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How to Clean Jewelry Using Common Household Items

Need to clean your gold earrings? Polish your pearl necklace? Shine your silver bracelet? Here are some tried and true tips for cleaning your jewelry with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and other household items. 

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
December 9, 2016

How to Clean Jewelry Using Stuff You Have at Home

Easy DIY Jewelry Cleaner

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is a great cleaner for lots of household objects, and it’s also a safe and effective cleaner when it comes to cleaning gold, silver, and costume jewelry. For best results, make a by adding drops of hydrogen peroxide to the baking soda, then rub gently on your jewelry. Rinse off and wipe dry. It gets rid of dirt, grime, and body oils, and leaves your gold and silver sparkling.

Gem-Polishing Potions

Wondering how to keep your beautiful jewelry looking like the first day you wore it? Gentle dishwashing detergent and water plus a soft cloth can clean rubies, amethysts, citrines, emeralds, sapphires, and garnets. Just make sure to wash each piece separately to avoid chipping. Diamonds can be washed similarly: Fill a small pot with a cup of water, plus a teaspoon of dishwasher detergent. Add your diamonds, bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the pot sit until it cools. Once it’s cool (but not before), carefully remove your jewelry and rinse.

Another Easy Clean for Gems

The easiest way to clean emeralds, diamonds, rubies, and sapphires may be with club soda. Place your jewelry in a glass of it overnight, and they will shine like new in the morning.

What Stones Should Never Get Wet

Since turquoise, opals, amber, and marcasite are porous stones, never immerse them in water. Instead, polish them with a soft, dry chamois (clean claws with a soft bristle brush). Wipe with sweet almond oil to remove any grease marks, if desired.

Get Sparkling Pearls with Vegetable Oil

Because they’re so fragile, pearls also shouldn’t get wet—and can’t be cleaned with normal jewelry cleaners. Instead, use vegetable oil. Dab some oil on a soft cloth, then gently rub on each pearl. Let the vegetable oil dry overnight, then buff with a soft cloth to remove dust and oils that can make pearls look dull over time. The best way to care for a pearl (or coral) necklace is to wear it regularly—oils from your skin add a gentle luster.

Classic Jewelry Cleaning Recipe

Here’s the recipe that we received from reader Madelyn Jessup, which her mother always used to wash her gold jewelry: Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid with ½ teaspoon ammonia and 1 cup warm water. Dip the jewelry into the solution for 10 seconds, and use an old toothbrush to brush off any marks. Your gold will look sparkling new!

Quick and Easy Way to Clean Silver Jewelry

If your silver jewelry is starting to look a little dull or needs polishing, stick it in a bowl with a few tablespoons of baking soda and a square of aluminum foil.  Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then wipe clean. The aluminum acts as a catalyst for ion exchange, a process that will make the tarnish transfer from your silver to the baking soda. This is the magic of science, folks!

Quick Clean for Costume Jewelry

Clean costume or inexpensive jewelry by dropping two Alka Seltzer tablets into a glass of water. Immerse jewelry for about five minutes and pat dry with a clean towel.

For more cleaning tips from all around the internet, check out our Cleaning Tips board on Pinterest. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Image courtesy of Who Knew?

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