Tips for How to Keep Your Jewelry Clean

Cleaning jewelry is important to ensure that your piece remains beautiful and functional. All jewelry should be stored in a clean and dry area, such as a fabric-lined jewelry box. Prevent scratching by spacing each piece so they do not touch. Wash your hands before touching jewelry and use extreme caution when handling to prevent scratching. Take your jewelry into the jeweler every sixth months to have prongs, settings, and mountings checked. This will ensure that the piece remains structurally sound.

Gold, Platinum and Silver

Gold jewelry can be tarnished in a number of ways. Remove gold jewelry before swimming or getting in a hot tub because chlorine damages the gold jewelry’s finish and causes discoloration.  Do not wear the gold when using household cleaners that contain chlorine bleach. Clean gold with a commercial jewelry cleaner that is designated safe for gold. Clean tarnish away by using soapy water that contains a few drops of ammonia. Dip a soft brush, such as an old toothbrush, into the water and gently clean the ring’s tarnished areas. Rinse with lukewarm water and sit on a soft cloth to dry. If the gold is heavily tarnished, take it to your jeweler for cleaning. Polish gold jewelry every so often with a soft chamois cloth so it will sparkle beautifully.

Like gold, platinum should be cleaned with a pre-packaged cleaner that is safe for cleaning platinum. Despite its strength, platinum can be scratched so it should be stored separately. Avoid wearing platinum when you are using chlorine bleach. For pieces that contain both platinum and gold, consult with your jeweler for proper cleaning techniques.

Silver should be cleaned with a mild, soapy water solution. Let the water bead up on silver jewelry before you wipe dry. Silver tarnishes easily so avoid exposing it to light. Store silver in a cloth or felt bag, and place the bag in a cool dry place. Steer clear of household cleaning items and chlorine, as they tarnish silver.

Diamonds, Colored Gemstones and Pearls

When you purchase a diamond engagement ring, you want it to sparkle beautifully for everyone to see. Dirty diamonds do not sparkle because they cannot reflect light, so it’s imperative that the stones stay clean. Soaps, oils and lotions are the main culprits that put a dull film on diamonds. Chlorine is harsher, causing discoloration and damage to the stones. Therefore, diamonds should not be worn when you are swimming or using household cleaning supplies. Clean diamonds with a commercial jewelry cleaner and a soft brush to remove discoloration spots. Hold diamond jewelry along the edges because finger smudges cause it to look dull. Prevent chipping by removing diamonds during household chores, yard work or physical activities.

Colored gemstones range from red rubies to violet amethyst. Since there are multiple ways to clean the different colored gemstones, consult with a jeweler for the best way to clean your specific piece. However, there are a few general tips that are universal for all gemstones. Avoid salt water and harsh chemicals such as chlorine and detergents because they erode finish and polish. Hairspray, cosmetics and perfumes also cause dullness, so put on gemstones after those items have been applied. Each time gemstone jewelry is removed, wipe it with a clean, soft and damp cloth. Prevent chipping and breaking by removing gemstone jewelry during household chores or physical activities.

Pearls also tarnish easily so put them on after applying hairspray, cosmetics and perfumes. Whenever they are removed, wipe pearls with a soft cloth. Clean with a mild soap and water mix and a soft brush. Be careful during handling, and wrap the pearls in a soft chamois bag for storage. Since pearls weaken over time, take them to the jeweler to be restrung once per year.


Watches should be carefully cleaned to prevent corrosion. Water resistant watches can be cleaned by gently wiping them with a warm water and mild soap mix. Non-water resistant watches should be cleaned with a slightly damp cloth. Replace broken or scratched crystals right away as they allow moisture to seep into the time keeping mechanism and reduce its accuracy. Remove dead batteries immediately as they leak and cause corrosion. Take your watch into a jeweler for regular checkups and all repairs, including battery replacement.

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