Handmade Jewelry Guide: 7 Ways to Safely Clean Your Jewelry
December 17, 20203 min read
You might not be aware of this but your jewelry collection most probably needs cleaning. Dirt and grime have a habit of accumulating in your pieces whether you notice it or not. The good news is, sprucing them up to tiptop shape isn’t as complicated as you might think.
Here are a few tips on how to efficiently and effectively keep your jewelry clean.
Tip #1: Use a jewelry box or store your jewelry properly
A great tip to remember about jewelry is that humidity isn’t their best friend. Avoid storing your pieces in the bathroom, especially sterling silver pieces as these tarnish faster in humid places. Prolonged exposure to open air is also not the best for your metal jewelry’s health.
Keep them in their original padded jewelry boxes and store them somewhere dry. If you prefer having them on display, keep in mind that they will need cleaning more often as they are exposed to humidity, dust, and other environmental factors.
Tip #2: Check your jewelry pieces
Sterling silver pieces are the most notorious for tarnishing quickly. Experts recommend to give your jewelry a quick once-over at least once every 6 to 12 months. Since you wear them all the time or they’re probably stored somewhere sealed, you might not pay them too much attention or notice that they’re no longer in the most pristine condition. But by paying attention to your jewelry, you can make sure that they are always ready to wear on a moment’s notice.
Tip# 3: Give them a jewelry bath
Warm water and gentle liquid soap is the best combo for your pieces. Mix both in a container until bubbly, then use a soft bristled brush, like an old toothbrush, to gently go over your jewelry. After washing, make sure to thoroughly dry your pieces.
You might find that it’s all you really need to do for many of your jewelry!
Tip #4: Avoid harsh jewelry cleaning
Just like with everything else, too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad. Too abrasive cleaning will scratch your pieces especially if they have a delicate finish. Take your time and make sure to use gentle strokes when handling your pieces.
Tip #5: Use a jewelry polishing cloth
Polishing cloths are readily available for purchase online and at your local jewelry store or shops. They’re very inexpensive yet extremely effective in removing tarnish from your silver and gold pieces. Take your time in massaging the cloth over the intricate weaves of your jewelry and we’re sure they’ll come out brand spankin’ new.
Tip #6: Use a jewelry silver dip
If you don’t have enough time in your schedule to do step number five, you can opt to use silver dip for your sterling silver pieces (especially with necklace chains which can be difficult to go over with the cloth alone). Silver dip can be purchased from most pharmacies, supermarkets, and hardware shops. Just make sure to follow the instructions as per the packaging to minimize errors.
Silver dips though are a harsh chemical and will strip away everything. They are not suitable for use in pieces where engraved sections have been darkened to make them pop as it’ll strip that away too. Also, many stones may be damaged by silver dips, so always double check before using.
Tip# 7: Use a jewelry ultrasonic cleaner
Another option for cleaning is getting a cheap ultrasonic cleaner. You can use this if the grime and dust isn't removed easily from intricate pieces. Just keep in mind that ultrasonic won't remove tarnish, but it will work for complex pieces which have lots of nooks and cranny where dirt can accumulate and stick.
These are some basic tips that can help you in cleaning most of the pieces in your jewelry wardrobe. But for more intricate or delicate jewelry, our best advice is to take them to a jeweler who will be more suited to handle them appropriately.