The jewelry we wear on a regular basis should be cleaned regularly to prevent tarnishing and other build-up. There are many types of cleaners on the market and the most common way to clean jewelry is to submerge it in a solution. This can be done with jewelry cleaner liquid, silver polish and tarnish removers, or with the use of machines that utilize sound waves, steam or ultrasonic cleaning. Depending on the type of jewelry and the frequency with which it is worn, routine cleaning can be as frequent as every month or as infrequent as once a year.
When deciding on the best jewelry cleaner, consider what materials are used in each piece. If the jewelry is comprised of soft, porous stones or delicate metals like opal, lapis lazuli and turquoise, it should be cleaned with a gentle jewelry cleaner that does not contain ammonia. Then, rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth.
One jewelry cleaner hack that is found online is to line a bowl with aluminum foil and fill with table salt, baking soda and dishwashing liquid. Drop in your jewelry and let it soak for 10 minutes. Then gently scrub with an old toothbrush and rinse. The problem with this is that it is abrasive, uses a potentially contaminated toothbrush and the vinegar in the mixture can damage the jewelry.
Another jewelry cleaner hack that is found online is to use a small amount of household glass cleaner in a sink filled with warm water. Soak jewelry for 15-30 minutes, then rinse and dry with a soft cloth. The problem with this is that the chemicals in glass cleaner can damage the finish on metals and most gemstones, and the jewelry may need to be polished with a jeweler’s rouge to return it to its original shine.
Many jewelry cleaners on the market are specifically formulated for different gems and metals. These cleaners will usually not include ammonia, which is fine for hard gemstones but could damage pearls and other soft, porous gemstones. There are also jewelry cleaners that can be used on platinum or gold to restore its shine and tarnish removers for sterling silver pieces.
Using a steam cleaner on jewelry can be very effective, especially for large or heavily tarnished items. This machine heats water to produce a stream of steam that quickly dissolves the tarnish and grime without damaging the jewelry or the surrounding surface. It’s important to follow the instructions carefully and to avoid putting the jewelry in the hot steam for too long, as this can weaken the glue that holds some stones in place on costume jewelry.
For the most convenient and thorough cleaning, a professional ultrasonic cleaner is an excellent option. This machine has a stainless steel tank that contains generator powered ultrasonic transducers. When the power is turned on, the vibrations create billions of tiny bubbles that are capable of dissolving dirt and tarnish. This is the most effective and fast-acting method of jewelry cleaning available, but it can be expensive.