How to Properly Clean Your Jewelry

Jewelry cleaner

From a platinum ring to a pair of copper earrings, all jewelry gets dirty over time. Oil and dander from the skin, dust, build up from hand soap, and more all contribute to a dull and less than shiny look. The good news is that cleaning your jewelry only takes a few minutes and doesn’t require any fancy equipment or products. However, as with all things, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution — from delicate porous gemstones to scratch-prone metals, different types of jewelry need to be cleaned in certain ways.

For example, a gold-plated piece may need to be polished with a mild solvent, while a sterling silver pendant might benefit from a more gentle acidic solution. Even a strand of pearls needs to be handled with care as they are very delicate. That’s why it is important to know how to clean your jewelry correctly so you can get the most use out of it, while keeping it looking its best.

To help you, we tapped experts for their tried-and-true techniques on how to best clean your favorite pieces of jewelry. Read on to learn how often to clean your jewelry, what type of cleaners are safe to use, and how to safely scrub away tarnish, dirt, and other discoloration.

Jewelry Cleaner

For everyday wear, we suggest you clean your jewelry on a regular basis, like every two weeks or so, depending on how much you wear it. This will ensure that the stones are protected and the metal is kept in top condition. For especially tarnished pieces, we recommend using this DIY jewelry cleaner recipe: Make a paste out of one tablespoon of distilled white vinegar or lemon juice and two tablespoons of baking soda. Apply the mixture to your jewelry and let sit for a few minutes. Then rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth.

A jewelry cleaning machine is an excellent choice for a deeper cleaning, but not all machines are created equal. Look for a unit with multiple settings and modes, so you can choose a mode that’s appropriate for your jewelry. Also, look for a machine with a timer so you can set the cleaning cycle and walk away.

Alternatively, you can soak your jewelry in a solution of water and baking soda. Fill a small glass bowl with warm water and add a teaspoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of distilled white vinegar or lemon, then let your jewelry soak for ten minutes. After that, gently scrub your jewelry with an old toothbrush to remove any remaining tarnish or discoloration. Then, rinse well and pat your jewelry dry with a soft towel.

Please note that abrasive jewelry cleaner ingredients or cleaning methods (such as rubbing or soaking) should not be used on natural stone or organic jewelry, antique pieces, or rare artist jewelry. These materials can easily absorb the cleaning liquids and become damaged or stained permanently. If you have a rare or expensive piece of jewelry that has been passed down through generations, we suggest you consult a professional jeweler for cleaning.