Cleaning your Jewelry

How to clean gold

Give solid gold bracelets, chains and earrings a gentle bath in a solution of a few drops of dish soap and a little warm water. Put small jewelry pieces into a strainer before placing in the solution; large pieces can go directly into the bowl to soak for about five minutes.
Swish the items around, then take them out, lay them on a soft cloth and go over the crevices and chain links with a 
soft toothbrush to dislodge any dirt trapped there. Return small pieces to the strainer and rinse everything under running water. Buff dry with a soft cloth.

How to clean silver

The best way to clean tarnished silver pieces and keep them from re-tarnishing as quickly is with a good silver polish, like Good Housekeeping Seal holder Weiman Silver Polish, which contains ingredients that dissolve and remove tarnish while leaving behind a protective coating to prevent new tarnish from forming.

Liquid polishes can be a bit messy to use, especially if you’re in a hurry, so wipes (like the ones below) can be a more convenient alternative. Specially treated multi-layer cloths, which have one side to clean and remove tarnish and a second one to shine, are also a good option.

3 DIY Silver Cleaning Hacks

If you don’t have silver polish on-hand and you need to clean silver ASAP, try one of the DIY methods below. Just know that these treatments won’t keep tarnish from returning, and silver experts caution against using them too often (if at all). For silver-plated jewelry, avoid excessive rubbing to keep from wearing away the finish.

  • Use dish soap:
    Mix a few drops of dish soap, like Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap, with warm water. Dip a soft cloth in the solution and use it to rub the silver to remove the tarnish. Rinse with cool water and buff dry with another soft cloth.
  • Try baking soda:
    For heavier tarnish, mix three parts baking soda to one part water. Wet the silver and apply the paste with a soft, lint-free cloth. Work it into the crevices and turn the cloth as it picks up the tarnish. Rinse well and buff dry.
  • Reach for toothpaste:
    In the same way mild abrasives in toothpaste remove stains from your teeth, they can also remove tarnish from silver. Apply a dab of white paste toothpaste (not gel) to tarnished silver and rub very gently with your finger or a soft cloth. Then, rinse well with warm water and buff to a shine with a soft cloth.


Here’s how to clean jewelry: Simply line a small bowl with aluminum foil. Fill the bowl with hot water and mix in one tablespoon of bleach-free powdered laundry detergent (not liquid), like Tide. Put the jewelry in the solution and let it soak for one minute. Rinse well and air-dry.
This procedure makes use of the chemical process known as ion exchange, which can also be used to clean silverware.

Ammonia

Brighten up your gold and silver trinkets by soaking them for ten minutes in a solution of 1/2 cup clear ammonia mixed in 1 cup warm water. Gently wipe clean with a soft cloth and let dry. Note: Do not do this with jewelry containing pearls, because it could dull or damage their delicate surface.

Baking soda

To remove built-up tarnish from your silver, make a thick paste with 1/4 cup baking soda and 2 tablespoons water. Apply with a damp sponge and gently rub, rinse, and buff dry. To polish gold jewelry, cover with a light coating of baking soda, pour a bit of vinegar over it, and rinse clean. Note: Do not use this technique with jewelry containing pearls or gemstones, as it could damage their finish or loosen any glue.

Beer

Get the shine back in your solid gold (i.e., minus any gemstones) rings and other jewelry by pouring a bit of beer (not dark ale!) onto a soft cloth and rubbing it gently over the piece. Use a clean second cloth or towel to dry.

Club soda

Soak your diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds in club soda to give them a bright sheen. Simply place them in a glass full of club soda and let them soak overnight.

Denture tablets

Has your diamond ring lost its sparkle? Here’s how to clean jewelry using denture tablets: Drop the tablet into a glass containing a cup of water. Follow that with your ring or diamond earrings. Let it sit for a few minutes. Remove your jewelry and rinse to reveal the old sparkle and shine.

Ketchup

Let ketchup do the work of shining tarnished silver. If your ring, bracelet, or earring has a smooth surface, dunk it in a small bowl of ketchup for a few minutes. If it has a tooled or detailed surface, use an old toothbrush to work ketchup into the crevices. To avoid damaging the silver, don’t leave the ketchup on any longer than necessary. Rinse your jewelry clean and dry it, and it’s ready to wear.

Toothpaste

Put a little toothpaste on an old toothbrush and use it to make your diamond ring sparkle instead of your teeth. Clean off the residue with a damp cloth.

Vinegar

Here’s how to clean jewelry to make it shine like brand new! Soak your pure silver bracelets, rings, and other jewelry in a mixture of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse them under cold water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Window cleaner

Let ketchup do the work of shining tarnished silver. If your ring, bracelet, or earring has a smooth surface, dunk it in a small bowl of ketchup for a few minutes. If it has a tooled or detailed surface, use an old toothbrush to work ketchup into the crevices. To avoid damaging the silver, don’t leave the ketchup on any longer than necessary. Rinse your jewelry clean and dry it, and it’s ready to wear.