Best Jewelry Cleaner For Different Types of Metal and Gemstones

There are a wide variety of jewelry cleaners available, from liquid to foam to steam, but some formulas are better for certain types of metal and gemstones than others. The best overall pick we’ve found is this one from Simple Shine, which cleans a broad range of metals and stones including gold, silver, and rubies with an organic and biodegradable base that isn’t perfumed or ammonia-based. It also has an anti-tarnish shield to keep your pieces tarnishing-free in between cleanings.

A jewelry cleaner with an ultrasonic vibrator creates billions of microscopic bubbles in a special solution that scrub and loosen dirt, oil, and grime from your precious pieces. Unlike manual cleaning, the bubbles penetrate and clean every crevice — not just on the surface of your jewelry. This makes it a great choice for rings, earrings, and necklaces with small, intricate designs.

Another popular option is to make your own cleaner using a combination of baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water. To do this, line a bowl with aluminum foil and add salt, baking soda, and enough hot water to submerge your jewelry. Allow to soak overnight, and then scrub with an old toothbrush and rinse. We don’t recommend this method for soft or porous stones or plated jewelry, however, because the acidic vinegar and abrasive baking soda may scratch or damage your delicate items.

A more gentle DIY cleaner can be made with equal parts of rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Add an equal part of each ingredient to a small glass of water, place your jewelry in the mixture, and leave it in a sealed container overnight. Then, use a soft cloth to wipe the jewelry clean. You’ll need to repeat this process monthly or more frequently depending on how much you wear the piece.

Alternatively, you can soak your jewelry in a solution of equal parts vinegar and lemon juice. This is especially effective for tarnished sterling silver jewelry and gold-filled or German (nickel) silver jewelry, since the acids help to remove the oxidation. This homemade cleaner should be used only on oxidized sterling or gold-filled jewelry, not plated jewelry. It’s also not safe for pearls, opals, or emeralds, as the acid could erode them.

A good rule of thumb is to clean your go-to pieces with a jewelry cleaner once or twice per week, and to have exceptional pieces like family heirlooms cleaned by a professional jeweler every six months. And, if you’re in the market for a new piece, consider visiting a jewelry designer to find out what kind of care it needs before making a purchase.