jewellery care guide: how to clean your jewellery

If you love jewellery as much as we do, you’ll have noticed that sometimes, your favourite bling loses its shine. Any jewellery can get a bit grubby or dull after a while, whether it’s silver that’s tarnished, gemstones that have got dirt in the settings, or gold that looks less shiny than it was. The good news is that you can clean any of your favourite baubles super easily yourself. There’s no need to buy special products – you’ve very likely got the equipment at home.

You may have heard rumours that you can use gin or vodka to clean jewellery (and maybe like us, thought ‘is there anything gin can’t do?’). However, if you fancy a G&T while you clean your jewellery, go right ahead! But it’s best to leave the alcohol out of the cleaning process. And while you’re at it, hold off with the toothpaste, as this can have abrasive particles and whitening chemicals which are not good for precious metals and sparkly things. Likewise, no scrubbing with a bristly old toothbrush: this can dislodge any loose stones and can even scratch the surface of softer metals like gold.

how to clean silver

Sterling silver jewellery is often the most noticeably “dirty” as it tarnishes over time. Though generally, it’s not really “dirt” at all, it’s simply the silver reacting with the air or your own skin oil. It’s also good to mention at this stage, tarnishing does not mean the silver isn’t the finest .925 sterling silver – even the best quality silver tarnishes.

tarnishing does not mean the silver isn’t the finest .925 sterling silver – even the best quality silver tarnishes. There’s no escaping chemistry!

Although there are plenty of Silvo and other specific silver-cleaning products on the market, you can actually clean your silver really easily at home the natural way –  just using baking powder, salt, aluminium foil and hot water. And best of all, there’s no scrubbing required!

Here’s what to do:

  • Take a plastic container and line it with aluminium foil
  • Place the silver objects in the container, ensuring they are touching the aluminium foil
  • Add 1 tablespoon of baking powder (bicarbonate of soda) and 1 tablespoon of salt
  • Pour over the hot water and leave for a few minutes
  • Remove silver items from the liquid, rinse in clean water and polish with a soft cloth

And ta-da! So Shiny! Here’s one we prepared earlier:

cleaning gold jewellery

Gold doesn’t tarnish easily, but it can dull over time. Pep up the shine on your gold items by putting them in a bowl of warm water with a few drops of washing up liquid. Leave for a few hours, then rinse off and polish with a soft, lint-free cloth.

how to clean a diamond ring

The underside of a ring can get very dirty, especially if it’s worn all the time – it’s not just you, ok? So give your rings a clean every few months and you’ll once again fall in love with the sparkliness of the diamonds or gemstones.

It’s best to avoid scrubbing with anything in case you scratch the metal or loosen the stones from the setting. Put a few drops of washing up liquid into a plastic container of warm water and allow the ring to soak for several hours. This will loosen any grime that’s ingrained in the setting. Next, take a soft, clean bristle brush, such as an artist’s paintbrush or a make up brush, and gently work the brush around the stones and the setting. Rinse off with clean water and polish dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. Easy!

how to clean gemstones

It’s generally the gemstone’s settings that can get a bit mucky over time, especially on rings as hand creams and other products can get lodged under the ring. The stone itself can also seem to have lost its sheen. To solve both of these, a soak in some warm water with washing up liquid is best. Use a soft brush to clear any debris around the settings, rinse off and polish dry with a lint-free cloth.

cleaning pearl jewellery

Pearls are porous so they should not be soaked in water. They can lose their brilliance over time, as dirt and oil builds up on the surface. To restore them to their former lustre, mix a little shampoo with some warm water, and use a clean make up brush to go over each pearl with the soapy solution. Wipe them down carefully with a damp cloth and leave them flat to dry (hanging a damp string of pearls can stretch the string).

how to stop your jewellery from getting dirty

Don’t like cleaning? How does stopping your jewellery getting dirty in the first place sound?

There are a few steps you can take to ensure your jewellery stays in tip top condition for as long as possible:

  • Take your jewellery off before spraying perfume or body spray on your skin, using moisturiser or any skin products.
  • Leave your jewellery somewhere safe when swimming in the sea, working out or in the shower.
  • Storing your jewellery in pouches or jewellery boxes will minimise the air flow and therefore slow the tarnishing process, as well as protecting it from knocks and scratches.