Over its lifetime, jewelry becomes tarnished. Slowly, day by day, through showers and sweating and just general use, it gets dull. It loses it’s sparkle and in extreme cases, might even start to turn different colors! It’s sad when you take out your favorite bracelet only to find that it has become dingy and discolored.
Even though this is a common problem, you don’t need to take your jewelry to have it cleaned, and you don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive cleaners! Try making your own at home with these ingredients that you probably already have in your cabinets. This method doesn’t use any harsh chemicals or perfumes – it’s just science at work!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A small bowl
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 1 tablespoon of dish detergent
- 1 cup of hot water
- Aluminum foil
- a paper towel
- an old toothbrush
You can use a new or old toothbrush for this project, but don’t resort to any abrasive scrubbers because they might damage or scratch the jewelry. Toothbrushes work the best for me because their bristles are small enough to get in between the links of tiny chains, but are gentle enough not to scratch or dent the pieces.
- Line your small bowl with aluminum foil! This part is important! If you skip this step, your jewelry won’t be cleaned afterwards and you’ll have to start all over again.
- Pour the hot water into the bowl lined with aluminum foil.
- Mix in the baking soda, salt, and detergent.
- Wait for the fizzing to stop!
- When the water is still, drop in your jewelry and let it sit in the mixture for about 5 minutes.
- Scrub away any particles that did not come loose with your toothbrush.
- Focus around grooves, chains, prongs, and underneath any gemstones (carefully!) for a really deep cleaning.
Now that your jewelry has been cleaned, rinse the pieces off with water and lay them on the paper towel to air dry. Don’t try to use any fabrics or washcloths to dry them because fibers might get stuck in the clasps, under stones, or between links.
So, what types of jewelry does this cleaning method work for? Silver, gold, pearls, brass, and diamonds will all shine like new with this method! Again, always use aluminum foil to line the bowl, especially when cleaning sterling silver! This method has worked on most of my costume jewelry as well, but since the materials in costume jewelry are not as durable, I limit their cleaning to around twice per year, but that choice is up to you!
This method is easy, quick, and you can drop in all of your jewelry at once to keep it shining like new! I generally do this once every month or so. With regular cleanings, my favorite necklaces and bracelets and rings look nicer for longer periods of time.
If you don’t want to clean your jewelry this often, try and keep everything clean by taking a few preventative measures. For example, when you’re cooking, take off any rings or bracelets to grease from coating them. Take necklaces and earrings off before a shower, and put bracelets away before gardening. Take off your jewelry if you’re going to be handling anything that could get stuck inside of the prongs, links, or clasps. Always remove any white gold pieces before going into a chlorine pool to keep them from yellowing prematurely!
Try these tips and this DIY cleaner for yourself and see if you prefer it to a trip to the jewelers!
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