How to clean jewelry is one of the questions many people ask. You don’t need any fancy jewelry cleaner to make your gold, silver, platinum, stainless steel jewelry sparkle. With a series of ordinary household items, simple microfiber napkins, and some patience you can get the same exact result. Your gold plated earrings, silver necklaces and stainless steel bracelets can recover their gleam and sparkle.

In this cleaning & care guide you will discover:

  • How to clean jewelry depending on the metals
  • How to clean gemstone jewelry

To find out more about fine gemstone jewelry in general, read this article.

How to clean jewelry according to the metals

As you know there are precious metals (gold, platinum, silver) and non-precious jewelry metals (surgical steel, copper, brass, etc). Each metal has its particularities and properties. Let’s take a look at the most usual metals for jewelry and learn how to clean jewelry safely & efficiently.

How to clean jewelry – gold & gold plated

If you want your gold (solid, filled or plated) jewelry, such as rings, bracelets, and necklaces, to recover their look, you can achieve that very easily. There are a few very expensive gold jewelry cleaners that can get your gold jewelry sparkling and shining again. But why spend hundreds of dollars on cleaners that you will use just a couple of times a year? Why not use simple household products, which you probably already have in your home, and get the same result?

Most common mistake when cleaning gold jewelry

There are a few methods on the internet that teach you how to clean gold jewelry. They present various methods of cleaning gold plated rings and necklaces using either water and soap, club soda, Ammonia solution, toothpaste or boiling water. The truth is all these methods do more damage to your gold plated jewelry than clean it. When using acids (which can be found in Ammonia solution, soap, and club soda) and abrasives (found in the toothpaste) you will not only clean the dirt but you also remove a good part of gold. This is especially dangerous for gold plated jewelry which only has a fine coating of gold on the surface. By cleaning the jewelry this way you can damage it for good.

That is why specialists recommend you use only a wet microfiber towel without any solution and gently rub the piece of jewelry on all sides slowly. This way you ensure the piece of gold jewelry will not get damaged, and you will clean any residues that pilled up over time. If you want to learn more about how to clean gold plated jewelry, read this article.

How to clean jewelry – silver & silver plated

Many people love sterling silver due to its luster, versatility, and brilliance. Unfortunately, if you don’t maintain it, silver jewelry such as bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and others will start to tarnish. This happens due to a natural process called oxidation. When oxygen comes into contact with silver, a chemical bond on the surface of the jewelry will start to take place. This will cause the silver piece to appear discolored or dirty. The same thing can happen when silver comes in contact with sulfur. This is something many people have to deal with. Fortunately, you can take care of your silver jewelry and reduce its tarnish by using a few metal cleaning tips and tricks.

First of all, you have to know about a few industry terms regarding silver jewelry which can help you determine how easily the jewelry piece tarnishes. You can determine the purity of the metal by inspecting the hallmark inscribed on the jewelry piece. Different types of purity also determine how fast a piece of jewelry will tarnish. Jewelry pieces are not crafted out of pure silver, but they are combined with different metals to increase the jewelry’s resistance to mechanic force and oxidation. For example, 925 sterling silver is 92.5% silver. You can also find 950 sterling silver jewelry, which has 95% silver. The more silver a jewelry piece has, the faster it will tarnish.

Polish your silver jewelry

The best way of cleaning your silver jewelry pieces is to polish it. You can do this with the help of a professional cleaner or in the comfort of your own home. Just as with gold, you can find many “how to clean jewelry” guides which use acidic or abrasive solutions. They can be quite effective at first. But silver is a soft metal and it can easily scratch. That is why you should polish it using items that are not very abrasive, such as microfiber, and lint-free flannel.

Avoid using paper tissues or towels because they contain fibers that can scratch the silver. When you polish the jewelry, use long and gentle back-and-forth motions. From time to time you should change the cloth cleaning section to avoid placing tarnish on other parts of the jewelry. This method is very good to clean jewelry that is not very tarnished.

How to clean jewelry – stainless steel

Stainless steel is much stronger than other jewelry metals such as gold, silver or brass. Because of its increased resistance to both mechanic and environmental factors, stainless steel is used to manufacture various items, including kitchen appliances and medical equipment. Unfortunately, stainless steel can frequently show signs of dish soap and water stains.

To restore the beautiful look of stainless steel jewelry, you can use two simple things: vinegar and oil. It may sound like a salad dressing, but these two make wonders. You will also need a microfiber cloth and a spray bottle (for the vinegar). Firstly, you should clean the stainless steel jewelry piece with vinegar. You should only rub in the direction of the grain. After this preliminary cleaning, you can wipe everything down using the microfiber or even paper towels. Next, you will need to dip the soft cloth into the oil (just a little bit) to polish the jewelry piece. It is as simple as this.

There are other jewelry metals as well. To find out how to clean and care for brass jewelry, read this article.

How to clean jewelry – gemstones

With gemstone jewelry things get more complicated as not all gemstones can withstand mechanical cleaning methods. To find out how to clean gemstones depending on each stone, you will find here a comprehensive guide.

As a general rule, when you clean gemstone jewelry, be very careful with the settings. Bezel settings, for example, are less prone to get damaged than prongs. Use a very soft jewelry brush to clean the setting. If you don’t, dirt will pile up in time and it may loosen the setting. Many gemstones don’t like water too much, but you can use a lint-free cloth dipped in soapy water to clean them. Except for pearls, of course. With pearls you can only use a moist cloth dipped in still bottled water.

Another important rule when it comes to gemstone jewelry is to inspect the setting periodically. If you notice that the setting is loose or damaged, take your jewelry to the jewelry boutique as soon as possible. A professional jeweler will inspect and repair it before you lose the gemstone.

Now you know how to clean jewelry so take care of your beautiful pieces. For more jewelry advice read our other articles as well and share this page with your friends. Last, but not least, visit Ana Luisa online shop to discover our designer jewelry collections. At Ana Luisa you will find limited edition designer jewelry at a fair price, fashion inspiration and beautiful surprises.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.