requires a specific cleaning regimen. You must be careful to only use the methods recommended for each type of material. However, if you follow the cleaning regimen carefully, your jewelry will be like new for years or even decades with the use of simple household cleaners. 


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