Before cleaning the jewelry you’ve decided to keep and enjoy, examine it carefully to make sure that all settings, clasps and prongs are secure. If lose, set these aside in a container or baggie to take a jeweler for repair.
2. Get your Prep Tools ready
Certainly there are jewelry cleaning products on the market, but these tools are found in most homes naturally and they work. Depending on your jewelry, you may need: Silver polish, a jewelers cloth, soft paper towel or cloth, an old soft-bristle toothbrush to get into cracks, water, Alka-Seltzer tablets, ammonia, dishwashing soap, lint-free cloth, chamois, baking soda and white vinegar. I’ve listen combinations of these in use below.
NOTE (okay, disclaimer!): If you are ever concerned about how to clean your jewelry, ask a professional jeweler.
3. Make sure the sets are secure while brushing, soaking and drying so that you don’t lose any down the drain! Have a baggie or container near by incase a set or something falls out of a ring, etc. to keep it for repair.
Here are examples of cleaning different metals and stones:
SILVER: Clean silver with silver polish or a jewelers cloth (as in photo). Or rub the piece with toothpaste, using an old soft-bristled toothbrush to get into cracks. Rinse, pat dry.
GOLD: In a bowl of warm water and a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid, soak for 10-15 minutes to get the dirt out of prongs, etc. Then, gently scrub with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse with warm water, and dry with a soft cloth. NOTE: Silver cleaner won’t harm gold and platinum, but it won’t clean them, either.
DIAMONDS: In a solution of one cup warm water and 1/4 cup ammonia soak items for up to 20 minutes. Then gently scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush, getting into the small areas between the diamond and the setting. Rinse with warm water, and lay on a tissue to dry. If your diamonds are set in platinum, this method will also clean the setting.
PLATINUM with diamonds: See diamonds above.
EXTRA: Clean gold, platinum and diamonds by dropping two Alka-Seltzer tablets in a glass of water and immersing the jewelry for about two minutes. Follow up as with above instructions for each.
PEARLS: With a soft, clean cotton cloth dampened with a solution of two cups warm water and a few drops of a mild dishwashing liquid, rub each pearl individually. NOTE: Soaking strands of pearls can cause the string to stretch. Let air-dry overnight on a dry cotton cloth.
PLASTIC, ACRYLIC: If no embellishments attached – sometimes only with strong glue, not prongs – wipe off with damp cloth and pat dry. Same if embellished, but check so no colors or glue might come off if touched by water.