How to Clean Gold Jewelry

By on October 23, 2015
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Gold jewelry doesn’t tarnish, but that doesn’t make it immune to grime! Just like any other metal, it attracts dust, oils, and other pollutants. If your jewelry is starting to shine a little less brightly, it’s probably time to clean it. Cleaning something as valuable as gold jewelry can be daunting, especially if you’ve heard horror stories of people harming their jewelry through cleaning! It’s totally possible for anyone to clean gold jewelry safely and effectively, however.

There are a number of ways to clean gold jewelry at home. You don’t even need a commercial gold cleaning product to do it. You can start by pouring a few drops of dish detergent into a bowl of warm water and soaking the jewelry in the solution for 15 minutes. If the jewelry is still looking dirty or dull when you pull it out of its bath, try using a soft bristle toothbrush or soft cloth to polish it up. You can also use a plain toothpaste (not the kind with whitening or tartar control protection) to clean badly crusted gold. Alcohol and boiling water can also be used, if toothpaste and dish detergent don’t work.

You can use one part ammonia to six parts water, but this should be used only when everything else fails. Using too much ammonia or using it too often can damage gold. White gold is especially susceptible to ammonia damage. Never soak gold jewelry in the ammonia mixture for longer than one minute and make sure you rinse it thoroughly. Whatever you do, do not soak your gold jewelry in bleach! The chlorine just from a regular swimming pool can damage and discolor gold.

Be especially careful with jewelry that has gemstones. Submerging it in water (let alone using anything harsher!) can loosen the glue holding the gems in place or even damage the stones or pearls themselves. Just clean gently around the gems. If your jewelry needs a more intense cleaning, don’t be afraid to take it to a professional. Sometimes it’s safer and easier to hand over your jewelry to someone who has more experience and more advanced tools, especially when gems or pearls are involved.

Keeping your gold jewelry clean and polished is a natural part of owning it. It doesn’t have to be scary when you know what you’re doing. You can always take your jewelry to a professional, but most people will be able to clean their jewelry with basics like dish detergent or toothpaste. Stay away from the harsh chemicals, and you should be just fine.

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