Using a Jewelry Cleaner to Restore Glimmering Treasures

No matter what glimmering treasures you own–a simple silver ring, an ornate gold bracelet, or even a precious gemstone pendant necklace–they’re bound to get tarnished and dull over time. Oils and dander from your skin, dust, and residue from hand and dish soap can all collect in jewelry, leaving it dim and lifeless. Thankfully, routine cleaning can breathe new life into your favorite pieces and help them look like they did when you first wore them.

A jewelry cleaner is a gentle cleaning solution that removes tarnish, restores shine and adds an anti-tarnishing shield to metals such as gold and sterling silver. You can find a range of different jewelry cleaners, from store-bought solutions to DIY recipes you can make at home using items you probably already have on hand. The best jewelry cleaner for you depends on the material your piece is made from, its level of tarnish or discoloration, and how often you wear it.

For everyday cleaning, Dawn dish soap is a safe and effective option, according to Brown. To use, mix one cup of hot water with just a few drops of soap and soak your jewelry in the solution for about 20 minutes. While soaking, gently brush your jewelry with a soft-bristled toothbrush to loosen and remove any dirt trapped inside the grooves. After soaking, rinse and dry your jewelry with a lint-free cloth.

An ultrasonic jewelry cleaner is another tool to consider. It’s a machine that contains a rotating barrel with ceramic or stainless steel shot in varying sizes. A small amount of liquid polish is mixed in with the shot, and items such as jewelry are placed in the tumbler. The machine then spins and mechanically polishes the jewelry, removing any tarnishing or residue. When shopping for an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, make sure it offers several settings and a customizable timer. This way, you can choose a gentle setting for delicate items and a faster polishing cycle for more robust pieces.

In addition to cleaning your jewelry, it’s important to follow general care techniques to keep it looking its best. To avoid unnecessary rubbing and scrubbing, remove your jewelry before applying perfumes, lotions or hair spray. Also, don’t wear jewelry while working or playing sports to prevent any damage. Finally, never wear jewelry with sharp edges or protruding crystals that could scratch or damage the item.

Despite their heft and luster, gold items can be very delicate and require special care. For this reason, it’s best to clean gold jewelry in a professional jeweler. A jeweler can assess the jewelry, determine the type of metal and any gemstones, and choose a cleaner that won’t damage the delicate pieces. In between cleanings, you can protect your jewelry from scratches and tarnishing by wearing it on a chain with a clasp, or putting it on last after you apply cosmetics or bathe. This will reduce the chances of the piece becoming tangled or caught on something, and prevent it from losing its original shine.