Jewellery can be sentimental and it can be expensive — two reasons why grimy, dirty jewellery is a particularly annoying bummer. You want your rocks, baubles, bangles, chains, and bling to be gleaming, especially when you care deeply about it or forked over a ton of cash for it.
But cleaning different kinds of jewellery requires special care and varying techniques — you can’t just give it all a rinse and call it a day. Here’s how to clean seven different types of jewellery, from gemstones to gold.
According to Jewellers Mutual Group, you should clean your gold jewellery by mixing some dish detergent with warm water and adding a few drops of ammonia. Grab a baby-sized toothbrush and use that to brush the solution on, then rinse the piece in lukewarm water before air-drying or gently drying it with a cloth.
The method listed above works for silver jewellery, too, at least according to us, but you have a few extra options to get the piece to really shine. You can buff on a little tartar control toothpaste before rinsing it, or even try ketchup instead — as we previously noted, “The acid in the ketchup reacts with the silver sulfide that forms on the top of your silver objects.”
Again, a little bath in warm, dish-soapy water will do your diamonds good, but you have another option to get them really gleaming: Toss your ring or other diamond goods into a glass of warm water and add a denture tablet. Let the jewellery sit in there for half an hour, then go after troublesome spots with a soft toothbrush before drying.
Emeralds and rubies
You’ll also need to use warm, soapy water to clean emeralds and rubies, but according to Emeralds.com and the gemstone experts at GIA, you should use a cloth dipped in the mixture, rather than soaking the jewels outright. Extreme temps are bad news for these colourful stones, as are are steam baths or ultrasonic cleaners. Go slowly and carefully using a gentle cloth.
Gemstones in general
Gemstones can be tricky to clean, since there are so many different types of them, and lots of pieces use a variety of kinds. This time, when creating your soap and water mixture, use seltzer water rather than tap water, suggests Good Housekeeping. You’ll still rinse the jewellery in plain water, but the bubbles in the seltzer bath will help loosen grime.
Per Good Housekeeping, you must never soak pearls. Instead, clean them with a makeup brush dipped in warm water and mild shampoo (like baby shampoo), then rinse them with a second clean, wet cloth.
Acrylic jewellery is functional and sturdy, but needs special cleaning care. Use a cloth dipped in warm water and antibacterial soap, but don’t make it too hot, since acrylic is a form of plastic, per A Fashion Blog, and might melt. Instead, rinse with cold water and lay your pieces out to dry.
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