5 tips for cleaning glorious gold

July 28, 2015

The glory of gold is in its shine. While it does not tarnish like silver, gold will over time develop a dingy, oily film from lotions, powders, soaps and the oils from your skin. To revive your gold jewelry's lustre, clean it regularly.

5 tips for cleaning glorious gold

1. The easy way

  • The mildest method of cleaning gold — also the easiest and most economical — is to mix a bowl of warm water and a little dishwashing liquid into a sudsy solution.
  • Soak the gold jewelry briefly and then gently scrub crevices and design details using a soft toothbrush or eyebrow brush.
  • Place jewelry in a wire strainer and rinse under warm running water.
  • Pat it dry with a chamois or any clean, white, soft cotton cloth.

2. More intense

  • For a stronger cleaning solution, mix equal parts cold water and ammonia (and save the money you would have spent on a commercial jewelry cleaner).
  • Soak the jewelry in the solution for around 30 minutes.
  • Again, gently scrub with the toothbrush or eyebrow brush.
  • Rinse with water.
  • Let the jewelry dry on a soft towel.

3. Take it to a pro

  • Having your gold jewelry professionally cleaned is the safest and most effective — if also the most expensive — method.
  • A jeweler will use an ultrasonic cleaning machine, dipping your jewelry in a container of liquid, sending high-frequency vibrations through the liquid and, almost instantly, dirt and grime will drop off.
  • Have several things cleaned at once, and you will save money on each piece.
  • Or, if it's the same jeweler you bought the piece from, they might do it free of charge.

4. White gold's shiny little secret

  • If your white gold is beginning to yellow, it was probably rhodium-plated, as is most white gold.
  • Contrary to popular belief, there is no such metal as white gold. Rather, white gold is gold (naturally yellowish in colour) alloyed with silvery metals, such as palladium, and usually plated with rhodium to increase its brightness even more.
  • You normally won't see any worn plating on earrings and necklaces, but on white gold jewelry that gets physical abuse, such as rings and bracelets, you might notice yellow blotches on the surface. (Our gold-cleaning techniques will not remove the plating.) If so, simply have your jeweler re-plate the jewelry with rhodium.

5. Caution

  • Avoid getting chlorine on gold at all costs. It will cause the gold to deteriorate over time.
  • Remove any gold jewelry when cleaning with chlorine bleach and before entering chlorinated pools and spas.
  • Don't clean gold with toothpaste, even though some jewelers might recommend it. Some toothpastes contain abrasives, such as silica (found in quartz), which can dull a glossy gold finish.
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