A simple jewelry cleaning routine can make a big difference in the overall appearance of your favorite pieces. Over time, dirt and grime can accumulate on gemstones and metals, stealing their luster and beauty. Luckily, it’s easy to restore that fresh-from-the-jeweler look.
The type of cleaner you choose will depend on your jewelry’s materials and stones, as some cleaners can cause damage or tarnishing to certain types of metal or stone. Most commercially available jewelry cleaners use a mix of surfactants, ammonia, and polishing agents that effectively remove tarnish and grime.
Jewelry cleaners can be used with a variety of metals, including gold and silver. However, they aren’t recommended for plated metals or gemstones that may be prone to scratching. When choosing a jewelry cleaner, be sure to read the label carefully to see what materials it can and cannot be safely used with.
You can also clean your jewelry using a solution made from household products. Simply adding a few drops of mild dish soap to a bowl of warm water is an effective jewelry cleaner for most pieces, but be careful not to submerge delicate or porous gems like pearls or opals. Instead, a soft cloth with warm water and a bit of mild dish soap works just as well for these types of gems.
While it’s important to regularly clean your jewelry, overdoing it can lead to damage or premature wear. To help you keep your pieces looking as good as new, we asked experts for their tips on how often to clean your jewelry and what methods to avoid.
How Often to Clean Your Jewelry
For everyday pieces, clean them as needed, or at least every few weeks. “Without regular cleaning, your jewelry will appear darker, less colorful, and will lose its lustre and sparkle,” says Kathleen Plate, founder of Smart Glass Jewelry. For more valuable or special occasion pieces, it’s best to clean them once a month to keep them looking their best.
If you wear your jewelry on a daily basis, consider having a bottle of professional jewelry cleaner on hand. This will save you the time of having to make your own solution and it will help to prevent jewelry tarnishing. To make your own home solution, combine 1/2 cup of clear ammonia with 1 cup of warm water and soak your jewelry for about 10 minutes. Then rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth.
If you’d rather invest in a dedicated jewelry cleaner, there are plenty of great options to choose from. Some cleaners come with a brush and a basket for jewelry while others are more portable, such as this versatile steam cleaner by Utoke. If you’re worried about the chemicals found in many jewelry cleaners, try this natural option that uses heated water to produce powerful steam that effectively cleans all types of precious metals and gems without any harmful chemicals.