The Complete Guide to Cleaning Gold Jewelry


Tonight, you’re going out on the town with your friends. You’ve got your outfit planned. The only thing left is for you to pick out your accessories.

You take your favorite gold necklace out of the box. Let’s just say that the state that it’s in shows that it’s your favorite.

It’s looking a little lackluster. What are you going to do? Cleaning gold jewelry is simple as long as you know what you’re doing.

Most of the things you need for the job, you most likely have at home. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to keep your jewelry squeaky clean.

How Often Should You Clean Your Jewelry? 

Before we get into telling you the secrets of jewelry cleaning at home, let’s talk about frequency. How often should you take out your pieces to clean them?

That all depends on how often you wear them. If you put on the same gold necklace every single day, it’s going to need more TLC than a ring that you only wear once or twice a week.

The reason for this is that the necklace collects your bodily oils, along with any other debris you expose yourself to throughout the day. You’ll need to clean it at least once a month to keep it looking the same way it did the day you got it.

Use Dishwashing Liquid 

This is the easiest DIY jewelry cleaner to make. All you need to do is fill a bowl full of lukewarm water and add a few drops of dish liquid to it.

Place your jewelry pieces in the bowl for about 15 minutes. This should be enough to loosen up the dirt. When the time is up, grab a soft-bristled brush and scrub the jewelry.

Make sure you pay special attention to all the crevices and engravings. When you’re satisfied that the job is done, rinse the soapy pieces using regular old tap water. Dry it off with a microfiber cloth.

The Baking Soda Method

For the second method, you will make a paste using a single tablespoon of water and three tablespoons of baking soda. Grab a toothbrush and use it to slather the baking soda mixture onto your jewelry.

Place the paste-covered jewelry in a bowl and soak it in distilled vinegar. Allow it to sit for about ten minutes before you take the pieces out and rinse them with warm water.

You can use your fingers or a soft-bristled brush to scrub the debris and paste away. Avoid using an abrasive scrubber of any kind. Pat the jewelry dry with a microfiber cloth when you’re done.

Scrubbing With Ammonia 

Ammonia is a great method if your jewelry needs a deep clean, but you should only use it under certain circumstances. If you use it too often, it will cause corrosion.

If your gold jewelry has pearls or contains platinum, keep it far, far away from ammonia. If it doesn’t, you can keep following along with these instructions.

Create a homemade jewelry cleaner using one part ammonia and 6 parts water. Since ammonia is such a strong chemical, only let the pieces sit in the solution for around a minute. No longer.

Rinse the jewelry with water before drying it off with a cloth.

Boiling Water 

The last real cleaning method we’re going to talk about is boiling water. You shouldn’t use this option if your jewelry has delicate gemstones such as pearls or opals.

Even if your jewelry uses strong gemstones that can withstand the heat, hold off if they’re glued in. The last thing you want is to loosen the adhesive.

You won’t need to boil that much water. Only enough to completely cover your necklaces and rings. While the water is boiling on the stove, arrange the jewelry in a dish.

Make sure that none of the pieces are touching. If you have necklaces and bracelets stacked on top of each other, nothing will get clean. When the water is ready, pour it into the dish slowly.

Let your jewelry stay in the water until you can comfortably place your hand inside. Pull everything out and dab it dry with a soft cloth.

Cleaning Gemstones

Gold jewelry that’s loaded with gemstones can be gorgeous, but you’ll have to be careful when you’re cleaning it. This is especially true if you’re working with pearls.

You can’t soak pearls or place them in a cleaning machine. If the pieces are glued into the jewelry, you may knock the gems loose if you soak them as well. Your best bet is to scrub them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and call it a day.

Use a Machine

If you’ve followed all the tips here and your pieces are still looking a little dull, you can buy jewelry care kits with a machine cleaner. Keep in mind that not all machines are built the same.

There are several different types. We recommend seeking out jewelry cleaning services. A professional will know which machine will suit your pieces the best.

Additional Tips

To stop your jewelry from becoming too dull in the first place, take off your necklaces and rings before you go swimming in a chlorine-filled pool or clean with abrasive chemicals.

When you’re putting your jewelry away, make sure that each piece has its own place to go. If you store everything too closely together, it will cause scratching.

Lukewarm or warm water is the way to go when you’re rinsing or soaking jewelry. You should never let it get piping hot unless you think it can withstand the boiling cleaning method.

When you’re using tap water to rinse your jewelry, make sure that the stream isn’t too powerful. If it’s going full blast, it might knock some of the gemstones loose.

The Rules of Cleaning Gold Jewelry

Are your favorite necklaces and bracelets looking a bit dull? Cleaning gold jewelry isn’t as difficult as it may seem. As long as you have the right materials and follow the proper care instructions, you’ll have your pieces looking brand-new in no time.

If you’re not careful, you may end up doing more harm than good. When in doubt, take your jewelry to a professional and check out our blog for additional care instructions for your gold.

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