• Melissa Huck

Jewelry Care Guide: Tips to try and to avoid

If you search for 'homemade jewelry cleaner' or 'care of jewelry at home' my bet is you have been bombarded with some rather interesting ideas on how to keep your pretties shiny and clean at home. Tonight I am going to share with you exactly how to care for your platinum, gold, silver and gemstone jewelry at home. These tips can be used on rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings etc. And one final note before we get to the guide: all fine jewelry should be professionally cleaned and inspected every six months. This gives your jeweler a chance to check prongs, make sure gemstones are tight and will prevent repairs down the road.

Home Remedies to Avoid

Witch Hazel, Tea Tree Oil & Baking Soda

One popular site specializing in do-it-yourself natural remedies recommends the following:

Put the jewelry in a glass mason jar .Cover with 1/2 cup of vinegar or witch hazel. Add one drop of tea tree oil and swirl to mix. Allow jewelry to soak in the mixture overnight. The next morning, coat with baking soda and scrub with an old toothbrush, then rinse with water.

Our Advice: Every element in this method has the potential to damage your jewelry. Both witch hazel and vinegar are slightly acidic and won't agree with soft or porous stones or plated jewelry.

Baking soda is also slightly abrasive, which could scratch softer stones and metals.

Finally, using an old toothbrush is not the best recommendation either. Old toothbrushes will have toothpaste residue, which will scratch the jewelry. Not to mention that is just plain gross!

Salt, Baking Soda & Dish Detergent

A prevalent resource for everything from fashion to food proposes the following to clean your jewelry at home: Line a bowl with aluminum foil and top with salt, baking soda, and dish detergent.Add hot water and drop in your jewelry, letting it sit for 10 minutes.Gently scrub with an old toothbrush.Rinse and pat dry with paper towel.

Our Advice: Again, there are potential issues with both the ingredients and methods in this suggestion. You have abrasive baking soda, plus the instruction to scrub with an old, potentially contaminated, toothbrush. Steer clear of this method.

Hot Water & Baking Soda

A top cleaning resource suggests a simpler recipe:

Let your rings sit for a few minutes in one cup of hot water with 1-2 tsp baking soda.

Our Advice: At least this recipe calls for fewer ingredients and no damaging tools. However, we still have the issue of abrasive baking soda, even in this simple solution.

Other remedies our clients shared on our Facebook page: Toothpaste (baking soda and abrasive to gemstones), alcohol ( dries out emeralds, pearls, opals and other porous or 'oiled' gemstones leaving them susceptible to cracking) and Clorox ( I have seen rings turn to dust).

Home Remedies to Try

Dish Detergent & Warm Water

The best homemade jewelry cleaning solution is a mixture of a few drops of Dawn dish detergent in warm, not hot, water. Let the piece sit in the solution for a few minutes, longer if it's very dirty, then gently scrub with a new, baby-size, soft toothbrush. To rinse, place the item in a new container of lukewarm water. Make sure the water isn't too hot or too cold, as some gemstones do not take well to drastic changes in temperature.You can dry the piece off with a paper towel or a regular cloth, as long as you're careful not to snag the prongs on the fibers.

Store Bought Cleaners to Avoid

Many store purchased cleaners are simply too strong for what it is intended. For instance check out the picture below. This ring was left in TarnX for an extended period of time. While this is clearly an extreme case of pitting each dip does slowly pit away at your gold. TarnX is only intended for a 2-3 second dip of sterling silver jewelry with NO gemstones. It is highly recommended to run the piece o jewelry under running water to rinse away any residue after the TarnX dip.

Store Bought Cleaners to Try

We carry a full line of sterling silver gold and pearl cleaners. These cleaners are gentle and still do a wonderful job on cleaning your jewelry. Please remember even these cleaners are chemicals and as such only a 3-5 minute dip is necessary. And as with any other cleaner you must rinse under running water to thoroughly rinse away any cleaner. These cleaners comes with a basket to dip your jewelry in and a small brush to wipe away any debris stuck under the gemstones. No baby toothbrushes needed! After rinsing be sure to dry your jewelry before storing in a sealed Ziploc bag. Oxygen oxidizes jewelry and the Ziploc baggie will cut down on tarnish!

Jewelry Care Cloth

If your gold or silver piece has gone dull even after a quick bath in one of our cleaners you may want to try a polishing cloth. Our polishing cloths are infused with polishing rouge, which means they will get your gold and silver extra shiny! Quick tip here... do not put your polishing cloth in the washing machine when it turns dark. LOL. That dark color you are seeing is the polishing rouge and it is a 'good' thing. You don't want to wash it out! Another tip to try after using your polishing cloth is to give your piece a quick wipe down with a clean soft microfiber cloth. This will remove any lingering polishing rouge without scratching your jewelry's surface.

We hope you found this blog post helpful! If you did please be sure to share with your friends. As always we appreciate each of you and hope to see you soon!

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