How to Keep Your Precious Jewelry Looking Its Best

Jewelry cleaner

A favorite piece of jewelry can be more than just a pretty adornment—it may have significant meaning to the wearer. It might be a gift from a loved one or represent an important milestone. But, like most precious treasures, it will need a little TLC now and then. Whether it’s a simple ring or a stately necklace, the daily buildup of grime and minerals can dull its sparkle over time.

It might be tempting to scrub away these deposits with your usual household cleaners, but using abrasive brushes or rough cleaning techniques can damage the delicate metal or gemstones in the piece. Even worse, exposing your precious pieces to harsh chemicals and soaking them in acidic solutions can cause irreparable damage. So, how can you keep your jewelry looking its best? We consulted with jewelry experts to share their tried-and-true methods for how to clean jewelry and what you should avoid.


Bleach can certainly get rid of wine stains on clothing, but it’s no friend to your jewelry. Bleach is abrasive and contains harsh chemicals that can scratch or dull your jewelry. It can also weaken the plating on silver or gold pieces. If you must use bleach, it’s best to use the mildest form available and apply it to a soft cloth rather than directly onto your precious metal jewelry.


Vinegar is another household cleaner that is often recommended for at-home jewelry cleaning. But, just like lemon juice, vinegar is too acidic and can cause damage to softer metals and stones. It’s also not a good idea to soak jewelry in vinegar because the moisture can cause corrosion.

Baking Soda

Like toothpaste, baking soda is abrasive and can scratch your jewelry. It’s also too alkaline and could discolor some metals. If you must use baking soda, it’s best to only do so on silver or gold pieces and never on pearls or opals.

Ultrasonic Cleaner

An ultrasonic cleaner can be a handy tool for polishing your jewelry and removing tarnish and corrosion. However, if you’re using a professional ultrasonic cleaner that requires a tank or one of the portable ones that plugs into your sink or bowl, there are other ways to achieve the same results.