Dive into the intricate world of jewelry care with our comprehensive guide, which unlocks the secret to maintaining and reviving every piece in your collection. From the power of everyday household ingredients like vinegar and lemon to the specialized care needed for diverse materials, we ensure that you have the knowledge to protect and preserve your treasures. Whether it’s the unique charm of costume jewelry, the radiant allure of silver and gold, or the subtle intricacies of gemstones and pearls, our expert methods ensure they shine brilliantly and remain timeless.
Beyond just cleaning, understanding the specific needs of each jewelry type is crucial to their longevity. Our detailed insights into materials and their reactions to various cleaning agents ensure you’re equipped with the best practices. From tackling tarnished silver using a toothpaste hack to understanding the gentle touch pearls demand, arm yourself with these techniques to make sure your jewelry not only gleams today but also stands resilient and radiant through the ages.
Homemade jewelry cleaner
Often people buy popular jewelry cleaning products or have their jewelry professionally cleaned in an ultrasonic, but there are so many store cupboard staples which actually do the job. From cleaning jewelry with vinegar and carbonated water to lemon juice and baking soda, here are the best homemade jewelery cleaners for different types of jewelry.
The importance of cleaning jewelry
From everyday dress jewels to those cherished pieces stashed away for special occasions, it is highly likely that your treasure trove could do with a little TLC from time to time. A build up of soap, dead skin cells, dust and grime can get trapped in settings, stones, chains and fastenings creating a breeding ground for bacteria which can eventually lead to tarnishing and deterioration.
How to clean costume jewelry
Making a homemade jewelry cleaner for costume jewelry could not be simpler! All you need is some white vinegar or the juice of a lemon.
Cleaning jewelry with lemon and baking soda
Thanks to its natural acidity, using lemon helps remove the oxide layer which forms on metals over time, causing it to darken. By simply applying lemon juice all over your jewels and rubbing the pieces with a dry cloth, the lemon will naturally brighten up your pieces. For more heavily tarnished items, try adding some baking soda to the lemon juice for an extra helping hand. Rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly.
Cleaning jewelry with vinegar
Using white vinegar is another alternative method for keeping your fashion jewelry clean. It may be considered as an ‘old wives tale’ but it really does work! Add your jewels to a shallow bowl of white vinegar and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Swish the pieces around occasionally, making sure all the metal is coated. Remove your pieces and gently scrub them with a soft toothbrush before rinsing and leaving to dry. Cleaning jewelry with vinegar does wonders for chains and makes them extra shiny!
Homemade jewelry cleaner for silver
If sterling silver jewelry isn’t stored somewhere airtight or worn everyday, it can tarnish and dull over time. Luckily there are a number of methods to help bring back silver lost lustre!
Baking soda and salt
A fail proof technique for removing tarnish from silver jewelry is to cover a plate with a sheet of tinfoil, add 1 tablespoon full of baking soda and another of salt. Pour 1 cup of hot water (not boiling) over the mix and stir until dissolved. Leave your jewelry to soak in the solution for 10-15 minutes. By combining each of these components (aluminium, bicarbonate of soda and salt) a chemical reaction happens, helping lift the oxidisation off of your silver. After their soak, rinse your pieces thoroughly under warm water and leave to dry.
Cleaning with toothpaste
Another great DIY homemade jewelry cleaner hack is toothpaste! The mild abrasives found in white toothpaste (not gel) can remove light tarnishing from silver jewelry. Rubbing the paste gently onto your pieces helps lift stains, leaving them smooth and shiny after flushing with water. Once clean and dry, buff your silver with a soft cloth and store in a cool, dark place. Better still, continue wearing your jewels as the oils of your skin act as a natural anti tarnish agent for sterling silver jewelry.
Homemade jewelry cleaner for gold
Solid gold jewelry doesn’t tarnish, but it could always do with a little buff and polish to keep it looking its best! This technique will guarantee to get your gold jewelry sparkling again in no time!
Clean with washing up liquid
The best way to clean gold jewelry is by mixing a bowl of hot water with washing up liquid to create a warm soapy mix. Place your gold jewelry in the bowl and leave it to soak for around 15-20 minutes. During this time, any dirt and debris will loosen itself from your pieces. After soaking, lift out your pieces and use a soft toothbrush to gently clean any chain links and stones. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and leave your jewelry to dry on a soft towel or tissue paper, avoiding abrasive surfaces.
This technique will guarantee to get your gold jewelry sparkling again in no time! When cleaning any gold jewelry set with precious gemstones such as emeralds, opals, rubies or sapphires be sure not to place these in boiling water as the heat may cause the stones to crack – see below.
How to clean gemstones
Using a soft toothbrush is crucial for cleaning gems and stone-set jewelry due to its gentle bristles that won’t scratch or damage the delicate surfaces. This ensures effective yet safe cleaning, preserving the beauty and integrity of the gemstones while removing dirt and debris.
Clean with carbonated water
Using almost the same method for cleaning gold jewelry, clean jewelry with stones by combining regular cool water with carbonated water along with some detergent in a bowl and leave your stone-set pieces to soak for 10-15 minutes. The carbonation helps loosen dirt and grime caught in the settings.
Using a soft toothbrush, give the cleaning process a little helping hand by gently brushing in more hard to reach places. Rinse your jewels with lukewarm water and pat dry with a soft cloth. Now see your gems really sparkle!
How to clean pearls
The outer coating of a real natural pearl is called the ‘nacre’ which is a fragile coating which can easily chip. Due to their organic nature, pearls are incredibly delicate and should be handled and cleaned with care.
Clean with soapy lukewarm water
To give your pearls a deeper clean, try this DIY homemade jewelry cleaner method by mixing a few drops of mild detergent with lukewarm water. Dampen a soft cloth in the soapy water and lightly rub each pearl individually to remove any dirt. When cleaning string pearls, be careful not to submerge them in water as this will weaken the thread. General wear, perfume, chemicals and body oils can all damage the lustre of a pearls exterior, so it is important to gently wipe your pearl jewelry with a soft cloth every time you take it off, to remove any residue that may have built up.
For 10 years, I’ve been in the luxury publishing industry, editing magazines with a special emphasis on watches and jewellery. I bring passion and authority to my work, featuring fresh jewelry collections, interviewing renowned designers and historians, reviewing globally-acclaimed jewelry books, and keeping my audience updated on trade show happenings. I take pride in highlighting jewelers who specialize in vintage or antique pieces.