Cleaning our jewellery is a task many of us can easily overlook. However, cleaning your jewellery should be something you do every now and then to ensure your collection remains in the best possible condition. Even without realising it, your jewellery could be getting grimy and dull as daily life takes its toll on the metals. Soap and lotions, for example, can start building up in the jewellery. The good news is that you do not need to buy specific jewellery cleaning solutions in order to do it.
But what are the best ways to clean jewellery at home?
Here we discuss how best to clean your jewellery depending on the type of metal or stone.
Place some washing up liquid (just a couple of drops) into warm water. Use a soft cloth to rub the solution onto the silver. Once you have done this, rinse with cold water and buff it try with a separate, dry cloth.
If you have some pieces that are heavily tarnished using washing up liquid may not be enough. Mix three parts baking soda to one part water to form a paste. Apply the paste onto the jewellery with a soft cloth, ensuring it fills the crevices as this will be where the tarnishing is worse. Rinse well with cold water and buff dry with a separate cloth.
Alternatively, you can use toothpaste in the same way as the baking soda solution. Add a tiny bit of warm water to the toothpaste in order to loosen the mixture slightly before applying. Just make sure you only use traditional toothpaste rather than the gel varieties.
Do not use the baking soda or toothpaste method if the silver contains gemstones.
Bathe your gold jewellery pieces in a mixture of warm water and a few drops of washing up liquid. Use a sieve to place smaller items in before submerging so you do not lose anything. After they have soaked, lay them on a soft cloth and use a soft toothbrush to rub into the crevices where the tarnishing will be worse. Buff dry with a separate cloth afterwards.
You can bathe the gemstones in the same solution as you use when cleaning gold. Brush the stones gently before buffering them dry.
Always treat pearls differently to other gemstones as they are porous and this means that they can lose their lustre and shine quickly.
Dip a soft brush (makeup brushes work well) into a mixture of warm water and a little bit of shampoo and gently rub each pearl. Rinse quickly with a damp cloth and then leave to dry. Ensure you lay the pearls down flat as they are drying to avoid the shape-changing and never leave your pearls soaking as it can soften the string and cause it to snap.
Treat other porous gemstones, such as opals and turquoise, like pearls as well.
Cleaning Costume Jewellery
You can still clean costume jewellery, just ensure you do not clean them too vigorously as it could remove the plating
Place a cloth in the mixture of washing up liquid and warm water and gently rub on to the costume jewellery.
Do not place the costume jewellery to soak in the mixture as a lot of the stones are glued on and the solution can loosen the gems.
Some general tips
One of the best ways to avoid tarnishing is by wearing the jewellery. They are more likely to become tarnished if they are left sitting in your jewellery box for long periods of time.
If you have highly valuable pieces of jewellery or pieces that are sentimental to you, see your local jeweller and ask them to clean the pieces for you and at the same time, check that all the fittings of gemstones are secure.
Avoid swimming with jewellery on as the chlorine can cause damage.
Remove rings before washing up, washing your hands or applying makeup to help avoid a build-up of grime from makeup products, soaps and lotions.
Do not apply perfume directly onto the jewellery.
Jewellery is precious and by ensuring you keep them in good quality, you can enjoy the sparkle of your jewellery pieces for years and even decades to come.