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How to Clean Jewellery

How to Clean Jewellery

No matter what quality your jewellery is, there is always going to be a certain amount of tarnish, no matter how well you think you are looking after your different pieces.  If you look online as well as in offline shops you will come across heaps of cleaners that can be used for jewellery items.  Which one you choose that is the safest to use all depends on the quality of the make of your particular item. Make sure you have clearly examined each piece before subjecting your jewellery to strenuous cleaning other than just rubbing with your own fingers and hands.  You will thank yourself in the long run for this close examination of your jewellery to see exactly what thought and action has been taken into the construction of each piece.   Your gems and your settings should be your top priority when thinking about the care of your jewellery.

When it comes to using a jewellery cleaner that requires some soaking, then first of all check what, if any, pieces have been actually glued on to the basic setting.  Glued on pieces do not take well to a bath of any kind.  Woolite is recommended for some things – this is a detergent that is known to carefully wash away everyday dirt that has accumulated on all sorts of fabrics and metals.  If using Woolite then just soak your piece for a timed period of maybe 60 to 120 seconds, using a very, very soft babies toothbrush to gently get into the small crevices between the stones and the setting, and then very, very gently drying with a soft cloth.

Pearls definitely do NOT like a bath at any time.  They come from the ocean and whether they do not want to remember their origins because it has always been a mystery to me why they don’t like a bath, I cannot tell you, however, water is NOT their friend at all. Tap water especially is NOT their friend.  Wiping pearls carefully with a soft cloth that has been dampened  will clean them sufficiently enough, following this gentle action up with an equally soft polishing cloth and a very light rub to give them back their sheen.

Soaking any piece of jewellery overnight is a huge NO NO!  It is not necessary and certainly if you wish to have longevity out of your pieces, then an overnight soaking is definitely NOT the way to go.

A simple recipe that can be used is to make something out of water and baking soda.  In the olden days, baking soda was the only and best form of cleaning agent that could be found.  It is still used extensively today under the guises of brand names but really when you closely examine the contents of such pretty boxes and packets of cleaners, you will almost always find the basic ingredient of baking soda listed on the side.

To make a jewellery cleaning paste here is the recipe:

  • Take ¼ cup baking soda and 2 tablespoons of water and mix together to make a thick paste.


  • Carefully – with a dampened sponge – rub, rinse and then buff dry. DO NOT soak silver in water ever.
  • This is sufficient to remove any tarnish that has built up on your silver items.

Should you wish to clean a gold piece of jewellery, then I suggest:

  • Dust a light covering of baking soda over the piece.
  • Pour white vinegar over it.
  • Rinse clean.
  • If you feel there is some grit in little crevices, then very gently use a very soft baby toothbrush to give it a light brushing during the cleaning stages.

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Debbie Nicholson