How to clean jewelry, 17 actionable methods that will make your jewelry brand new which you can try right away

Jul 3rd 2018

A brand new piece of sparkling jewelry is the best way to compliment your already outstanding and stylish appearance, but it doesn't take too long before it starts becoming duller and more tarnished if worn regularly. If you are like most of us, you probably just place it in a jewelry box, never to be worn again and head to the stores in search of a new one.

But it's time to open this jewelry box and bring back the sparkle of your forgotten treasures. In this article, you will find exactly how to clean your jewelry with 17 proven methods which you can try TODAY!

Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

1.The universal solution for metal jewelry

This method is suitable for every type of metal jewelry. So if you are looking for something that can take care of everything in your old jewelry box, look no further this is the universal solution.

Keep in mind this is a very strong solution that deals with hard to get rid of dirt and tarnish but if you have jewelry with soft gemstones, we suggest you check some of the other methods below as some of the ingredients might damage some of the stones.

Suitable for: All metal jewelry

What you need: 1 tbsp. (tablespoon) of liquid soap / 1 tbsp. of ammonia / 1 tbsp. of baking soda / 

  1. glasses of hot water / a glass of clean water / a little bowl / a spoon / a soft toothbrush / a lint-free piece of cloth
  2. Heat 3 glasses of water in your microwave or on a hot plate – keep in mind it needs to be hot, but not boiling, so don’t overdo this.
  3. Pour the water into the bowl.
  4. Add the soap, ammonia and the baking soda and stir them using the spoon.
  5. Dip the jewelry in the solution and leave it there for 5 – 10 min.
  6. Take out the jewelry and polish it using a soft toothbrush to remove the persistent steins – you can hold the piece in your hand while brushing it or leave it lying on a dish.
  7. Wash the jewelry with clean water to remove the remaining solution on it. This is very important, so take your time.
  8. Dry the jewelry with the soft piece of cloth and voilà, you have a brand new piece, ready to shine on you.

Pro tip: ALWAYS use a soft toothbrush, as this is essential to avoid scratches from its hairs on the jewelry surface and do it gently for the same reason. For softer metals like silver and gold you can replace the toothbrush with a lint-free cloth, it’s not as effective, but it will leave no scratches for sure.

2.Good old soap and water

Yes, this is the classic method that comes to mind of everyone when it comes to washing dirt, but it is indeed “underrated”. Why? Well, we'll cover many jewelry methods in this post and many of them use ingredients that are very effective but can only be used on a certain type of jewelry, which means the chances are they will cover only a part of your treasures. Soap and water, on the other hand, are still very effective and can be used on all types of jewelry, as the soap does not harm even the most delicate surfaces.

Suitable for: All kinds of jewelry (except for wooden ones, for more on them keep reading)

What you need: 2 bowls of hot water / dish soap / a soft toothbrush / a lint-free piece of cloth

  1. Take 1 of the bowls with hot water and pour the dish soap inside, several drops are usually enough for medium-size bowl.
  2. Take your jewelry and place it inside the bowl with the soap and leave it there for about 15 min.
  3. Pick the jewelry from the bowl and scrub gently with the soft toothbrush to remove all of the accumulated dirt and grime of the surface. For pearls and softer stones skip this step, as brushing them can cause harm.
  4. Take the bowl of clear water and rinse the jewelry inside. Make sure you wash all of the soap from it, so don’t rush it. You can always do this under the tab of your kitchen sink but you it makes this step a little bit harder.
  5. Use the clean cloth to dry your treasure before you put it back inside the box.

3.Aluminum foil, baking soda and boiling water for tarnished silver

This is a very effective method that doesn't require any brushing, which can scratch more delicate silver surfaces. How does this work? It uses a process called  ion exchange. The purpose of the foil is to pick the tarnish from the jewelry through the water. During the process, you'll see for yourself how the water gets murky while everything accumulated over years falls from your bracelet, ring or every other silver piece you need cleaning off.

Keep in mind that this method is really effective on silver, but if there are glued gems or softer stones try some of the others as they might fall off or get damaged in the process.

Suitable for: Silver pieces

What you need: a piece of aluminum foil / a medium size cooking pot of boiling water / 2 or 3 tbsp. of baking soda / a bowl of clean water / a piece of lint-free cloth

  1. Take the cooking pot and fill it with clean water. Take the piece of foil, crumple it a bit and place it in the water.
  2.  Heat the cooking pot on a hot plate until the water starts boiling.
  3. Add the baking soda to the boiling water.
  4. At this point, you can turn the stove off, as the water is already hot enough.
  5. Take your silver piece and dip it in the water for about 1 min. (the time depends on the level of the tarnish, so if it lesser a quick dip will do the trick, but for more persistent stains it might take some time), be careful not to burn yourself, so it is a good idea to dip the one half first and then the other one or if it is something like a ring to hang it up on a threat and submerge it this way.
  6. You will see how the water gets murky and the dipped part of your silver jewelry starts to brighten up
  7. Take out the jewelry and dip the other half of it, until they are both equally clean.
  8. Rinse it well in clean water.
  9. Dry it carefully in the soft piece of clothing and remove any excess tarnish.

Pro tip: For drying you can also use a hairdryer or dust off blower can for more delicate and ornamented surfaces, to make sure everything is dried before storage.

4.A shampoo to polish your delicate pearls

Pearls are very beautiful and stylish, but unfortunately can lose their luster quite easily, as dirt and grime can fill up their pores. On the other hand, they are very delicate too, so when it comes to cleaning, you should proceed with extra care and take your time with them. This method is perfect for the task, as the pearls are not subjected to any potential harm. The shampoo dissolves greasy compounds in their pores and makes them brand new.

Keep in mind you should NEVER soak soft porous gemstones, as even this can damage their delicate surface.

Suitable for: Pearl, coral, turquoise, howlite, amber and other soft porous gemstones.

What you need: A small delicate makeup brush / shampoo / 2 bowls of warm water / a lint-free piece of cloth

  1. Take the cloth and lay it on the table or another comfortable surface.
  2. Take the bowl with the warm water and pour several drops of shampoo inside and mix it.
  3. Take your pearl jewelry and place it on the cloth.
  4. Dip the makeup brush in the bowl, so it can take a little bit of the mixture and the go through each pearl, dipping the brush every now and then in the mixture to moisture it. Take your time here, make delicate and slow movements and make sure to cover each pearl.
  5. Once you're finished take the clean end of the cloth and soak it in the clean warm water from the other bowl that you prepared.
  6. Rinse the pearls gently with the clean cloth and let it dry well before you put it back in the box.

Pro tip: When wiping jewelry is best to use a lint-free cloth, as the fabric is very gentle and doesn’t let loose any fibers. Look for microfiber wipes, just like the one you use on your glasses.

Looking for an amazing new faux pearl jewelry? Check our Vintage Pink Faux Pearl Boho Choker Necklace with Crystal from Swarovski Flower.

5.Toothpaste makes your smile brighter, as well as your  jewelry

Toothpaste, a product we use at least twice a day that helps us keep our smile beautiful and our teeth polished and healthy, can help you clean your jewelry too. Toothpaste has a set of ingredients with the exact purpose of maintenance, so we'll take advantage of them, while we just change its target. But because of these ingredients, this method is not suitable for soft metals and should never be performed on softer gemstones.

Keep in mind that not all toothpaste is suitable for this, as some contain hard particles that are used for deeper and more professional care for your teeth, which can damage and scratch the surface of your jewelry.

Suitable for: Platinum and stainless steel jewelry and crystalline gemstones

What you need: regular toothpaste / a soft toothbrush / a bowl of warm clean water / a lint-free clean cloth

  1. Take the toothpaste and squeeze some on your fingers, then set the container aside.
  2. Take the jewelry in your hand and spread the toothpaste evenly across its surface to cover all of it.
  3. Take the soft toothbrush and scrub gently while holding the jewelry in your other hand, take your time, this is the delicate part of the process.
  4. Clean the jewelry from the all of the toothpaste under running warm water on your bath or kitchen sink. Otherwise, you can do this by rinsing it in a bowl of clean warm water, but you must make sure that all of the toothpaste is washed away.
  5. Dry your piece with the clean cloth and it’s as brand new once again.

6.Alka-Seltzer to relieve you from the headache of cleaning jewelry

Antacids, in general, are a great way of cleaning delicate jewelry, such as chains and bracelets and hard gemstones, such as diamonds. This is a really effective method to get rid of the build up dirt and grime on the hard to reach and treat surfaces of smaller and more detailed pieces, as it doesn’t involve any scrubbing or polishing, the fizzling solution does all the work for you. Furthermore, this means that there is no danger of causing accidental damage to these delicate pieces.

Keep in mind NOT to use flavored Alka-Seltzer, as it contains dyes that could have a negative effect on the gems and even on some metals. 

Suitable for: All kinds of metal jewelry and diamonds

What you need: Alka-Seltzer / 2 glasses of warm water / a piece of lint-free cloth

  1. Warm the 2 glasses of water in the microwave and place them on the table in front of you.
  2. Take 2 tables of the Alka-Seltzer and drop them in one of the glasses and immediately you will see the water start fizzling.
  3. Right after you drop the tablets, take your jewelry and drop it in the fizzling water.
  4. Wait until the water stops fizzling and take out your jewelry (if it is really dirty you can leave it a minute longer in the water).
  5. Rinse it in the glass of clear warm water that you prepared.
  6. Take the cloth and dry it well, now your diamonds have their shine back.

7.There’s nothing like a cold beer in a hot summer day

Beer is one of our favorite beverages but did you know it is actually one of the best solutions when it comes to cleaning gold. It contains carbon dioxide which dissolves the dirt and the alcohol breaks down the accumulated oils and fat from our skin. Still, this method is good only when it comes to gold, so don't try it with any other metals or if your jewelry has gemstones on it, as the beer can damage them or cause them to fall off.

Keep in mind you should only use a light beverage (any will do) and NEVER Dark Ale!

Suitable for: Gold jewelry (without any gemstones) 

What you need: a glass of beer / a bowl of warm water / 2 pieces of lint-free cloth / a towel

  1. Take one of the clothes and soak it in the beer. 
  2. Take the golden piece in hand and start polishing it with the soaked cloth. Make sure to cover the whole surface and to polish it thoroughly. 
  3. Soak the other cloth in the water and carefully rinse the traces of beer left on it. 
  4. Use the towel to dry it and your gold shines like new once again!


Now that we started talking about beverages, here is another one of our favorite drinks that can help you bring back the shine and sparkle of your diamond ring. A few drops of vodka can clean any crystalline gemstone, such as diamonds and emeralds or any kind of glass. This is a very simple and effective method you can use it anywhere, given you have some vodka.

Keep in mind NOT to use this method on any other kind of gemstones except crystalline as the alcohol can damage them.

Suitable for: Diamond and emerald gemstones

What you need: A glass of vodka / a piece of lint-free cloth 

  1. Take the piece of soft cloth and dip it the vodka
  2. Take your jewelry in one and start wiping the gemstone with the moist piece of clothing until all the grime and dunk fall off
  3. Wipe the jewelry with the clean part of the cloth.

9.Lemon juice for your tarnished silver

Lemon juice is a great way to remove the buildup tarnish from your silver jewelry because of the acid it contains. After a while you can see how your silver rings or bracelets start becoming duller and more grayish, this is due to the reaction of this metal with oxygen. The acid in the lemon juice can help you dissolve this outer dark gray layer on the surface and bring back the original color of the silver as well as its shine.

Keep in mind this method works great on sterling silver but you shouldn’t use it on gold or any kinds of gemstones, as the acid can damage them.

Suitable for: Sterling silver, brass

What you need: 1 tbsp. of lemon juice / half a cup of water / a lint-free cloth / a small spoon

  1. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and add it to the water and mix it well with the spoon.
  2. Take your silver jewelry and place it inside the solution for the night.
  3. In the morning take out the silver and rinse it well under running water.
  4. Make sure to completely dry it before you store it.

Pro tip: When rinsing something small as a ring under running water, make sure to place something on the drain, so if you accidentally drop the piece it doesn’t go down the drain.

10.A moist cloth for wooden jewelry

Wooden jewelry should never be submerged into water, as the wood can absorb it and swell, losing its original form. This is why you should be very gentle with your wooden pieces because they, unlike metal ones, are after all made from organic material. A soft piece of moist cloth should be able to take care of the build-up dirt on your piece, without bringing any harm to it.

Keep in mind this method works more as a maintenance procedure rather than cleaning solution because with time wood absorbs body oils and gets darker which requires a different treatment with a special product for wooden surfaces.

Suitable for: Wood, softer gemstones

What you need: a lint-free clean piece of cloth / a bowl of warm water

  1. Take the piece of cloth and dip into the warm water. Squeeze it, so it’s not dripping water, but rather be just moist.
  2. Hold your wooden piece in hand and wipe it gently with the moist cloth. Make sure you cover all the surfaces to remove all of the buildup grime.
  3. Once you are done, let the wood air dry in a room temperature with good ventilation.

11.Club soda and liquid dish soap

You can use carbonated soda or also known as club soda to give your diamonds, sapphires and other hard gemstones a bright sheen. This solution is really effective and most importantly harmless for your crystalline gemstones, plus it’s one of the most effortless on this list.

Suitable for: Jewelry with hard gemstones

What you need: a bottle of club soda / liquid dish soap / a medium bowl / a small bowl of clean water / a soft toothbrush / a piece of lint-free cloth

  1. Squirt some dish soap into the empty bow (depends on how many pieces you want to clean, but you don’t have to be exact here, so use as much as you wish).
  2. Pour the club soda over the soap and mix it well. The result should be bubbly carbonated soap water.
  3. Place your jewelry in the solution and leave it there for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Take out your piece and while holding it in one hand start scrubbing it gently with the toothbrush, covering its entire surface.
  5. Once you are done rinse it well in the bowl of clear water.
  6. Wipe it with the cloth and let it dry. Your gems are ready to hit the town!

12.Ketchup, a tasty cleaning solution!

But wait, ketchup for cleaning, isn’t it one of those substances that usually has to be cleaned itself? Well, when it comes to clothes, we all know the struggle, but ketchup actually can be very effective cleaning solution for tarnished silver, brass, and copper. This tasty substance contains acid that is strong enough to remove any tarnish from your silver, brass or copper pieces but not strong enough to damage the metal. So, it’s time to get your hands dirty and your rings clean!

Keep in mind you shouldn’t use ketchup on other metals or on any gemstones as it can damage them.

Suitable for: Silver, brass and copper jewelry

What you need: a small bowl of ketchup / a bowl of warm water / a soft toothbrush / a lint-free piece of cloth

  1. Take your jewelry and put it in the bowl of ketchup. Make sure you cover it all with ketchup.
  2. Leave it in the bowl for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Take out the jewelry and while still covered with ketchup scrub it gently with the soft toothbrush, so it can reach all of the crevices. If the surface is smooth and even, you can do this with your fingers to avoid any potential scratches, especially when it comes to silver.
  4. Rinse your jewelry under running water and make sure to remove all the remaining ketchup.
  5. Use the soft cloth to dry it and you are good to go!

13.Boil your rings!

This method is perfect for dealing with stubborn stains that even some of the other solutions can't deal with. The high temperature of the water helps against greasy substances that can stick to your jewelry. This works great for any kind of metal jewelry and crystalline gemstones, but you should never try this on soft gemstones such as coral and pearls as it can damage them.

Keep in mind you should avoid this method on pieces on which glue is used as well, as the glue might not be resistant to high temperatures and can melt, resulting in the fall of anything it was holding.

Suitable for: Any kind of metal jewelry and crystalline gemstones

What you need: a kettle of boiled water / a medium bowl / a lint-free piece of cloth

  1. Boil some water using a kettle on the stove or use an electric one, as you prefer.
  2. Take your jewelry and place it inside the empty bowl.
  3. Start pouring the boiling water inside the bowl until it covers the whole piece.
  4. Leave it in the water until it cools down.
  5. Take it out and gently polish it with the soft cloth and as always leave it to dry before you put it back in the box.

Pro tip: Before pouring the hot water, make sure the metal is not cold and simply warm it in your hand, so it is well prepared for the “hot shower”.

14.Vinegar, the sour but effective cleaning solution

Vinegar has many uses outside cooking and one of them is jewelry cleaning. Because of its acidic nature, vinegar is highly effective against tarnish and even rust. You can clean about any kind of metal with it, as well as crystalline gemstones, but it is really effective when it comes to gold. But keep away your delicate gemstones from it, such as opal and pearls as they can be damaged by the acid.

Keep in mind you should use ONLY white vinegar, otherwise, you risk potential damage to your piece.

Suitable for: crystalline gemstones

What you need: a regular glass cleaner / a lint-free piece of cloth / a soft toothbrush / a pair of rubber gloves

  1. Put on the rubber gloves on
  2. Take the jewelry in one hand and spray a bit of glass cleaner on the gemstones of your piece.
  3. Take the soft toothbrush and gently scrub every stone, take your time and go through all of them.
  4. Take the cloth and wipe thoroughly the whole piece (if you think you might be allergic to some of the glass cleaner’s ingredients rinse the jewelry in some water before you wipe with the cloth).
  5. Let it air dry before you store it.

Need a new addition for your jewelry box? Check our Ruby Red Baroque Cut Vintage Earrings with Crystal from Swarovski.

15.Backing soda paste

To remove any tarnish from your silver you can use a paste made from baking soda and water. To make the paste you need to put 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water in a small bowl and mix it together. Be careful though, as this is a highly effective solution, but can leave some scratches here and there on your piece if you are not careful. Also, you shouldn't use this on pieces with gemstones, as the baking soda can damage them or loosen the glue they are held by.

Suitable for: crystalline gemstones

What you need: a regular glass cleaner / a lint-free piece of cloth / a soft toothbrush / a pair of rubber gloves

  1. Measure 3 tbsp. of baking soda and pour them in the small bowl. Then add 1 tbsp. of water to the baking soda and mix them with the back of the toothbrush. Keep stirring the substance until it becomes a paste (if you need more of this substance just remember its always 3 to 1 parts)
  2. Take the soft toothbrush and dip it in the paste to get some of it on the bristles (similar to the amount of toothpaste you use when washing your teeth).
  3. Take the soft toothbrush and gently scrub every stone, take your time and go through all of them.
  4. Hold the jewelry in hand and start scrubbing it with the toothbrush while covered with the baking soda paste. Do this very gently, so you don’t leave scratches on its surface.
  5. Once you are done, take your piece and rinse it well in the bowl of water to get rid of the paste.
  6. Wipe it with cloth and let it air dry.

16.Ammonia and dishwasher solution, the jeweler’s choice

If you want to bring back the shine and sparkle to your silver or gold diamond ring, this might be the perfect solution for you. Ammonia is really strong chemical, so you should water it down before you use it on your piece. The dishwasher is added for even better results. This is perfect for any kind of crystalline gemstones, so it works great on rubies and sapphires as well. This solution is used and approved by many jewelers all over the world.

Keep in mind ammonia is indeed really strong, so keep it away from softer gemstones or glued pieces as it can damage them.

Suitable for: Gold and silver jewelry with hard gemstones

What you need: ammonia / some regular dishwasher / a medium bowl of warm water / a small bowl of clean water / a piece of lint-free cloth / a pair of rubber gloves

  1. Put the gloves on and place the bowl with the warm water in front of you.
  2. Pour some ammonia in the water (the solution should consist of around 1 part ammonia and 5 to 6 parts water) and then add some dishwasher (as much as you put on your dish sponge when you are washing the dishes).
  3. Take your ring and dip it in the solution, if it’s really dirty you can leave it inside for no more than a minute.
  4. Take it out and hold it in hand while gently scrubbing it with the toothbrush. Take your time here, make sure to scrub all the cavities as this is usually where dirt builds up.
  5. Once you are done, rinse the ring in the clean water to wash away all of the remaining solution on it.
  6. Wipe the ring with the cloth and let it dry, you will now have a brand new sparkling diamond.

Finally, if you are not sure what your jewelry is made from or you have a very precious piece, we encourage you to visit your local jeweler. There, he will take a professional care for it and make sure it is well cleaned and preserved for years to come.

There you have it, 17 actionable methods that will make your jewelry brand new which you can try right away. 

Now that you know exactly how to clean jewelry, take your old jewelry box and bring life back to your forgotten treasures! 

Which one of the following cleaning methods are you using yourself or do you have your own effective recipe that you are willing to share with us? Let us know in the comments down below!

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