Using the Best Jewelry Cleaner

Jewelry cleaner

Whether it’s a delicate piece of costume jewelry or your stately, everyday wedding ring, there is something satisfying about seeing your favorite accessories sparkle. But, with repeated exposure to moisture, residue-depositing soaps and lotions, as well as dirt, dust and other debris, your pieces can quickly lose their brilliance. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to get your jewelry back to its original glory. Among them: using the best jewelry cleaner to give it a clean and refreshing glow, and avoiding too much rubbing or soaking that could damage delicate porous gemstones.

We’ve tested and rounded up the best cleaners on the market—including liquids, wipes, cloths, and machines—to see which products deliver the most effective, gentle, safe cleaning results for your gems and metals. Our top pick, Simple Shine, boasts a powerful, biodegradable formula that’s safe for most gold, silver, and precious gems (though it’s not recommended for pearls, coral, shell, or bone), plus an ammonia-free base to remove tarnish, target grime, and restore shine. We also love its easy-to-use dip tray and brush that help you apply the solution in precise, hard-to-reach spots.

A quick dip in a cup of water and a bit of gentle dishwashing liquid will do wonders for most metal jewelry. Just be sure to use a small amount of liquid and only one or two items at a time to prevent scratching. The process is effective for removing mild tarnish, general wear-and-tear, and even some stains caused by dyes in clothing.

Another option is to let a chemical reaction do the heavy lifting for you: a simple baking soda and effervescent heartburn tablet mix creates a bubbling, fizzing solution that’s eager to attack buildup. Simply place your jewelry in a bowl, add the active ingredient, let it soak, then rinse and wipe with a clean cloth. The process is a great way to refresh a pair of sterling silver earrings or a gold necklace, but it isn’t suitable for fragile pearls or soft gemstones.

An ultrasonic or steam machine cleaner will often offer the most thorough results, but they can be expensive and may not be safe for all types of metals and gemstones. Similarly, if you’re not careful, some solutions can damage stones or plated metals.

Ultimately, the best jewelry cleaner is the one that fits your needs and budget. If you have more money to spend, consider our editor-approved pick: a professional-grade jewelry cleaner that comes in a deluxe kit complete with a brush and tray to make application easier and more precise. Or, for a natural steam-powered alternative, this affordable model uses heated water to produce a burst of powerful steam that quickly and thoroughly cleans most jewelry, though it’s not safe for delicate gems. Whichever product you choose, be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully to avoid causing damage or permanently discoloring your prized pieces. It’s better to clean jewelry a little more frequently than you might think to keep it looking bright and new.