As jewelry gets more and more used, it naturally collects oils, dirt and grime. Occasionally, it will also accumulate tarnish and other discoloration. These stains, if left unattended, can dull the appearance of even the most beautifully made piece. Jewelry cleaners are designed to lift these deposits and restore luster to the pieces. They are available in a wide variety of liquids, wipes, cloths, machines and creams. Some are formulated to be gentle enough for regular use, while others require special handling due to materials or karat levels.
Whether your jewelry is a little smudged from wearing it or has developed some more stubborn stains, there is likely a suitable jewelry cleaner solution that you can find at your local hardware or drugstore. In addition to standard jewelry cleaners, some products are formulated specifically for diamond rings or other precious metals. Before selecting a product, pay close attention to care instructions and a recommendation list detailing which materials are safe to clean.
Many of these jewelry cleaners come in a convenient spray bottle for quick and easy application. Alternatively, some of the more specialized products include a special tray for submerging delicate chains and earrings. The majority of these cleaners, however, are intended to be used with a soft toothbrush or cloth and will only be effective on mild stains and tarnish.
Other types of jewelry cleaners include an ultrasonic cleaner that can make quick work of grime and other deposits. These powerful cleaning systems, however, must be used carefully as certain materials can be harmed by the intense vibrations produced. Even diamonds, which are usually very durable, may have inclusions that could fracture or be discolored by the pressure waves.
A common method of jewelry cleaning involves soaking the piece in warm water and then using a gentle scrub with a non-abrasive brush or cloth. This method is safe for most jewelry, including gold and silver. It is also a good choice for ring sets with a combination of metals, but should never be used on soft gemstones or pearls.
Another easy and economical option for cleaning your jewelry is to heat up some boiling water in a bowl, then dip the piece into the hot steam until it is covered. The steam and heat will loosen the dirt and residue, making it a simple matter to wipe it away with a cloth.
A common alternative to these methods is to purchase a bottle of window cleaner, which can be sprayed on the jewelry and rubbed gently with an old toothbrush. This method is safe for most jewelry, but should never be used on organic gems such as coral and pearl, or opaque stones like opal. These stones can easily absorb the harsh chemicals in window cleaner, leaving them dull and discolored.