Whether it’s a platinum ring or a pair of copper earrings, jewelry gets dirty over time. Oil and dander from skin, dust, build-up from hand soap and even residue from cleaning products can leave jewelry dull and lifeless, but regular cleanings help restore luster and shine. While a trip to the jeweler is the best way to get a thorough clean, some at-home cleaners can also do the trick.
There are a wide range of commercial jewelry cleaners available, from ultrasonic machines to soaking liquids to wipes, each designed to lift discoloration from different types of gems and metals. While many can be used to clean all jewelry, some require more delicate treatment — especially softer gemstones like pearls, and porous organic stones such as coral and amber.
When shopping for an at-home cleaner, it’s important to note the label’s specific recommendations regarding the materials and stones you wish to clean. The best cleaners will state whether they’re safe to use on all jewelry or only a few, and some may include special warnings for porous or soft gems or plated pieces. It’s also smart to choose a cleaner that’s eco-friendly and free of harsh chemicals, as well as one that is safe for all skin types, including those with sensitive skin.
Liquid cleaners are usually the most affordable jewelry cleaner option, and they can be effective at removing stubborn dirt and tarnish from many types of jewelry. However, the containers they come in are often too small to accommodate larger rings or necklaces, and some require scrubbing with a brush to reach all the crevices. Additionally, some liquid jewelry cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can irritate skin and damage certain gems, particularly if they are exposed to water for too long.
Those who prefer the ease of an ultrasonic machine can opt for a specialized cleaner like this one from Branson Ultrasonics, which contains no harsh chemicals and is gentle enough to be used on delicate pieces. The cleaner is biodegradable and phosphate free, and it’s formulated to clean both gold and silver. To use it, simply place your jewelry inside the included cleaning basket and lower it into the tank. Run the cleaner for a full cycle and then remove your piece, rinsing off any remaining solution with clean water. If your jewelry is extremely dirty, you might need to repeat the process, but most pieces will come out of the cleaner looking brand new.