Cleaning Jewelry

by Cassandra Merkling
(last updated December 19, 2016)

Jewelry can be a delicate and lovely belonging, but sometimes cleaning it can be a complete and utter pain. Luckily for you, this article is here to tell you how to clean it!

One useful way to clean the tarnish off of silver jewelry is to put some aluminum foil in a bowl, place your jewelry on top, sprinkle baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate) over it, and then pour boiling water into the bowl until the whole thing is covered in water. It's a great, simple solution to getting your jewelry clean without harming your silver. Take care if you have stones or pearls in your jewelry, though. See the chart at one of the links below to get an idea of the safety of pouring boiling water or any particular cleaner on gemstones and pearls.

Another silver polishing recipe uses a sour milk soak. All that is required for this cleaning process is one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to every cup of milk you use in the soak. Allow your silver jewelry to soak in the solution (make sure it is completely covered in the liquid) overnight and then wash the jewelry off as you usually would.

When it comes to gold, things get a little simpler, since gold only gets dirty and doesn't tarnish. One way to clean gold is to use a combination of mild soap and water. Another way to clean jewelry is to use a cleaner made of 1 tablespoon ammonia, a drop of Ivory dishwashing liquid, and a cup of warm water. Use a jewelry brush to lightly scrub the jewelry off and everything should get all clean. Be careful that your cleaner is compatible with your stones and/or pearls. Some of these cannot take ammonia and still be beautiful.

When cleaning costume jewelry, remember that moisture may cause deterioration of the the foil behind a rhinestone. Some people get around this by cleaning with alcohol, but even if you do this, you should still be careful that it doesn't get into a place where it cannot evaporate. If you choose to use a toothbrush and some liquid cleaner (Windex is a good one for cleaning rhinestones), be sure to hold the jewelry piece upside down as you clean it, so liquid is less likely to seep deeper into the jewelry. You will also benefit from the use of soft brushes, like makeup brushes, which can sometimes be all you need to get the dirt and dust off your jewelry. Make sure you are careful if you have jewelry that is made with Aurora Borealis, as it can scratch even from brushing with a makeup brush, let alone a very soft toothbrush. If you deem it safe to use a toothbrush on your jewelry, blot it on a cloth until a mist no longer rises when you place your thumb on the bristles and allow them to flick up.

Author Bio

Cassandra Merkling

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