How to Choose a Jewelry Cleaner

A jewelry cleaner lifts discoloration from the metals and gems that comprise fine jewelry. But not all jewelry cleaners are the same, and different materials require special care. Some types of discoloration, from dirt and oils to tarnish and patina, are more easily lifted by harsh chemical solutions than others. The right cleaner can leave a piece looking like new. And some cleaners, such as a jewelry cleaning solution or an ultrasonic cleaner machine, can be used on a variety of jewelry, including plated pieces and those made from more delicate materials such as pearls or amber.

Most jewelry cleaners work by submerging a piece in a cleaning solution or placing it in a device that uses sound waves, steam or ultrasonic vibrations to break up and carry away the dirt. Some of these cleaners contain ammonia, a harsh chemical that isn’t good for some stones and metals, including plated jewelry. Some jewelry cleaners also include brushes that can be used to scrub away stubborn residue.

Other jewelry cleaning products include polishing cloths that can be used on the go or to clean small jewelry items, such as earrings and chains, between professional cleanings. Many of these are gentle enough to use on most jewelry, although the cloths should be avoided on porous gemstones or glued settings such as faux gemstones.

Some do-it-yourselfers are able to make their own jewelry cleaner using common household items, such as baking soda or the effervescent tablets from heartburn medication. When added to a bowl of water, these items cause a chemical reaction that eagerly attacks buildup, and the jewelry can be soaked for a few minutes before being rinsed off. This method is best for gold and silver jewelry, but it can’t be used on opals or other soft gemstones or on pearls or amber.

In addition to these at-home options, there are many jewelry cleaners available for commercial use, such as the Brilliant Jewelry Cleaner, which brings a sparkle back to precious metals without the need for scrubbing. These cleaners are ideal for jewelry stores and other retail outlets that want to keep their showcased items looking shiny and new. Private labeling these jewelry cleaners is an effective way for businesses to expand their brand and reinforce customer trust. And when the store’s own branding is on a high-quality product, shoppers are more likely to take the time to clean their jewelry and keep it looking its best.