We don’t want to just let you find your perfect piece of jewelry, but we also want you to maintain it for life. This is HOW you can clean your jewelry!
Lotion, soaps, and everyday dirt are just a few things that can clog prongs on your jewelry or make stones appear flat. To make your baubles sparkle more than ever, Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, shared her quick tips on how to clean your jewelry collection.
Remove Tarnish from Silver
If you want to clean and prevent tarnish, Good Housekeeping Seal holder Weiman Silver Polish ($10, amazon.com) is the only way to go. However, for a DIY method, here are your two best options:
1. For pieces that are dull, filmy, or starting to discolor, mix a few drops of mild dish soap, like Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap, with warm water and dip in a soft cloth. Rub the jewelry, then rinse in cool water, and buff with a cloth until dry.
2. For heavier tarnish, mix three parts baking soda to one part water. Wet the silver and apply the cleaner with a soft, lint-free cloth. Work the paste into the crevices, turning the cloth as it gets gray, then rinse and buff dry. Avoid rubbing silver-plated jewelry too much as it could wear off the finish.
“In a pinch, these techniques are fine, but keep in mind that these solutions don’t have ingredients in them that prevent tarnish like a polish has,” says Forte.
Shine up Gold
Give gold a bubble bath by pouring a few drops of mild dish soap into a small bowl of sodium-free seltzer water or club soda (in Good Housekeeping Institute tests, the carbonation loosened soil and removed debris). Put the jewelry into a small strainer, and place it in the bowl to soak for about five minutes. Swish it around and then fish out each piece to go over settings and crevices with a soft toothbrush. Return each piece to the strainer and rinse under running water and dry with a soft cloth.
Because they’re so porous, pearls easily lose their luster. Whether real, cultured, or faux, you must clean them with care. First, lay the strand on a soft cloth. Dip a clean, small makeup brush into a mixture of warm water and a little shampoo, and go over each pearl. To finish, rinse the pearls with a clean, well-wrung damp cloth. Let the strand dry flat to prevent the string from stretching. This no-soak treatment is also good for turquoise, another porous stone.
For costume jewelry, especially if stones are glued rather than set, dab a cloth into the bubbly solution of dish detergent and water, and gently wipe any smudges or grime. Then “rinse” with a cloth dampened in plain water. Pat dry and lay the pieces upside down so moisture won’t soak into the setting. Since stones are often glued on, instead of set, don’t soak pieces in water or the glue could loosen and gems could pop off.
How to Keep Your Jewelry Looking Good Longer
Always remove your rings when washing your hands or applying lotions — this keeps settings grime-free. After wearing pearls, wipe body oils and perfume off with a soft cloth. As for silver, it becomes shinier the more it’s worn (the friction slows down tarnishing), so don’t let it sit in your jewelry box! If you’re not using it much, store pieces in an anti-tarnish bag.