There’s nothing more beautiful than diamonds that sparkle and precious metals that shine. But when we don’t take care of our jewelry, it can look dull and lifeless.
You might think you need a professional jeweler for cleaning, but that’s not necessary for the majority of pieces you own. It’s easy to clean your jewelry at home, but it does require some knowledge.
Cleaning a gold necklace is an entirely different process than cleaning silver earrings or gemstone jewelry. Once you get the hang of it, cleaning your jewelry will become as routine to you as spring cleaning.
Let’s take a look at what you should know about DIY home jewelry cleaning.
1. The Importance of Cleaning Your Jewelry
Most of us choose to clean our jewelry to help increase its shine. But there are other important reasons to clean it. The main reason?
Jewelry is actually really dirty.
In fact, research has found that our jewelry is more than 400 times dirtier than our toilet seats! The study found that rings were the dirtiest accessory. In one week, a ring that was studied accumulated five species of bacteria, including fungus and black mold.
Medical professionals are often advised not to wear rings, since they can harbor germs that may increase the spread of infections. Food and fecal matter can also get trapped in your rings.
2. How to Clean Your Jewelry
Cleaning instructions vary according to the type of pieces you own. Here are some jewelry cleaning tips to keep in mind:
- To clean gold jewelry, add a few drops of dish soap to a bowl with warm water. Submerge larger pieces directly into the water. Place small pieces in a strainer first so you don’t lose them.
Allow to soak for 10 to 20 minutes. Remove your pieces, and use a soft toothbrush to gently remove any dirt and grime from the jewelry. Put your jewelry back in the bowl (or strainer) and rinse them.
Gently dry with a soft cloth.
- To clean silver jewelry, consider using silver polish. This will help remove the tarnish, as well as provide a protective coating over your jewelry to prevent it from re-tarnishing.
You might also mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water, and dip a soft cloth into the solution to gently wipe away the tarnish. Keep in mind that this isn’t the most advisable cleaning option, however.
It’s also important to avoid rubbing silver-plated jewelry.
- To clean gemstone or diamond jewelry set in gold, follow the same instructions mentioned above for cleaning gold jewelry with one change: replace warm water with seltzer water.
This can help loosen any debris caught in the settings or on the facets. Rinse with clear water and buff dry for sparkly gemstones.
- To clean gemstone or diamond jewelry set in silver, consider using a commercial jewelry cleaner.
3. More Tips for Caring for Your Jewelry
Just as important as cleaning jewelry is properly caring for it. Here are some ideas to prevent jewelry from becoming dirty or damaged:
- Remove your rings when you do any gardening work or when you use cleaning solutions.
- Take your rings off when applying makeup, lotions or other beauty products.
- Avoid wearing your jewelry when showering or swimming to avoid moisture or chlorine damage.
- Consider leaving your jewelry at home when you go to the gym to prevent your body oils and sweat from affecting your pieces.
- Avoid allowing your silver jewelry to go unworn. The friction from wearing it helps reduce tarnishing. When you’re not wearing it, keep it in an anti-tarnish bag.
- Wipe pearl jewelry with a soft cloth after every wear to remove any oils, which could lead to discoloration.
- Take your jewelry to get checked out on a regular basis to make sure your pieces haven’t experienced any damage.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when it comes to cleaning your jewelry. While jewelry is nice to own, it looks even better when it’s properly cared for.