When it comes to jewelry, it’s fairly easy to wear it, take it off, and not think of it again until the next time. The problem with this common scenario is that your beautiful jewelry is building up some pretty nasty stuff among the gems, silver, and gold. Think about what your rings, alone, might come in contact with on any given day. Yeah, pretty gross to dwell on that one too long. That said, it’s likely time to learn how to clean your jewelry the right way. The good news is that there are some really effective, easy methods to get that sparkle back. Best of all, most of these tricks cost little to nothing, considering many of the ingredients are likely already in your pantry.
All Jewelry Is Not the Same
One thing to clarify right off the bat is that not all jewelry pieces are the same and call for different cleaning methods. While with some, you could use an ultrasonic cleaner for jewelry, others are far more fragile and would fair better with a different method.
Clean Your Jewelry the Right Way #1: Pearls
Be extremely careful when cleaning pearls, whether they are natural or synthetic. Dip a soft cloth into a mixture of mild shampoo and warm water. Proceed to go over each pearl individually as gently as possible. Once that’s done, rinse them with clear water, wipe with another dry, soft cloth, and leave them out to air dry. In order to avoid the string from getting stretched, leave the strand to dry flat instead of hanging it.
Clean Your Jewelry the Right Way #2: Gold & Silver
Give your gold a bubble bath with sodium-free seltzer water and a bit of dish soap. With silver, you could be a tad less gentle, which is to say that you can even utilize things like baking soda, which has abrasive properties. Fill a bowl with the warm water and seltzer and soak for about 15 minutes. Gently run a soft-bristled toothbrush over gold jewelry to get in small places. Dip it in another bowl of clean warm water to rinse. You can also place it in a fine strainer and rinse under running water. Dry and buff with a clean, soft cloth.
Clean Your Jewelry the Right Way #3: Precious Stones
Cleaning gemstones can be a little trickier, as they are normally encased in a setting made of gold or silver. Because of this, you should always use a soft brush (as mentioned above) to clean your gems. There are several methods that are popular to clean precious stones. First, you can always use an ultrasonic machine with the hard stones like diamonds. Do avoid using a machine to clean softer stones like pearls, lapis, coral, turquoise, amber, and opals.
Additionally, you might have some pantry items to clean your stones. These include white vinegar, toothpaste and ammonia. I actually remember my grandmother boiling her jewelry in a pot of water and ammonia. It smelled horrible, but the gems sparkled like new! Vinegar is actually a great antibacterial cleaner, which is why it’s perfect for cleaning rings that may come in contact with viruses and bacteria.
Clean Your Jewelry the Right Way #4: A Quick Ring Cleaner
Toothpaste is extremely effective to clean your rings, especially when it comes to cleaning the grime out of small nooks. I clean my wedding set right there in the bathroom with regular toothpaste and an old soft toothbrush. To be safe, I always close the sink drains before I even take off my rings. I lay a hand towel in the bottom of the sink as an extra precaution. A little warm water added to the toothpaste works best for me. Be gentle but thorough, working the bristles into crevices and under gems. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.
One final tip is always to keep polishing cloths near your jewelry box, so you remember to wipe things down before you store them. This helps to keep stones clear and metals shiny. It’s especially important to clean your sterling silver frequently as it can really dull and tarnish over time.