Smith & Tailor

5 tips for cleaning your jewellery

Kathryn Dieroff

We wear our jewellery every day and rarely think about how to clean it. Many believe that you need special dips or cleaners to get the best results, but your can clean your jewellery with stuff you already have around the house. For the most part, your jewellery is tough and can tolerate a wide range of cleaners. You can get that ‘looks like new’ clean right in your own home using products you already have. Here are five tips to getting that sparkle back into your jewellery.

  1. Tarnished silver? Use baking soda, water, and an old toothbrush – The best way to freshen up your tarnished silver or gold jewellery is to get an old toothbrush, and some baking soda. Add some water to the baking soda just to make a paste and then brush your jewellery with the paste the same way you would brush your teeth. If you add a tiny drop of liquid dish soap, you will get a nice foam, and less splatter. The best part is that this method is safe for even your delicate gems like pearls, coral, turquoise, and opals.
  2. Want your diamonds and gems to sparkle like new? Use an old toothbrush with some warm water and Mr. Clean. Give your piece a good scrub. Don’t forget underneath! Mr. Clean, or any other cleaner that have a bit of degreasing properties will help to loosen up the moisturizers, body oils, and fragrances that might have built up on your jewellery. For tough jobs, let your jewellery soak in a jar of dilute cleaner for a short time to help loosen the dirt. There are certain gems that shouldn’t be cleaned this way – particularly emeralds, pearls, and stones that have been dyed.
  3. Take it to your local jeweler – If in doubt, take your piece to your local jeweler. Most should clean your jewellery free of charge. Jewellers likely have an ultrasonic cleaner on site used to clean jewellery. This machine uses ultrasonic vibrations to shake the stubborn dirt from all the little nooks and crannies quickly and thoroughly. It is a great deep cleaning of your piece. While doing the cleaning they will likely even have a quick look over your piece to make sure all claws are intact, stones are secure, and no repairs are needed. In fact, any time you’re nearby a jewellery store and have a few minutes to spare, drop in to have a quick cleaning. It’s a great pick-me-up!
  4. Wipe it with a soft cloth – Pearls, gem beads, and any pieces that contain fabric or leather elements can be wiped with a soft cloth. There are soft cloths for gems (much like the cloths used for camera lenses, or glasses) and there are also polishing cloths that have some polishing compounds in them. Be careful though, some polishing compounds have dyes in them or are abrasive and can damage fragile gems like pearls. One great way to clean your pearls is to have them restrung. The silk knots can become darkened over time. Fresh silk will make your pearl strand look brand new.
  5. Keep it clean – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to clean jewellery. Store silver jewellery in individual ziplock bags. This reduces the exposure to oxides and sulphides (the culprits for creating tarnish) and keeps your silver bright for longer. Remember to take your jewellery off during messy jobs, like making hamburgers by hand, painting, or changing the oil in your car. Have a designated spot for your jewellery for when you take it off (a little dish near the sink, or in your jewellery box) so you will always know where you put your ring down when you want to put it back on.

Create a little ‘jewellery cleaning kit’ to have around the house. All you need is an old toothbrush or two, some baking soda, a soft cloth, and a little jar of Mr. Clean and you will have everything you need to make yourself just a little bit more sparkly.