How to Clean Jewelry Step by Step – All types and materials

How to clean jewelry - faverie

Jewelry items are accessories that nearly everyone wears. Unfortunately, many people do not know how to clean jewelry or the proper way to take care of these delicate items. This blog post covers everything you could possibly need to know about caring for different types of jewelry. From low-cost costume pieces to valuable gems, this guide covers it all.

In order to make the most of your knowledge of jewelry care, make sure you read the entire post. Each chapter offers valuable and thorough information that you won’t find in such great detail anywhere else. Now, sit back and relax as you learn how to clean your jewelry.

Let’s jump right in!

Prevention and Care

You love your jewelry, but do you take care of it as you should? Maybe you don’t realize that some of your activities are damaging your jewelry. In this chapter, we discuss the different things you can do to avoid harming your jewelry as you go about your daily life.

By the time you are finished reading this chapter, you will know 10 different ways to ensure your jewelry stays fresh and new-looking even after many years of wear. You will also have an understanding of why both too much and too little moisture can be a very bad thing.

Portrait man wearing jewelry

How to Take Care of Your Jewelry

Taking care of jewelry requires more than buying a jewelry box and calling it a day. You need to know when to remove it, how to store it when not in use, how to quickly clean it, and more. The following 10 tips will help you learn how to keep your jewelry looking new day after day.

1. Keep Jewelry in an Airtight Container

Believe it or not, simple exposure to air is damaging to jewelry. Air pollution that contains sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, known more simply as sulfides, can cause jewelry to turn darker. This is true of metals and gems, but it is particularly true of sterling silver. Sterling silver is prone to oxidation, the act of turning black when exposed to certain chemicals. Leaving it exposed to the air is just asking for a tarnished piece of jewelry. Use airtight containers for jewelry storage, such as small plastic bags. They are ideal for keeping the air out when the jewelry is not in use.

2. Pack Jewelry with Chalk or Silica Packs

You know you need to keep your jewelry dry (more on that later), but did you know that your jewelry is exposed to moisture even when it’s not being worn? Regardless of where you live or travel, moisture is in the air. That moisture will get to your jewelry and create the tarnished spots you’re trying to avoid. A simple way to save your jewelry is to use silica packets in your jewelry boxes and storage bags. If you don’t have access to silica packets, try chalk. The chalk will soak up the extra moisture and keep your jewelry free from ugly, black stains.

3. Stay Away from Moisture

Metal jewelry will tarnish quickly if it is regularly exposed to moisture. While you can shine the jewelry, which removes the tarnish, you don’t want to rely on this. The more often you shine the jewelry, the more quickly it will tarnish next time. Instead of planning to clean away the black spots, avoid them, to begin with. Remove all jewelry prior to showering and bathing. Take off rings, watches, and bracelets before washing your hands. If jewelry accidentally gets wet, remove it and thoroughly dry it before putting it back on again. The same is true for perspiration. Take jewelry off before you work out, play a sport or go for a run.

4. Don’t Go Swimming

Submerging your jewelry in water is a bad idea all on its own. Add chlorine to the mix, and you can cause serious damage to your jewelry. Chlorine can discolor metal jewelry. Anything you own that is gold or platinum will lose its shine if it is exposed to chlorinated water on a regular basis. It will also cause gemstones to lose their polish. If you go swimming while wearing a sapphire, don’t be surprised if its shine has diminished. Going swimming is a good time to break out a silicon wedding ring if you feel you need to have a wedding band on your hand, but also understand your current ring should not be exposed to harmful chemicals.

5. Take Off Jewelry Before Using Caustic Chemicals

The chemicals in cleaning supplies, especially bleach and ammonia, will cause serious harm to your jewelry. Chemicals break down the bonds in fine gems, which leads to an eroded finish, a lack of shine, and even cracks and discoloration. The easiest thing to do is to take off jewelry before you use any cleaning supplies. Household cleaners aren’t the only chemicals your jewelry might encounter. Hairspray, body washes, and certain makeups contain damaging chemicals. Exposure to highly acidic foods like coffee, wine, and tomatoes can create a rough atmosphere for your favorite jewelry. Watch what you are doing while wearing jewelry and remove it before showering or cleaning, just to be safe.

6. Say No to Sunlight and Heat

Woman hands feet silver bangles rings

Like most things, jewelry can be faded by the sun. Direct exposure to sunlight will fade the finish on many jewels and gems. Opals might lose their multi-tonal quality if they are exposed to the sun too frequently. Pearls might actually darken when left in sunlight. Heat is just as damaging. While you need to avoid allowing gems to soak up moisture, some porous stones need internal moisture in order to retain their shine and color. For instance, a pearl that is overheated will eventually dry out and crack. Store your gems in a spot away from sunlight and heat, and they should be fine.

7. Store Silver and Gold in Separate Locations

There are those who feel that silver and gold should never be worn together. That is a matter of personal taste. However, storing these two together is a big no-no. Silver and gold should not be kept in the same space for two very different reasons. As you have already learned, silver tarnishes. Gold will not. If you store both your gold and silver together, you may forget to take the extra care with your silver since the gold does not need it. Gold is a non-reactive metal, which makes it withstand oxidation. Gold is also very delicate, malleable, and easily scratched. Placing gold jewelry and silver jewelry in the same space may cause the silver to accidentally scratch the gold. It is better to give each piece its own separate storage solution. That can be as simple as placing them in single plastic bags.

8. Remove Body Oils and Perfume

At the end of each day, remove each piece of jewelry. Even if it looks perfectly clean, wipe down every piece with a soft cloth before placing them in their storage containers. Wiping down each piece of jewelry ensures that they are not covered in chemicals that could have come from you. This might be in the form of perfumes, body sprays, moisturizers, or even naturally occurring body oils. The extra few seconds it takes to wipe down your jewelry will be greatly appreciated when you notice your jewelry has remained fresh and new looking even after years of wear.

9. Rotate Jewelry

Who says preventative care can’t be fun? Make sure your jewelry has plenty of rest time by rotating pieces on a regular basis. You might have a favorite necklace, but give it a break from time to time. You can justify shopping for new jewelry by knowing your tried-and-true favorites need a break. This might be a difficult issue for jewelry that is worn daily, like wedding bands. Some couples find joy in having multiple wedding bands of different styles. They might have casual bands made from silicon. Novelty bands that represent favorite memories or shared interests are also fun. It might feel strange at first, but your wedding ring will be better preserved if you manage to give it an occasional rest.

10. No More Outdoor Chores

I’m not telling you to never garden again; just don’t work outside while you’re wearing jewelry. Grains and small rocks in the dirt will scratch your jewelry. This is very difficult, sometimes impossible, to repair. This is also true of going to the beach. You might love putting your hands in the sand or getting buried neck-deep next to the ocean, but you need to do so without having jewelry that is easily scratched by abrasive sand. Should you get sand or dirt on your jewelry, wash it immediately. The longer these grains are allowed to stay on the sand, the worse the damage will be.

You now have some great and easy tips for keeping your jewelry clean. Follow these tips to avoid some of the most common activities that lead to jewelry becoming tarnished, cracked, or faded. Keep reading if you want to learn the best ways to clean your jewelry. It may just surprise you!

How to clean your jewelry like a pro

Jewelry is the accessory that pulls an entire outfit together. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings give you an opportunity to show some personality with your clothing while also adding a wonderful bit of flair to your ensemble. Some of your jewelry may be an heirloom or extremely valuable pieces. Other components might simply be costume jewelry. No matter what kind of jewelry you wear, it has to be cleaned. Read this chapter to learn the best way to clean your jewelry.

How to Clean Jewelry

How many different types of jewelry do you have? If you’re like most people, the answer is “too many to name.” Just like the rest of your accessories, jewelry must be regularly cleaned. A good cleaning routine ensures your jewelry stays new-looking and keeps its luster.

Table spray baking soda lemon brush

There are basic methods to cleaning most types of jewelry. In most cases, the material and supplies you need to be a jewelry-cleaning pro are already located in your home. Lemon juice, dishwashing liquid, vinegar, and even toothpaste are excellent for cleaning many types of jewelry. The following guide gives you an excellent overview, but keep reading for how to clean specific jewelry types.

Step 1: Decide which pieces to clean

If you’re like me, you have far too many pieces of jewelry than you have time to clean in one sitting. Decide what is most important for you to clean when you have a cleaning day. It is a good idea to clean the jewelry that you wear most frequently. Likewise, clean jewelry that is made from precious metals and might become tarnished or lose their shine if they have not been cleaned in a long while. Since jewelry doesn’t have to be cleaned terribly often, you can easily rotate the pieces that you clean every four to six months.

Step 2: Set up your space

Cleaning jewelry is a lot like polishing silver. It is a messy business that requires time, patience, and room to maneuver. Are you cleaning precious gems and delicate metals? Make sure you have a clean, clear spot to carefully lay out your pieces so they don’t get lost or damaged. The items you need will depend on the type of jewelry cleaning you do. However, you will almost always need a soft towel, a bowl of warm water, jewelry, protective gloves, and antibacterial wipes. Cleaning jewelry can take a long time if you have a lot of pieces to clean. Find your favorite podcast, stream a show you love to binge-watch or finally listen to that audiobook you’ve been meaning to try. If you’re entertained while cleaning, you’re more likely to do a thorough job.

Step 3: Find the best tools

You can purchase tools that are specifically designed for cleaning jewelry. These tools reach the smallest crevices to ensure a perfect, professional-looking shine. You can also spend a little less money and avoid a shopping trip by using a soft-bristled toothbrush. The toothbrush is gentle enough for delicate jewelry, but it is also made for scrubbing. Just make sure you don’t use the same toothbrush on your own teeth! Some people use cotton swabs for cleaning jewelry. This is not always a good idea because cotton can get stuck on chains and prongs, which will leave you with an unfortunate mess.

Step 4: Choose your favorite method

There are many different ways to clean jewelry. One option is with simple soap and water. Take your bowl of warm water and mix in some liquid soap. Brush the soap on the piece, and then rinse it clean. A very tarnished or dirty piece of jewelry will benefit from baking soda. A paste of baking soda and vinegar can take care of even the nastiest stains. If you’re using a toothbrush to clean your jewelry, you might consider toothpaste! It’s not a bad plan. Toothpaste both cleans and polishes jewelry. Toothpaste and baking soda paste are brushed on and rinsed off. Please remember not to rinse your jewelry over an open drain.

YouTube video
Clean Your Jewelry Using This Simple & Easy Method
by Clean My Space

Step 5: Sanitize your pieces

You are not finished once your jewelry is clean. You also need to sanitize your jewelry. For pieces that are worn often, this may need to happen more frequently. There are two different ways to sanitize jewelry. A popular one is with boiling water. Bring a pot of water to boil and place your jewelry inside. This does not work for items that might melt, like plastic or acrylics. A different way to sanitize is through the use of antibacterial wipes or an antibacterial/antifungal spray.

Step 6: Thoroughly dry your jewelry

Your jewelry should never be put away while it is still wet. Even the smallest amount of moisture can breed bacteria. Not only is this unhealthy, but it also can lead to long-term damage to your jewelry. Certain pieces, especially silver, will tarnish if they aren’t completely dried. The most efficient way to dry your jewelry after cleaning is to dry each piece with a paper towel individually. Do not let the newly dry jewelry mix with the jewelry that is still wet.

Step 7: Put your jewelry away thoughtfully

Open jewelry

In order to keep your jewelry in a good, clean condition, you must use proper storage methods. Fine jewelry usually comes with individual storage bags and/or boxes. Keep these items so you can keep jewelry as it was meant to be kept. Another option is plastic bags. You can generally find these at any hobby shop. Small plastic bags that are designed for keeping jewels intact will hold each item with less worry of loss or damage. A jewelry box is also a good option. However, use a jewelry box that has separate spaces for each type of jewelry. Avoid those jewelry boxes that have only one or two compartments. Jewelry can get tangled, silver jewelry may cause tarnish to appear on other types of jewelry, and there is always a risk for damage.

Step 8: Keep track of cleaning days

How often do you clean your jewelry? Unless you find yourself in an unfortunate muddy situation, you don’t need to clean your jewelry more often than every six months. You will need to track when you last cleaned jewelry, so you’ll know when it’s time to do so again. This is especially true if you stagger your cleaning days so that you have less jewelry to clean in one sitting. In addition to knowing when to clean your jewelry, you need to know when not to. Cleaning too often may eventually erode all types of jewelry, from costume pieces to gemstones.

How to Clean Silver Jewelry

Before you start cleaning your silver jewelry, learn if your jewelry is pure silver or sterling silver. Most jewelry is sterling silver as it is less expensive and longer-lasting than pure silver.

Sterling silver is harder than pure silver, but it’s not without its challenges. The primary issue with sterling silver is that it is prone to tarnish. An excellent way to prevent tarnish is to clean the silver with a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil. Just half a cup of lemon juice and a teaspoon of olive oil will make your sterling silver shine. Mix the lemon juice and olive oil together, apply with a cotton cloth and rinse. 

You can also use vinegar and baking soda soak if you have the time. Mix about one-half cup of white vinegar with two to three tablespoons of baking soda (not baking powder). Mix well, and then place the jewelry in the solution. It will need to sit for a few hours, and you will still have to buff to a high shine.

After you are finished, be sure to dry the silver very, very well. Just a small amount of moisture will increase and speed up tarnishing.

Pure silver jewelry is soft and pliable. When cleaning, use gentle dishwashing soap, gentle baby bath, or baby shampoo mixed with warm water. Soak the silver jewelry in the soap and water solution for no longer than 10 minutes. You can then remove the jewelry and use a soft brush to gently clean any areas that might need extra attention. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Important note: When it comes to drying pure silver, do not use paper towels. Pure silver is very delicate and will scratch from even the lightest touch. Instead, use a microfiber cloth or one that is specifically made for silver.

How to Clean Gold Jewelry

Gold is a very soft, very delicate metal. The purer the gold, the more likely it is to scratch. If you have 24-karat gold, tread lightly. It is beautiful and valuable, but it is also extremely prone to problems. You may consider having your 24-karat gold cleaned by a jeweler to ensure proper care.

Most gold that is worn on a regular basis is less than 24-karat. Mixing the gold with alloys gives it more strength and durability. You still need to be careful while cleaning, but you may not feel the same amount of stress as you do when you clean pure gold.

Both pure gold and less-than-pure gold are cleaned in basically the same way. Fill a bowl with warm water. Add about a tablespoon of mild dishwashing detergent. Mix with about one-half teaspoon of ammonia. Do not submerge the gold. Instead, dip a soft cloth or very soft-bristled toothbrush in the solution and clean the gold by patting or brushing. Rinse in warm water. Pat dry with a microfiber cloth.

You can also purchase a pre-made gold-cleaning solution. Follow the instructions, but always remember to use warm water and soft cloths. Never use paper towels, harsh bristles, or very hot water.

These steps are the same for white gold, rose gold, and Black Hills gold (a combination of yellow gold, rose gold, and green gold). However, if your gold jewelry has gemstones other than diamonds, you may want to avoid ammonia. Some colored gemstones are treated to enhance their color. Ammonia might cause the color to fade.

Pure gold does not tarnish, but you do still need to make sure the jewelry is completely dry before storing. Any piece of jewelry that is put away wet can develop bacteria. Some golds mixed with alloys may tarnish depending on the type and percentage of alloy that is mixed. This is another good reason to dry gold jewelry and store it properly.

How to Clean Gold-Plated Jewelry

Gold-plated jewelry is far less expensive than other types of gold. It is very likely that you have at least a few gold-plated pieces in your jewelry box. The good news is that it isn’t precious, which means you could justify being less careful with it. The bad news is that gold-plated jewelry isn’t made to last. Even treating it delicately, as you would pure gold, the gold layer will eventually fade.

The method for cleaning gold-plated jewelry is similar to cleaning other gold pieces.

Fill a small bowl with warm water and mix in a very small amount of dishwashing liquid. No more than three or four drops should be enough. Mix well, and then place the jewelry inside the bowl to soak for about 10 minutes. If the jewelry is particularly dirty, you may need to follow the soak with a light scrubbing. Use a cotton cloth or baby toothbrush to lift away any dirt and debris. Rinse well and pat dry with a microfiber cloth.

Gold-plated jewelry benefits from buffing after it has been washed. Don’t put too much elbow grease into it, or you will rub off the gold plating. Polish the gold-plated piece with the same type of cloth you used to dry it.

Once you have finished cleaning your gold-plated jewelry, properly store it in a storage bag or box. You might be tempted to ignore proper storage since these pieces are cheaper. However, letting gold-plated jewelry rub against other pieces or be exposed to oxygen can greatly diminish its lifespan.

It is also important to keep gold-plated jewelry from coming into contact with chemicals. Household cleansers and chlorinated water are off-limits, but so are more innocuous chemicals like perfume and lotion. Simply make sure you apply any hair spray or perfume before putting on the gold-plated jewelry. Likewise, moisturize first and allow your skin to dry before the jewelry is worn.

Hot to Clean Pearls

Real pearls are beautiful, lustrous pieces that are extraordinarily picky when it comes to cleaning. Because pearls are natural, they need hydration to keep their trademark shine. Certain types of cleaning products will dry out pearls, which will diminish their quality or even change their color. Even certain makeups or your body’s natural oils may cause damage to pearls. Proper cleaning is vital.

Unlike the rest of your jewelry, which you probably don’t need to clean more often than twice per year, pearls should be cleaned after each use. Use a soft, cotton cloth to gently clear the pearls of any natural oils. The pearls may not appear soiled, but even undetectable amounts of oil can damage these fine gemstones.

Hands holding cloth pearl

Pearls can be cleaned by applying a small amount of soap and water with a cloth, but this must be done carefully. Do not submerge pearls in the mixture. Do not use harsh chemicals on pearls, and never use a jewelry steamer.

Though pearls do need moisture, it is still important to dry them thoroughly before storing them. Bacteria will damage a pearl just as easily as any other type of jewelry.

How to Clean Gemstones

Cleaning a gemstone is largely dependent upon the type of gemstone you have. Porous gemstones made from organic materials, like pearl and coral, have a different cleaning method than stones like diamonds and rubies. Manufactured gemstones have yet another set of instructions.

Hard gemstones can be cleaned with warm water and dishwashing soap. They can be soaked in or scrubbed with the solution. If you have a particularly soiled gemstone, you can use toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean the piece. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry.

Naturally, softer gemstones need a lighter touch. Diamonds, rubies, and sapphires can withstand even heavy scrubbing. Opals, turquoise, and lapis lazuli are much softer and should be treated as such. Make sure you know the Mohs score of your gemstone before you start cleaning.

Porous gemstones need to be wiped with a clean cloth. Never submerge them in water or any chemicals. Doing so may cause them to dry out or develop bacteria. They may end up cracking or becoming discolored from this type of treatment.

Manufactured gemstones are made to look just as beautiful as their natural counterparts but are far less expensive. Many manufactured gems are chemically treated to enhance their color. Clean with the same solution for non-manufactured gemstones but never submerge them and keep exposure to soap and water to a minimum.

How to Clean Tarnished Jewelry

There are several ways to clean tarnished jewelry. The best method is dependent upon the type of jewelry that shows tarnish.

Tarnished costume jewelry is easily cleaned with a soak in equal parts white vinegar and water. The vinegar cleans and disinfects the costume pieces. It also leaves them with a beautiful shine. You can also use equal parts vinegar and water as a scrub to get rid of really stubborn tarnish.

For sterling silver jewelry, try the aluminum foil method that is popularly used on silver serving sets. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Put the tarnished jewelry pieces on the foil in the pan. Add equal parts baking soda and salt, about one tablespoon each. Pour one cup of very hot but not boiling water. Tarnished pieces will become clean in about 15 minutes. Rinse each piece and thoroughly dry it.

Delicate jewelry, like gold and gemstones, can be soaked in a bowl of warm water and mild dishwashing soap. About 15 to 20 minutes of soaking should help the tarnish lift away. Use a soft-bristled brush to rid the jewelry of any remaining tarnish.

How to Clean Copper Jewelry

Copper is a metal that must be cleaned more often than many others. It has a quick reaction to elements that leads to rapid tarnishing. Metals like gold or silver that are combined with copper will also see faster corrosion times.

The best way to clean copper jewelry is with a few items you can find around your home. Mix lemon juice with salt to create a rough paste. Spread it on the copper jewelry, rub it in and rinse. Pat it dry to reveal a fresh, shiny copper. If your copper jewelry is intricately carved, you can replace the salt with baking soda and allow it to soak before scrubbing.

If you don’t have lemon juice handy, try vinegar. Simply soaking copper jewelry in vinegar should leave it sufficiently clean. Even ketchup is a good cleanser for copper, thanks to its high vinegar content. Just spread it on, rub it in and rinse.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry

Stainless steel is a popular metal for inexpensive jewelry. Any kind of jewelry can be made from stainless steel, but it can be argued that the most popular use is with earrings and body jewelry. It is very important to keep stainless steel ear and body rings very clean to avoid infection.

A fast and effective way to clean stainless steel earrings is to soak them in rubbing alcohol. The alcohol kills germs and bacteria and doesn’t tarnish the metal. Rinse the jewelry and pat dry. Baking soda and water or baking soda and vinegar paste is also a good option if you want to scrub your jewelry and leave it looking shiny.

You can purchase stainless steel cleaners or use ultrasonic devices to clean this metal. It is unnecessary to do so as stainless steel is very easy and inexpensive to clean with things you already have around the house. Just remember that stainless steel can tarnish, so it is important to ensure it is completely dry after cleansing.

How to Clean Fake Jewelry

Fake jewelry should be cared for in the same way you clean the real deal. Some fake jewelry is just as delicate, if not more, than the genuine items it replaces. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know just how delicate a piece of costume jewelry is until it is too late. It is better to be safe than sorry. Clean the jewelry with the softest touch you can.

To clean fake jewelry, use a very gentle soap, like baby shampoo, mixed with warm water. Dab it onto the jewelry with a soft cloth. Pat it dry. If your fake jewelry is severely dirty or tarnished, you might try one of the methods listed for its real counterpart, but do so knowing it could be the last time you clean that piece of jewelry.

In all cases, never submerge fake jewelry in water unless you know for certain it won’t come back unharmed. For instance, if you have a string of fake pearls, submerging them in water could cause the string to break. On the other hand, a man-made diamond will not be damaged when covered in water.

Types of Jewelry

There are so many types of jewelry that you could spend days jewelry shopping and never see the same item twice. Earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, ankle bracelets, body jewelry, watches, ear cuffs, and arm cuffs are just the beginning. Along with each type of jewelry are even more narrow categories. Earrings may be studs or hoops. Necklaces could be strands of pearls, lockets, or statement pieces. There is almost no end.

Detail woman chest necklaces

Types of jewelry also refers to the kind of material used in that jewelry. Metal is the most popular jewelry type. Jewelry may also be made from plastic, glass, resin, rubber, vinyl, or even bamboo. Jewelry made from fabric or rope is not uncommon. The types of jewelry are virtually endless.

Now that you know how to clean your jewelry, you also need to know some of the things you should and shouldn’t do. Keep reading to learn about the do’s and dont’s of caring for your favorite accessories.

Jewelry Cleaning Do’s & don’ts

We all make mistakes when it comes to taking care of our jewelry. Sometimes, we even worry that things we are doing right are actually wrong. Don’t worry anymore. The following chapter explains all of the most important do’s and don’ts you need for taking care of the jewelry that you love.

Once you are finished reading about the do’s and don’ts of jewelry care, you will feel more confident with your cherished pieces. It won’t be long until you know everything there is to know about taking care of all of your jewelry. Whether you prefer precious metals and fine gemstones or costume jewelry, it will be taken care of in the best possible way once you are finished reading.

Are you ready? Read on!

Jewelry Cleaning Do’s

The following do’s of jewelry maintenance cover all of those things you might already be doing but have questions about. From how to store your jewelry to what kind of cleaning is best, this list of do’s covers it all! Reminder: If you have more in-depth questions about jewelry cleaning, go back over the previous chapter.

Keep Jewelry Clean

It should go without saying that you should maintain your jewelry by removing any dirt and/or tarnishing that appears. Clean your jewelry once every six months if it isn’t worn often. Jewelry that you wear most days can be cleaned as often as once per month.

Know What Kind of Cleaning is Best

Detail hands cleaning ring toothbrush

Study the previous chapter to learn the best way to clean your jewelry. If all else fails, you can almost always use a very delicate hand soap and warm water applied with a baby toothbrush, rinse and pat dry.

Wipe Jewelry After Wearing

A deep clean isn’t necessary after every wear. In fact, it can even be harmful. However, it is a good idea to use a soft cloth to wipe jewelry after each wear. Something as seemingly innocuous as your own body oils and sweat might cause damage to jewelry if it isn’t wiped away.

Properly Store Jewelry

Jewel box lots rings

Jewelry should be kept in a safe location that keeps it away from any harsh chemicals, sunlight, or moisture. A jewelry box is fine as long as it has a separate space for each piece. Otherwise, use the box or bag that came with the jewelry. If you don’t have a box or bag, a plastic baggie works well.

Have Jewelry Professionally Inspected

Any fine jewelry should be inspected by a professional at least once per year. They will look for imperfections and damage. They’ll make small repairs and even professionally clean it for you.

Keep Jewelry Dry

Leaving jewelry wet after wear is a sure way to encourage damage. If your jewelry becomes wet for any reason, immediately dry it with a soft cloth.

Change Jewelry Often

Changing up your jewelry options is not just about fashion. You need to rotate your jewelry to keep favorite pieces out of the sun, away from harsh chemicals, and undamaged by the oils on your skin.

Get Jewelry Insured

An insurance policy is a must for fine jewelry. Your homeowner’s insurance should cover the cost of a lost or stolen gem as long as you remember to add it to your policy. The insurance increase is nothing compared to the cost of repairs that are not covered.

Jewelry Cleaning Don’ts

Pay special attention to the don’ts of jewelry care. You may already be guilty of some of the mistakes listed, which is a behavior you will need to change right away! Others may seem like logical choices that are actually very bad for certain kinds of jewelry. Keep reading to learn about all those things you absolutely should not do.

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DON’T DO THIS TO YOUR JEWELRY – 5 Things Not To Do To Your Designer Jewelry
by My First Luxury

Sleep While Wearing Jewelry

Jewelry is easily damaged while sleeping. Tossing, turning, and getting jewelry caught on bed sheets or even in your own hair can cause irreparable damage to certain gems and chained necklaces. Remove all jewelry before you go to sleep.

Wear Jewelry in Sunlight

Sunlight doesn’t just increase your risk of developing skin cancer. It also wreaks havoc on jewelry. Certain gems and costume jewelry can easily fade when worn in the sun for too long.

Apply Lotions, Oils, or Sunscreens

You absolutely can apply lotion, oil, sunscreen, perfume, makeup, and hair products. Simply do so before you put on jewelry. Wait until all of your lotions are completely dry before you put jewelry on. Accidentally exposing your jewelry to chemicals is a bad idea.

Wear While Cleaning

The harsh chemicals you use when cleaning your home can greatly damage your jewelry. Remove anything you care about before scrubbing the kitchen floor. Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning and before you put the jewelry on again.

Wear While Swimming

Getting jewelry wet is a problem we have already discussed. Going swimming in a chlorinated pool while wearing jewelry puts you in double jeopardy. The chlorine from a swimming pool can cause major structural damage to jewelry of all types.

Wear While Working Out

Take your jewelry off before a sports game or a workout. Getting the jewelry caught in a machine is a real hazard to you and your jewelry. Likewise, the sweat that comes from a strenuous workout can cause your jewelry to tarnish.

Use Ultrasonic Cleaners for all Jewelry

Ultrasonic cleaners seem like a great and easy idea. However, they are often bad choices for delicate jewelry. The shaking motions from the cleaner can cause delicate jewelry to be damaged.

Overclean Jewelry

Jewelry can be too clean. Overcleaning your jewelry can cause chips in gems, dark spots in fine metals, and weak satin-strung necklaces. Unless your jewelry is overly filthy, you don’t need to clean more than once per month. In many cases, you can wait far longer to clean the jewelry.

These do’s, and don’ts of jewelry care have certainly given you a lot to think about. However, that’s not everything you need to know. Keep reading to learn some special tips and tricks of jewelry maintenance. After you have finished the next chapter, you’ll be fully informed about everything related to caring for your favorite jewelry items.

Jewelry Cleaning Tips & tricks

Taking care of jewelry requires patience and effort, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Now that you know how to clean, store and take care of all of your different types of jewelry, you should also take the time to figure out some of the more straightforward methods of dealing with common issues. You will even find ways to stop problems before they occur!

Read through the following tips and tricks and decide which ones work for you. Try a few or try them all! You are sure to find plenty of perfect tricks that will help you care for your jewelry.

Tips and Tricks for Jewelry Care

Good tips and tricks for jewelry care are both easy to remember and nearly effortless to implement. The following tips and tricks give you some solutions that are so simple you will wonder how you never thought of them before!

Take Off Your Jewelry!

Detail washing hands water jewelry

This has been covered before, but it bears repeating. If you are doing anything involving dirt, sweat, or harsh chemicals, remove your jewelry first! Never wear jewelry while swimming in chlorinated water or cleaning with bleach. Even costume jewelry can be seriously damaged by chemicals.

Avoid Commercial Jewelry Cleaners

There are commercial cleaners made for jewelry. You can purchase silver cleaners, gold cleaners, or all-purpose cleaners. While this might seem like a good idea, it can actually backfire. Some commercial jewelry cleaners are too harsh for regular use. If you accidentally use the wrong type of cleaner (for instance, a silver polish on a piece of gold jewelry), you can cause lasting damage. You can usually get equal results from using soap and water.

Buy a Baby Toothbrush

Baby toothbrushes are perfect for your delicate jewelry pieces. Hard bristles on regular toothbrushes, even those that are labeled as “soft,” may scratch your jewelry. Baby toothbrushes have extremely soft, fine bristles that are made for the most delicate areas. The bristles are flexible enough to ensure all areas of your jewelry get clean. Bonus: They are very inexpensive and easy to find.

Use an Eyeglass Cleaning Cloth

Eyeglasses require a special touch, which is why mean glasses wearers carry small, microfibre cloths with them wherever they go. This type of cloth is extremely inexpensive and does a great job when polishing jewelry. If you need to dry or polish the jewelry you’ve just washed, use an eyeglass cleaning cloth! These are also great for wiping jewelry after it’s been worn for the day. They are also machine washable.

Skip Jewelry Stands

You might love the look of having your earrings, rings, or necklaces on display. Unfortunately, leaving your jewelry out in the open can cause a lot of harm. Exposure to oxygen and water in the atmosphere can lead to corrosion. Dust that settles on your jewelry will make it look dingy. It’s better to store jewelry in jewelry boxes or in drawers.

Avoid Tangled Chains with Straws

Slide a chain through a straw, leaving the clasp hanging out. If the clasp is too large to thread through the straw, use a sharp blade to vertically cut the straw. It will be easy to open. Simply place the chain inside. If you are traveling, use a piece of scotch tape to reseal the straw, and then remove it when you are ready to wear your jewelry again.

Do Not Use Nail Polish on Costume Jewelry

Far too many tutorials show you how to change the color of your costume jewelry with nail polish. This is a huge mistake! The chemicals in nail polish can damage your jewelry, making it unwearable. Even if you see no surface damage, nail polish chips very easily. You may not even get one full wear out of the jewelry before it looks like it needs a new coat. Unfortunately, once it is chipped, each new layer just makes the problem bigger. It’s better to buy the color of jewelry you want than to paint it with nail polish.

Avoid Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaners

Ultrasonic jewelry cleaner necklace

An ultrasonic jewelry cleaner is almost never a good idea. They are expensive, they take up a lot of space, they aren’t used that often, and they can damage certain types of jewelry. Save your money and clean your jewelry with one of the methods detailed earlier.

Coating is a No-No

Have you heard of this hack? Non-experts might tell you to coat your jewelry with clear nail polish or resin to keep it from oxidizing. Not only does it not work, but it also causes unnecessary damage to your jewelry. Also, if it’s not done with a very light and steady hand, you will see bubbling and warping on the jewelry you were trying to protect.

Baby Powder Loosens Knots

Are your necklaces all in a knot? Rub a little bit of baby powder on the chain, and then watch as you easily pry it loose. You will then need to clean the necklace with a little bit of water, soap, and the handy-dandy baby toothbrush.


Now that you have read this post, you know there is a lot to cleaning jewelry. You also know how to keep your jewelry safe from harmful chemicals, proper jewelry storage, and plenty of tips and tricks to know you will always have jewelry that is well maintained, sparkling, and clean.

Do you have any questions about jewelry care that we didn’t cover here? Ask in the comments! Do you have any special tips for cleaning jewelry that would help other readers? We would love to read them! Don’t forget to share this post with all of your friends who wear jewelry.

Did you like what you read here? We have many more style and fashion guides that you are sure to love. Check them out!

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