How to Clean Jewelry

What You'll Need
Warm water
Running water
Mild detergent
Soft cloth
Baking soda (for silver)
Soft toothbrush (for very dirty pieces)
Ammonia (for gemstones)
White vinegar

A wide variety of metals and stones are used in the creation of jewelry and while the cleaning method varies only in minor ways from one material to another, these subtle differences are important when it comes to cleaning stone-encrusted jewels. Jewelry gets dull very quickly but a good cleaning restores their former shine and sparkle. Here are a few cleaning tips to refer to when cleaning your jewelry.


    Cleaning Gold

    Soak in warm water and detergent, scrub gently, rinse and pat it dry. White gold should be treated with extra gentleness because if scrubbed hard it might lose its thin outer plating of strobium, which is used to make it white.


    An old fashioned way of cleaning silver was to soak it in gin, rinse and dry. A less expensive way is to put it in very hot water with detergent, and 1 tsp. baking soda, bring it to a boil. Remove the silver and let it cool for while, and then rinse, dry and polish with a soft cloth. A soft polish cloth or a gentle polish can be used in metal cleaning.

    Unlike other metals, silver tarnishes less if worn frequently.


    Soak in hot water and detergent for about 10 minutes. If it still looks dull after the treatment take it for a professional polish to remove any minute dents or scratching.


    Copper is a metal that needs cleaning more often because it tarnishes easily; soak in white vinegar plus a teaspoon of salt for 5 minutes. Repeat the procedure if deemed necessary.

    Tungsten and Titanium

    Use warm soapy water, rinse and dry; if the jewels are very dirty use a soft toothbrush.

    Jewelry with Gemstones

    Jewelry with gemstones, need extra care when being cleaned and have to be checked for some problems like loose stones or clamps. These problems have to be attended to before cleaning. Always ask a jeweler if your gemstones can be cleaned with ammonia, or simply soaked in soap and water.

    If using ammonia, make a solution of one part water and one part ammonia, and soak for 30 minutes. Then rinse with cold water and place on a towel to dry.

    A small steaming kit is available in jewelry shops, which is ideal for cleaning rubies, sapphires, diamonds, jade and zircon amongst others. Zircons, diamonds and jade can also be cleaned in very hot water. Moonstone, lapis lazuli, opal, emeralds, turquoise, amethyst and diamonds do well with the soap and water method. Gold, platinum and gemstones jewelry can also be cleaned with a non abrasive cleaner obtained from a jewelry shop. 

    Biodegradable cleaning substances are now available on the market and are suitable for all metals and soft stones such as pearls, opals and many others. If you are still unsure as to what is best for your jewelry you can always have them professionally cleaned, at least once, until you are confident enough to tackle the job yourself.