It’s really beyond me why people think patina looks good on gold jewelry. To each his own, I guess. But when I wear my gold locket or my only-I-know-it’s-a-fake diamond and gold ring, I want the pieces to sparkle. Many jewelry stores offer free jewelry de-gunking, but the ultrasonic cleaners can cause small cracks or breakage in precious stones, including diamonds and emeralds. Save your favorite diamond and gold pieces from an unnecessary fate by cleaning them at home with some ultra-cheap cleaning products I’m guessing you already have lying around anyway.

***There is one important point I feel compelled to bring up before I lead you any further. Under no circumstances are you to ever, EVER clean your jewelry in or around your sink. Perform these cleanings in a bowl, unless you enjoy ripping apart your plumbing and digging through a disgusting drain pipe.

CLEANING GOLD

First you need the mixture to clean your jewelry. This is so cheap and simple, you’ll kick yourself for ever wasting money on specialty products. Just fill a bowl with 3 cups lukewarm water and 2 or 3 drops of liquid dish soap. Mix the dish soap into the water with your hands and soak the jewelry for 10 or 15 minutes. Once the soak is complete, lift the jewelry from the water, give it a good shake and gently scrub away all the loosened dirt, grime and years of body lotion goo with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse the jewelry under warm water and pat it dry with a soft towel. That’s it. About 25 cents worth of dish soap and a little bit of your time is all that’s required to make your gold jewelry shine.

CLEANING DIAMOND JEWELRY

I don’t know about you, but I’m obsessed with constantly applying hand lotion. After I first got engaged I was diligent about removing my ring before slathering my hands with Curel. That “honeymoon” period with my engagement ring is over, resulting in a lotion-encrusted piece of jewelry that isn’t too pretty.

To clean diamond jewelry set in gold, silver or platinum create a mixture of 2 cups lukewarm water and 1/4 cup ammonia. Slip on a pair of rubber gloves before submerging the diamond piece in the jewelry for at least 20 minutes. When the time is up, lift the jewelry from the soak and scrub the diamond gently with your soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse the jewelry under warm tap water and set it on a soft cloth to air dry.

CLEANING GOLD PLATED JEWELRY

Gold-plated jewelry is another story. Just to be safe, skip the toothbrush and dish soap soak and instead clean the gold-plated item with a mixture of 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Rub the paste on the jewelry with a soft cloth and let it break down the gunk for around 10 minutes. Rinse the jewelry under cool tap water and let it air dry. Not sure if the jewelry is real gold or gold-plated? No problem. Just drop the ring, necklace or bracelet into a glass of water. If the jewelry floats, it’s probably a lighter, gold-plated metal. If it sinks, your piece is more than likely real honest-to-goodness gold.

This has been a guest post by Jaimie from Chippewa Falls, WI
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22 thoughts on “Glisten and Gleam: How to Clean your Jewelry with Products from Home”

  1. jennserra1985 says:

    The ultra sonic will not crack your diamond ( ruby, emerald, ect.), the most it will do is losen it from a bad setting. That said I still don’t like taking it to a jewelry store. They like to hold onto your ring in hopes you’ll buy an upgrade.
    The best and easyest thing I have found to really make jewelry shine is windex. I’m a jewelry maker, and they taught us that in art school.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’ve used Windex on my moissanite and diamonds and it works great.

  3. vinegar also cleans diamonds to sparking shine!

  4. Anonymous says:

    if you google the site hanna recommends you will find lots of information explaining this is a scam

  5. Lynn Jones says:

    About 5 years ago, I had a jeweler tell me they used Mr. Clean to when they cleaned jewlery. I’ve been using it ever since on my wedding ring and other jewlery including silver (*not recommended for pearls!) It works amazingly! Just soak for a few minutes, scrub with a toothbrush, rinse, and…. perfection!

    • Anonymous says:

      My jeweler said to use equal parts of Mr. Clean, ammonia and water and it works terrific!

  6. Tammy Coupon says:

    Discovered this by accident, but I SWEAR by it. Johnsons Nightime Baby Bath (not the wash or the generic) I haven’t brought my jewelry to have it cleaned or polished in over 5 years. Put some with warm water and let it soak. Use a toddler or extra soft tooth brush to scrub, rinse under warm water and dry with cloth. I promise your jewels will sparkle. It wont scratch your gold and face it, if it’s gentle enough for your baby, its fine for jewelry.

  7. My co-worker’s mom has cancer and her Dr.’s told her to stay away from ammonia. It causes cancer and she cleaned house with it for yrs. She has lived more yrs. now from eating right and staying away from chemicals as such…she uses vinegar to clean..I would thing the toothpaste would be fine, and the dishsoap in warm water….

  8. Ammonia sounds harsh on my bling! Will try the dish soap on it instead. Thanks

  9. Ammonia is very corrosive for gold!! I would never put my wedding rings in it!! I just use warm water & dish soap w/ a toothbrush. Works like a charm.

  10. Lauren Brush says:

    Ok, I have to clear something up in this post. I have worked in Jewelery for 10 years and haven’t ever seen a diamond crack in an ultrasonic. Precious stone yes, diamonds no. Diamonds are some of the hardest substances on earth. You can damage a diamond if it hit just right on the edge since that is a thinner area but by no means can a ultrasonic damage it. Every major chain or private jewelery store will use one to clean your diamond because it the best way to loosen dirt and get them looking brand new again. Professionals know which stones they can put in the ultrasonic and which ones not too. Also, the main ingredient used in the solution for cleaning is ammonia (only for diamonds).

    • Mon says:

      I was a jeweler as well for 13 years and was going to post the same thing. There was also a rule of thumb when putting anything is a sonic clear and that was red, white and blue (rubbies, diamonds, and sapphires).

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for posting this. I was wondering that and it didn’t sound right that diamonds could be cracked by ultrasonic. I have a home unltrasonic machine and it’s never damaged any of my jewelry.

  11. C. Brown says:

    Any tips for cleaning sterling silver?

    • Anonymous says:

      Best cleaner for sterling…any toothpaste! I just rub in on really good all over the piece and then let is set for a while. I dont ever time it just “a while” ;) Then, take a soft toothbrush or a cloth (depending upon how tarnished the piece is and how much scrubbing it needs) and then rinse really well. Makes your sterling shiny and minty fresh!! :)

      • Use regular white toothpaste (not the gel kind). The reason is that most regular white toothpastes contain baking soda. Also avoid toothpastes with whiteners etc because they can contain chemicals that will harm your jewelry. For my wedding ring (gold and diamonds) I soak it in a 50/50 mix of hot water and white vinegar for about 30 minutes and then scrub it with dish soap and a soft bristle toothbrush. It comes out like brand new every time!!

  12. Sheila Overton says:

    Any tips for silver jewelry? I love them but they are loosing their shine.

    • Tammy Coupon says:

      You can have your rings polished at the jeweler for just a few dollars, even if you didn’t buy it from them. Personally, I use those jewelry wipes for silver, then soak/clean them in Johnsons Nightime Baby bath

    • jennserra1985 says:

      tooth paste the cheap kind, not a gel.

  13. I find denture cleaner is good for cleaning jewelry.