How to clean gold and silver jewellery at home

June 30, 2015

With these simple, at-home solutions, cleaning your silver and gold jewellery to help them retain (or recover) their sparkle and shine like when they were new has never been easier.

How to clean gold and silver jewellery at home

Before you begin

Who doesn't love the eye-catching glitter of jewellery, especially when it's your most cherished piece. But before deciding to clean your favourite treasures, there are two key things to bear in mind:

  • You need to know what's real gold vs. simply gold-plated, because cleaning techniques differ for both.
  • Silver jewellery tends to oxidize and go black if you haven't worn a piece for some time. So don't be surprised if a piece you pull out looks grubby and needs extra effort to clean.

How to best clean gold

It goes without saying that the more often you clean your jewellery, the easier these regular "maintenance" cleanings should be. That being said, remember to:

  • Clean gold-plated jewellery only with water.
  • Clean pure gold with a little baking soda on a moist cotton ball before rinsing it.
  • Rub matte gold jewellery with onion juice to bring out its shine. Don't forget to buff it afterwards!
  • Clean dirty gold jewellery with a solution of 25 ml (two tbsp) of ammonia and one L/qt of water, then rinse and dry.
  • For serious dirt, wash with a solution of 15 mml (one tbsp) of rubbing alcohol and one L/qt. of soapy water, then rinse with water and dry.
  • Add three drops of liquid dish soap to a medium-sized bowl of warm tap water. Place gold jewellery in the bowl and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing and drying. If more power is required, use club soda instead of tap water.

How to best clean silver

You can remove unsightly oxidation from silver with ease.

  • Line a deep dish with aluminum foil, place the jewellery in it, sprinkle with salt and pour boiling water over it. Wait an hour before removing the jewellery, and buff until it shines brightly.
  • To protect silver jewellery from tarnishing, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil.
  • To remove a small tarnish, dab some toothpaste on your finger and rub the tarnished part; rinse and dry with a clean cloth. For larger jobs, make a spreadable paste of baking soda and water, and rub on the paste with a damp sponge.
  • To clean silver, place it in a small pot with water and two ml (1/2 tsp.) of detergent. Slowly heat the contents and let the jewellery "boil" for two to three minutes to dissolve the dirt.
  • Leave silver in beer overnight, then rinse and polish to recover its sparkle.
  • For an alluring shine, you can also pour cold "potato water" (water in which potatoes were boiled) over silver jewellery, then rinse with warm water and rub dry with a soft cloth.

Regardless of why your jewellery is important to you, you'll want to keep it looking its best with these simple at-home cleaning tricks.

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