Keeping your jewelry clean is the key to getting the most out of your beautiful pieces. Cleaning jewelry may seem like an annoying process; but there are several tips and tricks you can use to understand how to clean jewelry at home properly.
The easiest way to begin the jewelry cleaning process is to understand what kind of jewelry you want to clean and use the best methods to keep them shiny without ruining their texture. Here’s our guide to keeping your favorite accessories in their best state, be it gold, silver, platinum, copper, or even artificial jewelry.
How to clean platinum jewelry?
Platinum is a hypoallergenic metal that is 30 times rarer and 60% more dense than gold. It does not oxidize the way other metals do after years of wear; however, this alluring white metal must be taken care of periodically.
Here are our tips to keep your platinum jewelry looking stunning:
- Polished platinum attracts fingerprints and grease with ease. The simplest way to avoid this is by handling your ornaments using their sides and wearing them after you wear your cosmetics and perfume.
- To clean platinum, soak the jewelry in a detergent and water solution and use this to remove the dirt and grime. If your jewelry has stone embellishments, DO NOT SOAK it in any solution. Instead, use a toothbrush with soft bristles to clean any visible dirt and rinse in clean water. Then, dry the same in a lint-free cloth.
- Instead of detergent, you can reach for jewelry cleaner from a local jeweler, but avoid using toothpaste, baking soda, or any other variation to clean your jewelry.
- To prevent scratches, store your jewelry in an individual compartment and wrap each piece separately.
How to clean gold jewelry?
Gold jewelry should be cleaned every few weeks to retain its luster. Repolishing will wear away at the metal, so you should only do this with a polishing cloth every few months. There are several products you can use to clean jewelry at home. Here’s what you can do for the best results:
- Begin by filling a bowl with warm water. Ensure the water is not boiling hot but comfortably allows you to submerge your hands and add a few drops of washing-up liquid.
- Put the jewelry into the soap water mixture and allow it to soak for a minimum of 10-15 minutes.
- Take a toothbrush with soft bristles or a paintbrush, and use this to loosen any visible dirt settled within the grooves or cuts of your jewelry.
- Once satisfied, rinse the jewelry under clean water and gently pat it dry with a kitchen towel or cloth.
If your gold jewelry has gemstones, do a little research around stone porosity. While this cleaning method may work for several different precious and semi-precious stones, avoid this method for emeralds, opals, and turquoise jewelry.
The do’s and don’ts for how to clean gold jewelry are as follows:
- Soak the jewelry before and after.
- Use a special cloth to keep your jewelry clean; some fibers can adversely affect and tarnish the gold over time.
- Ask for advice to keep your jewelry clean when you purchase it.
- Use harsh chemicals like bleach or cleaning products that could cause an adverse reaction.
- Opt for a large or rough brush to clean jewelry at home.
- Use soaps with unknown ingredients.
Ways to clean gold-plated jewelry
Gold plated jewelry is not designed to be worn every day, and the signs of wear and tear are bound to show up after a few uses. The best way to maintain gold-plated jewelry is to introduce preventative maintenance. This includes wiping it down with a damp and then dry cloth after every use and avoiding wear in the shower or pools.
To maintain the shine of gold-plated jewelry at home, use the same method as keeping gold jewelry clean. Soak the jewelry in warm soapy water for 10-15 minutes (nothing more), and use a soft toothbrush to dislodge any dirt or debris you can see on the jewelry. To clean gold-plated jewelry that may have discoloration is a tricky one; it may be easier to purchase another piece, best found at thrift stores.
Another tip for maintaining gold-plated jewelry is to avoid getting it in contact with lotions, hairsprays, makeup, and other chemicals that you may use daily. These chemicals could hurt the metal, causing it to discolor, dull down, or even chip away. So, the best way to maintain clean gold-plated jewelry is to stay vigilant of what it comes into contact with.
Ways to clean silver jewelry
There are many ways to clean silver jewelry. In order to pick the best method, you must identify whether the jewelry is pure silver, sterling silver, or silver plated. One of the easiest ways to do this is to look for a small marking on the inside that reads 925. This tells you the jewelry is made from 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. Pure silver jewelry is made of 100% silver, while silver-plated jewelry has a thin silver coating over another metal (likely nickel or copper). Remember that silver will tarnish over time regardless, but pure silver will tarnish more slowly.
How to clean silver jewelry?
Our personal favorite methods to keep silver jewelry clean include:
- Stirring a few drops of mild dish soap into a bowl of warm water to create suds and allow the jewelry to sit in this mixture for five minutes. Next, a soft toothbrush is gentle enough to remove dirt from crevices on the jewelry. Finally, use a soft cloth to dry the jewelry.
- Using a silver polishing cloth with the instructions on the back of the packaging will help. It is crucial to work in small sections.
- A silver polishing cream would work better for more significant pieces of silver. First, a thin layer is applied to the surface of the jewelry using a soft cloth. Next, the cream is worked in small sections until any signs of tarnish disappear. The jewelry is then rinsed and dried with a soft cloth.
- When cleaning sterling silver jewelry, a mixture of baking soda and water can be applied to the jewelry. After the mixture dries down, wipe it off with gentle circular motions to also remove any discoloration.
- Alternatively, soaking the sterling silver in a bowl with distilled white vinegar and a few tablespoons of baking soda for three hours would help. After the soak, rinse the jewelry thoroughly and polish it.
Prevention is the cure with silver jewelry; it is strongly recommended to store the jewelry in a velvet-lined pouch or jewelry box.
How to clean copper jewelry?
The jewelry cleaning process for copper jewelry is similar to cleaning gold jewelry. The best way to keep copper jewelry clean is to soak the accessory in warm water for a few minutes only. Then, using a dry cloth, clean the moisture for the best results and return that beautiful sheen.
Suppose you are wondering how to clean copper jewelry that has tarnished. The process may be a little trickier. Mix a little white vinegar and salt and apply the mixture to the stained area to get the results you’re looking for. Next, add one tablespoon of salt to one cup of vinegar. Dilute this mixture with water in a bowl and use this to remove the tarnish off your jewelry gently.
How to clean tarnished jewelry?
Tarnished jewelry is caused by metal coming into contact with body oils, makeup, sweat, and other substances that could progressively chip away at the polish or coating. As a result, the jewelry dulls down and can even turn black, depending on the type of metal.
As part of the jewelry cleaning process for tarnished accessories, create a paste of baking soda and water. Mix two parts of baking soda with one piece of water and apply the mixture onto the jewelry. Once the mixture dries down, wipe it away with a soft cloth or microfiber towel. If baking soda does not do the trick, you can switch it out for cornstarch. This method works best on silver jewelry that is beginning to discolor.
After following our “how to clean tarnished jewelry” guide, if you cannot get your jewelry looking the way you want it to, it is probably too late to clean it, and a better option would be to replace it.
*Warning: Prolonged exposure to tarnished jewelry on the skin could create an allergic reaction.
Ways to clean fake jewelry
Fake jewelry, better known as costume jewelry, is an excellent alternative for individuals looking for the flashy effect of large, beautiful accessories without hefty price tags.
How to clean fake jewelry?
Wondering how to clean fake jewelry at home? Here are our tips to keep your costume jewelry looking its best:
- Introduce preventative measures like wiping jewelry clean after use and storing it away in a cool, dry area. This will help keep your costume jewelry looking as great as when you first bought it.
- Please do not wear your costume jewelry in places where it could be exposed to water, sun, or humidity for too long.
- Consider applying a thin layer of clear nail polish on top of your jewelry to keep it looking shiny for as long as possible.
- Introduce a delicate jewelry cleaning process by mixing dish soap into warm water and using this to clean any visible dirt and debris. Be sure to wipe off all moisture, and ensure it is dry before storing it away.
- The best ways to clean gold-plated jewelry are the best methods to employ when wondering how to clean fake jewelry; treat them delicately, with care and caution.
- For more heavy-duty jewelry, use the baking soda method. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of warm water and mix this in with the jewelry. Cover the jewelry with foil and wait for the mixture to dry down. After it does, buff the remnants of the mixture with a clean cloth for some gleaming pieces.
The Bottom Line
If you wear a small number of jewelry pieces frequently, be sure to keep them as clean as possible. This will extend the life of your jewelry and ensure you avoid unwanted germs and bacteria from coming into contact with your skin. Wearing jewelry that has not been cleaned properly can lead to infections that can be more tedious to address.
The best methods for successful jewelry cleaning revolve heavily around understanding what the jewelry is made of. Use this guide to figure out the best ways to return the shine to your accessories without possibly damaging these precious pieces. The risk with figuring out how to clean jewelry at home is that you are likely to make a mistake here and there initially. If you aren’t willing to risk it, take your jewelry to either a professional or the vendor to understand the best possible cleaning methods.
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