Whether your jewelry is made of gold or plastic, it will eventually become dull and lose its shine. There are many ways to clean it, but taking your jewelry to a jeweler can be expensive and inconvenient.
Luckily, there are easy DIY methods for cleaning most types of jewelry. This article covers steam, ultrasonic and manual cleaners, as well as proper jewelry storage.
A good-quality, gentle dish soap like blue Dawn cuts through grease and gunk and is safe for most jewelry pieces. Add a few drops to a cup of warm – not hot — water, let your jewelry soak for a few minutes and gently scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush. This works best for tarnish, mild stains and general wear-and-tear.
Avoid harsh cleaners and chemicals, which may scratch fine metal jewelry or discolor gemstones. Also, if you are cleaning softer gems such as pearls, it is best to seek professional care.
For a more thorough cleaning, try adding table salt or baking soda to your jewelry solution. Then, gently scrub your pieces with a soft-bristle brush and rinse. Alternatively, you can use an ultrasonic cleaner for larger pieces. However, be aware that it is not appropriate for softer gemstones and antique jewelry and should only be used infrequently.
Baking soda is known for its many uses beyond the kitchen, including absorbing foul odors and cleaning difficult to reach areas. This household staple also has the ability to clean jewelry and other silver objects in a simple DIY fashion.
Simply line a bowl with foil and fill it with hot water. Add baking soda and then place your jewelry in the solution. Let it soak for about 5 to 10 minutes. The bubbling action helps lift dirt and tarnish from the surface of your jewelry. Rinse with cool water and dry with a soft cloth.
The baking soda mixture is safe to use for gold-filled, brass and German (nickel) silver. However, it isn’t suitable for natural pearls or gemstones that are glued into settings. Be careful to limit soaking time to avoid melting glue. Another alternative is using a commercial jewel cleaner that’s specifically formulated for your type of metal. This popular product comes with a jewelry basket and brush, making it easy to apply the cleaner directly onto your jewellery items.
Despite being made of hard materials, precious gemstones are still susceptible to damage. They can be loosened by harsh detergents, soaps and cleaning solutions that are used to clean jewelry or household surfaces. Even the most durable gems can lose their shine and color if not cleaned properly.
For silver pieces, a simple solution of warm water and a bit of standard dishwashing soap can do the trick. Soak the pieces and scrub them with a toothbrush, avoiding the prongs and delicate edges. Rinse, dry and enjoy!
While the tips above are great for regular jewelry cleaning, they cannot replace professional cleanings. Professional cleaners use high-pressured distilled steam to blast away gunk that is trapped in the fine crevices of metal, stones and gemstones. These cleaners are also safer for pearls, which may react to vinegar or other acidic substances.
A common item you already have in your home could be the best tool to clean your jewelry (except for pearls). The toothbrush method works well on diamond rings with intricate settings that are hard to clean using other methods. A soft-bristled toothbrush gets in between the tight spaces of your rings and allows you to scrub away any grime.
If you don’t have a toothbrush, you can use a liquid jewelry cleaner that is safe for most metals and stones. Just add the cleaner to a small bucket of warm water and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub your jewelry. Then, rinse and dry with a cloth.
These items are easy to find and cost a fraction of what you would pay for a professional cleaner. With a little bit of elbow grease, your jewels will be sparkling in no time! Be careful not to over-clean your jewelry. Over-cleaning can remove the sheen and may even damage some materials.