How to Make Your Own Jewelry Cleaner

From a platinum diamond ring to a pair of copper costume earrings, jewelry accumulates oils and other residue over time that can dull and detract from their luster. Fortunately, many gems and metals respond well to a simple mixing solution of warm water and mild dish soap. And best of all, this type of cleaning does not require the use of harsh chemicals that may damage some gemstones and metals or leave behind toxic fumes. In fact, most experts recommend avoiding commercial jewelry cleaners and instead try this at-home concoction before resorting to more abrasive cleaning methods that can harm your precious treasures.

Most types of gold jewelry can be cleaned using this method. Simply combine one cup of warm water with a couple drops of dishwashing liquid and soak your jewelry for several minutes. Use a strainer to protect smaller items and swish your pieces around in the water to dislodge stuck-on grime. Then gently brush them with a soft toothbrush to scrub away any dirt that remains. Rinse with cool water and dry with a cloth.

This technique is safe for most hard metals including brass and silver but is not recommended for delicate jewelry, such as pearls and opals. This is because the hot water can cause those types of gems to oxidize and darken. However, it’s still a good idea to clean metal jewelry regularly to keep it looking its best.

You can also try soaking gold jewelry in hot water and vinegar or a sudsy ammonia cleaner to help remove grime from your piece. This works best for larger rings and necklaces. However, it’s important to remember that a sudsy ammonia solution can actually damage some gemstones. Those with microscopic cracks and fractures are particularly susceptible to the damaging effects of an ultrasonic cleaner.

The acidity of lemon juice can actually clean some gemstones, such as opals and jade, without damaging them. This method can be used on rings, necklaces, bracelets and bangles. Just slice a fresh lemon and sprinkle it with salt or rub the slices directly onto your jewelry. Then rinse the jewelry with cool water and pat it dry.

If you have a lot of jewelry that needs to be cleaned, a commercial jewelry cleaner may be more efficient. You can find these products at most general retailers or online. Just be sure to check the label to ensure that your jewelry can withstand the cleaner you’re purchasing. Also, make sure to store your jewelry in a separate box or container to avoid scratches and keep it away from abrasive materials such as keys and coins. Also, keep it out of the sun because direct sunlight can also deteriorate certain metals. To reduce tarnish development in your silver jewelry, store it with anti-tarnish cloths or bags. And finally, don’t wear your jewelry in a chlorinated swimming pool or hot tub, or while washing dishes or gardening.