How to Clean Jewelry
July 6, 2020 | By Jordan Peterson
You most likely own a special piece of jewelry that holds some sentimental value to you. Perhaps it’s your diamond engagement ring, the silver bracelet that your parents gifted to you for graduation, or the classic gold necklace that has been passed down for decades.
While this piece sparkled and dazzled when you first received it, it might now be dull and tarnished. It's probably due for a cleaning. Over time, natural body oils, dirt, lotion, and hard water deposits can rub onto your accessories, which can dull their shine. Fortunately, there are many ways to maintain your fine jewelry so that it can last for many years to come.
How to clean jewelry
Making a habit to clean your diamond ring at least once a week (if worn daily) will discourage the buildup of grime and oils on the band. Diamond experts recommend that you take your engagement ring to a jeweler about twice a year to get it professionally serviced. Between visits, you can use this chemical solution for regular upkeep. It's gentle on cheap fashion jewelry and safe for finer, high-end pieces. This cleaner is also non-toxic and biodegradable, so you don’t need to worry about the residue harming your skin or the environment.
How to disinfect jewelry
Your rings, watches, and bracelets are constantly being touched by dirty hands, and your accessories are probably crawling with bacteria. It can be tiresome to disinfect your jewelry after every wear, but it’s simple with a PhoneSoap. This UV-C light sanitizer will kill 99.99% of bacteria and viruses.* The PhoneSoap will safely disinfect your jewelry and other items like phones, credit cards, headphones, eyeglasses, and smartwatches.
Pro tip: Place the PhoneSoap by your front entryway or by the garage door. When you return from work or running around town, immediately take off your jewelry, smartwatch, and other essentials. Place them in the PhoneSoap individually, or upgrade to our larger unit, the HomeSoap, to fit most of your belongings at the same time.
To prevent germs spreading from public places to your home, disinfect your items as soon as you walk through the door and wash your hands.
Can you use hydrogen peroxide to clean jewelry?
Absolutely! Fill a small bowl with hydrogen peroxide—just enough to fully cover the piece you wish to clean. The solution will kill all the bacteria that may be on the surface. Leave the jewelry in the peroxide for about 15–20 minutes. Remove the ring or other item and gently scrub with a soft toothbrush. This will remove any of the dirt that hides between engravings. Rinse the jewelry with cold water and gently dry with a clean towel.
Can you use rubbing alcohol to clean jewelry?
Yes! To clean your jewelry using isopropyl rubbing alcohol, fill a small bowl with it—just enough to fully cover the piece you wish you clean. Leave the jewelry to soak in the bowl for a few minutes. Alcohol dries completely clear on metal surfaces so there is no need to rinse it off with water. Rubbing alcohol is a great choice for disinfecting accessories, especially earrings. If you ever share earrings with a friend or purchase them from a store, it’s recommended that you soak them in alcohol before using them. Doing so will help you avoid any painful and unsightly infections.
Can you use vinegar and baking soda to clean jewelry?
Yes! This dynamic duo is perfect for cleaning anything from washing machines to microwaves, and that includes jewelry. Mix together 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda and let the jewelry soak for two to three hours. Rinse the jewelry under cold water and dry with a soft cloth. This solution will make your jewelry shine.
Can I soak my diamond ring overnight?
No. Your diamond ring is strong enough to withstand periods submerged in mild cleaners, but anything more than a few hours could damage the stone or loosen the mount. If you end up cleaning your ring at night, remember to remove it from the solution before you go to bed. Rinse it off, wrap it in a soft towel, and it will be dry before morning.
Can you clean diamonds with toothpaste?
Most professional jewelers recommend that you do not clean your diamonds with toothpaste. Toothpaste contains microbeads that are designed to scrub away at the plaque and food on your teeth. These abrasive exfoliants can scratch the surface of your diamonds, which degrades their quality and resale value. Don’t clean your jewelry with toothpaste if you want your gems to dazzle for years.
Can I use Windex to clean a diamond ring?
If your jewelry is looking dull and lackluster, a simple rubdown of Windex should do the trick. If your rings, necklaces, and bracelets are still looking faded even after a deep cleaning, spray a small amount of Windex on your jewelry. Scrub with an old toothbrush to loosen any dirt and grime.
Remember that one time you wore your wedding ring to weed the flower beds? Yup, this will loosen all of that hidden dirt. Rinse the cleaner off with warm water and wipe off with a soft cloth. Thoroughly dry the jewelry pieces so that there won’t be any remaining water spots. Be mindful of which gems you spray Windex on because it can damage certain stones. Do not spray the harsh cleaner on gems like emeralds, coral, opals, pearls, amber, or turquoise as they are all porous stones.
What doprofessional jewelers use to clean jewelry?
As stated above, diamond experts recommend that you take your engagement ring to a jeweler about twice a year to get it professionally cleaned. Professional jewelers will use ultrasonic cleaners with high-frequency sound waves and chemicals to clean jewelry and spurts of steam to clear away any of the released grime and dirt. They will also recognize and treat any issues like chemical damage or stone-loosening. If your diamond is loose, it could potentially fall out without you even noticing. Jewelers can easily fix these problems to prevent future heartbreak.
While it may seem tedious to clean your favorite jewelry once a week, it's worth it. Instead of constantly having grimy and cloudy jewelry, your regular maintenance will keep your diamonds and stones shiny and clean.
Do you have any go-to jewelry that you almost never take off? Tell us in the comments below.
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*PhoneSoap 3 has been tested by an independent, third-party laboratory to be 99.99% effective against Salmonella, E. coli, MRSA, H1N1, Coronavirus 229E, Staphylococcus, Rhinovirus, Rotavirus. It has been tested on actual phones, Apple™ watch, headphones, credit cards, and keys. PhoneSoap 3 has also been tested to be 99.99% effective against Salmonella, H1N1, rotavirus, and rhinovirus using a modified ASTM E1153 and ASTM E1053-11 for efficacy of UV light on general hard non-porous surfaces such as glass, metals, and plastics. Real-world results may vary depending on size, shape, and material of phone or phone case.
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