Sterling Silver

Did you know that the earliest pieces of jewelry predate the earliest pieces of clothing? Our prehistoric ancestors decorated and adorned their bodies before it occurred to them to cover up! Since the early jewelry of bones, shells, and pebbles, we have come far.

Our jewelry now sparkles and shines, glittering adornments with both aesthetic and symbolic value. As our jewelry developed, so too did our jewelry cleaning methods. Now that our pieces are more valuable, more delicate, and more beautiful, it's important that they are well maintained!

Poor jewelry care can damage your pieces, and leave their luster dulled. If you've ever wondered how to clean jewelry the right way, wonder no more! This brief guide will teach you everything you need to know, so read on to learn more!

Reasons to Clean Your Jewelry

The longer you have your jewelry, the more imperfections build up. Some are obvious. Have you ever looked for a necklace you haven't seen in a while, and found it covered in a dark tarnish? 

Others are more subtle. Sometimes you can't even tell that your pieces are accumulating wear and grime unless you see a photo of their original condition! 

In addition, during the pandemic and cold and flu season, your pieces can carry bacteria and germs. This is a big risk with rings. Think of how many doorknobs you touch through the day - your rings carry germs from each and every one, hidden in the folds of the metal.

How Often Should You Clean Your Jewelry?

You should clean any tarnish you see, but don't forget about the things you can't see!  

Experts say you should clean your jewelry once every month. However, this isn't always feasible. Clean your jewelry as often as you can, prioritizing pieces you wear frequently. 

If you have pieces like wedding rings that get worn frequently and are exposed to lots of germs, clean them often to make sure you're getting all the small germs and dirt out. In addition, pieces that have lots of detail and stone settings can easily hide debris. 

Jewelry Cleaning by Material

Some materials require a more delicate touch, while others can be scrubbed with any old soap. If you have spent a lot of money on your collection or if your pieces have sentimental value, you don't want to risk damaging them in the process.

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is the easiest material to clean. Some companies offer a silver jewelry cleaner in the form of a liquid or a cloth that will remove tarnish and germs. However, sterling silver can also be easily cleaned with toothpaste. 

A bit of toothpaste between your fingers can remove even large spots of tarnish, making your silver shine like new again. 

Plated Jewelry 

With more expensive and delicate metals, it's best to avoid these homemade jewelry cleaner solutions. This is especially true for plated jewelry because too much wear can remove the plating. 

For pieces of plated jewelry, use a gentle dish soap mixed with warm water. Dip a cloth in the mixture, and gently rub off any tarnish or dirt. Then rinse with cold water and dry on a separate cloth.

For heavy tarnish, try combining three parts baking soda with one part water, and washing your piece with that. This will get rid of thick tarnish without scrubbing off the polish.

Gold and Platinum

The best jewelry cleaner for these metals like gold and platinum is a jewelry steam cleaner. This machine comes with a little basket for your baubles and will clean them with warm, pressurized steam. 

A jewelry cleaner machine can remove everything including dirt, oil, makeup, and bacteria. This machine can be used on all your jewelry regardless of material, allowing you to wash your pieces frequently without damaging them.


If you have expensive gemstones, mix dish soap with seltzer water. The bubbles will help clean small pieces of debris that get stuck between the settings and details. Brush the jewels clean with a gentle toothbrush before rinsing and drying. 


Pearls are some of the softest and most porous stones, so you have to be careful when you clean them. Never ever soak your pearls, and clean them gently with a small makeup brush dipped in water and shampoo. 

Costume Jewelry

Costume jewelry is a little cheaper, so the pieces can be more delicate and prone to breakage. Stones are glued on rather than properly set, and the metal is more likely to bend and chip.

Clean your pieces by dipping a cloth into a mixture of dish soap and water. Wipe away any grime with the soap. Then dab them with another cloth with just water and then pat them dry.

If you have any pieces with a plating or pieces that are leaving green rings on your skin, apply a thin layer of nail polish to prevent them from rubbing off during wear and cleaning.

Clean Your Jewelry Like a Pro

Nothing dampens your shine like a piece of tarnished jewelry. Keep your pieces well cared for and clean with regular jewelry cleaning sessions. With a delicate touch and a little effort, you can keep your favorite jewels sparkling and shining through daily wear and tear. 

If you enjoyed learning how to clean jewelry, you'll love our other content! Check out our blog for more lifestyle and fashion tips and how-tos! 

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