Cleaning and taking care of your jewelry: 5 easy (at home) solutions
That favorite ring you wear, necklace you never take off, and pair of earrings that have become like a second skin, all play an active role in your day-to-day life. They go everywhere with you. They are a part of your actions, ideas, and pursuits. They are a reflection of who you are.
What you choose to adorn yourself with is a form of self expression.
It’s an opportunity to not only support your favorite jewelry makers and artists, but to celebrate them, and not just them, but your family; jewelry is something that can be worn and passed down through the generations...
A ring can stand as a symbol of hope.
A pair of earrings can remind you why you show up, even when things get difficult.
A bracelet from your grandma keeps you rooted in your values--in what makes you, you.
A necklace is something to treasure--an extension of who you are.
This also means that your jewelry receives a lot of wear and love. From being worn, yes, but also simply from existing in the world; whether it’s that necklace that you literally never take off or the ring that has left a groove in your finger; the personal and household products we use (from shampoo, lotions, and everything in between) can impact the appearance and durability of our favorite pieces.
How do we carry on as usual while making sure that our jewelry is not only taken care of, but looks as beautiful as it makes us feel? Well, it’s actually much more straightforward than you might think, not to mention inexpensive (there is a chance you might not need to order anything at all!).
Please note: The harsher cleaning methods might do more harm than good on pieces that include gemstones. Instead, save those for your pieces that are made up of more durable materials, like gold and sterling silver.
Something else to keep in mind: Gemstones are gentle and tricky to clean. I suggest doing your research. It also depends on the type of stone, so make sure you are properly caring for and using the correct materials and methods when going to clean. Liquid dish soap and warm water is generally a safe option for most of your gemstone pieces.
A few quick thoughts on storing your jewelry: If you can, it’s best to keep your more delicate jewelry in a dark, dry location. For travel and larger pieces, store in a felt or cotton cloth pouch, away from any moisture (your toothbrush, hairbrush, and so forth), and with a polishing pad (if you have one). There are, of course, so many different ways to store your jewelry, and many of them are based entirely on preference, so I encourage you to do your research and choose the best options for you! Also, please let me know if you would like a separate blog post on storing, traveling with, and caring for your jewelry.
Here are 5 simple ways to care for and clean your jewelry:
1. ) Using white vinegar and baking soda to clean your jewelry. This is a great option for your pieces that have a lot of heavy tarnish that refuses to budge. All you have to do is soak the piece in a solution of ½ cup of white vinegar with 2 tablespoons of baking soda (it will fizz), for a few hours, then rinse and dry, allowing it to sit out for a while (before storing or wearing).
2.) My favorite and quick fix easy option (something that takes almost no time at all AND can be done almost anywhere), soap and water is a great option. It removes stains and general grime without causing any damage to more delicate pieces of jewelry. Here’s how it works: Mix a few cups of liquid dish soap with a few cups of water in a small bowl, then soaks the pieces in the bowl for 30 seconds to a minute then remove, and use a clean cloth to wipe dry. And remember, this isn’t the best option for older pieces with a lot of wear, rust, or grime build up but this is the easiest and best way to consistently clean your jewelry and help prevent those pieces from getting really tarnished.
3.) Multi-purpose antibacterial cleaner is amazing for the tougher stains or grime build up. Here’s how it works: pour a few inches of cleaner into a glass bowl, then mix together and add your jewelry. As you wait, you will begin to see the grime build up and fall to the bottom of the bowl. Once the time is up, remove the jewelry and gently scrub the piece (or pieces) with a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush. Once you’re satisfied with how it looks, rinse under cool water and pat dry with a clean cloth. Lastly, make sure you let your jewelry sit for about half an hour (to ensure it’s fully dried) before putting it away or putting it back on.
4. ) With toothpaste (please note, I suggest you only use this method on sterling silver). Here is how it works: Apply a small amount of fluoride toothpaste on the silver, rub until the toothpaste makes an almost black appearance, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse the jewelry in warm water, until the toothpaste is completely removed. If you still notice that there is tarnish (those darker areas, often where your skin touches the jewelry), repeat the process with a soft-bristled toothbrush instead of with your finger, and once you’re satisfied with the result, rub with a dry cloth for extra shine.
5.) Hot water is an easy (and cheap) cleaning solution for hard metal jewelry. All you have to do is place the jewelry in a heat proof container, then slowly pour boiling water over it until it’s completely covered. Once covered, you let the jewelry sit for a few minutes. You can then remove the jewelry and wipe away the grime with the clean cloth. Please remember that this method should only be used with your exclusively metal pieces (gemstones don’t do well with the boiling water).
If you have any ideas or at home-cleaning solutions that I didn’t mention, please let me know! I would love to hear your thoughts, and thanks again for stopping by! It’s wonderful to have you here.