Choosing a Jewelry Cleaner

Whether you wear gold or silver, or a mix of metals and non-porous gemstones like sapphires and diamonds, jewelry needs to be cleaned regularly to keep it looking its best. Oil and dander from your hands, dust from the environment, and build-up from hand and dish soap can all accumulate on jewelry, leaving it dull and without its luster. Luckily, there is a simple way to clean jewelry that requires no professional help: a jewelry cleaner. Jewelry cleaners come in many forms, including liquids, wipes, cloths, and machines, and they’re designed to be effective and gentle for a wide range of metal and non-porous gemstones.

When choosing a jewelry cleaner, make sure to check that it’s safe for your specific pieces. Most cleaners will include a list of recommended surfaces and metals, as well as care instructions. It’s also important to pay close attention to your jewelry’s care instructions, as certain gemstones require more delicate treatment than other materials.

Many common household products can be used as jewelry cleaners, but there are a few things to keep in mind when using them. For example, both witch hazel and vinegar are slightly acidic and may not agree with softer stones or plated jewelry. Baking soda is also slightly abrasive and could scratch softer stones or metals. It’s best to use these methods with caution, or better yet, avoid them altogether.

To avoid damage to your fine jewelry, try to remove it before working with heavy machinery or performing manual tasks. In addition, you should always store your jewelry properly to prevent it from getting dirty in the first place.

Depending on your jewelry, you can clean it with either of the following solutions:

Ultrasonic cleaners:

Many jewelers have ultrasonic cleaning machines that can be used to thoroughly clean most metals, including precious gems such as diamonds and sapphires. They are particularly helpful when it comes to removing tarnish. To use an ultrasonic cleaner, place your jewelry in a basket and lower it into the tank. Run the cycle for a minute or as instructed by the manufacturer. After the cycle has finished, transfer the jewelry to a rinse basket and rinse thoroughly. Then dry the jewelry with a soft, clean, lint-free cloth.

Cleaning with a brush:

A clean, soft-bristled toothbrush can be an effective jewelry cleaner for hard-to-reach areas and light discoloration. Just be sure to use a very soft-bristle brush to avoid scratching your jewelry or damaging it with too much pressure. You can even combine this method with one of the homemade jewelry cleaners above to get a more thorough cleaning.

This method isn’t suitable for pearls or opals, as these gems can absorb detergents and other chemicals during the cleaning process. It’s best to reserve this technique for jewelry made from metals and non-porous gemstones. Be especially careful when cleaning emeralds, opals, coral, and other organic gemstones that aren’t treated with resin to protect their porous surface.