Some of our jewelry pieces are more expensive than others, but no matter how much their value they each need to be kept free of dirt and debris to look their very best. Even something as simple as a buildup of hand lotion or hairspray will dull gold bands over time.
With a little effort and a small number of supplies, you can keep yourself stocked with jewelry cleaner at all times…for very little cost too!
It’s recommended to regularly maintain your jewelry by washing in a gentle solution once a month or so. This is also a great time to carefully poke out any built-up gunk in the setting.
Here’s a basic recipe you can try to keep your precious jewels sparkling:
1 cup warm water
1 TBS ammonia
small squirt of Ivory dish detergent
- Mix ingredients then soak pieces, carefully scrub with a soft jewelry brush. Dry fully before storing away.
A Gentler Option: Just a mild soap and water solution will safely clean many different types of jewelry in most cases. Please review the gem care chart linked to below before doing so.
Another Tip: Mr. Clean (Lemon) heated for about 30 seconds in the microwave. Scrub and soak a bit then rinse well with water. Pat dry with lint free cloth.
More Products: Windex (Ammonia-Free) or Dawn Dish Soap are also frequently recommended (mixed with water).
There are some gems that should never be soaked in anything containing ammonia, chemicals or harsh solvents as the gem can become discolored, pitted or damaged. If in doubt, simply maintain the item by wiping it down well with a clean cloth.
Every time you wash them, check clasps and look closely at the stones. Are they sitting in place properly or are they at an odd angle? If something’s not quite right, take it into a jeweler to be inspected. The last thing you want is to lose a diamond from your engagement ring. I’ve lost a couple (small) diamonds this way, mostly by snagging my rings on loose weave textiles like sweaters and blankets. If I paid more attention, I could have caught the danger in time.
Important: Here’s a gem care chart to review before using an ammonia based cleaner. Some are even ok to gently boil!
Good To Know
- For sterling silver, I’ve seen recommendations to use baking soda or toothpaste–but I’ve been told it’s a bad idea since that method can cause fine scratches that only a professional will be able to remove. And with great difficulty at that. Only silver cleaning cloths and polishes should be used.
- Have a professional inspect your rings and other pieces annually to check for loose stones and tighten clasps where necessary. This can save you a lot of money and heartache in the long run.
- If you’re looking for information on how to maintain & repair vintage and costume pieces, here’s a page bursting with info: Sparklz.com
- There’s no need to invest in expense mini-brushes, try a cheap makeup brush or even a q-tip to work around ornate items. Toothbrushes are probably too harsh but a super-soft baby toothbrush should do the trick.
- Chlorine can damage gold, platinum and some types of gems. Don’t wear valuables in hot tubs, swimming pools or wear when washing anything with bleach.
- My what an expensive loaf of bread you have there! Did you know that something as simple as kneading bread can pull out the diamond that was in a damaged/loose setting? It’s best to remove all rings before doing any baking or household chores that may knock a ring around.