Cheap Ways to Clean Your Jewelry

Posted on 07/11/2014

Your jewelry may be the most expensive thing you own so why not keep it looking great? Plenty of pricey gadgets claim to keep your diamonds sparkling or your gold from tarnishing, but there are even cheaper ways to get those rings, necklaces and earrings to shine like the day you bought them.

Visit the Jewelry Store
If you bought your jewelry from a reputable jeweler there is a good chance they will clean it for free. For instance, big name chains like Zales and Kay Jewelers offer free cleanings for as long as you own it. They may also inspect your pieces to ensure that stones are secure and no repairs are necessary.

Some people swear by toothpaste to do far more than clean their pearly whites. Use a small amount, preferably the kind with baking soda, to brush away dirt and grime from your jewelry. Make sure the brush you choose is extremely soft to prevent scratching any metal or stones.

DIY Cleaning Solution
Instead of buying cleaning solution you can easily make your own with products you have at home. Combine warm water, dish soap and a capful of rubbing alcohol. Soak your jewelry for a few minutes and use a soft brush to wipe away any residue. Keep in mind that it's not a good idea to clean pearls with alcohol because they can be eaten away or dulled by the solution.

Alka-Seltzer or Efferdent
What do indigestion medicine and denture cleaner have in common? They can both be used as a DIY jewelry cleaner. Many ladies say just dropping a tablet in warm water creates a solution that leaves their diamonds sparkling after a few minutes of soaking, no scrubbing required.

Purified Water
If possible, rinse your jewelry with purified water. Regular tap water contains minerals that can leave a film on your jewelry once it air dries.

Aluminum Foil
If you own sterling silver pieces, line a small dish with aluminum foil. Fill it with hot water and mix in a tablespoon of bleach-free laundry detergent or table salt. The solution will create a chemical reaction that pulls away dirt.

Simply Rub
Most of these methods are not recommended when it comes to pearls, which are very soft and delicate. In fact, you shouldn't even soak a string of pearls because the string could stretch and weaken. Instead, experts say just wipe each pearl individually with a soft cotton cloth. Only use a mild dishwashing liquid mixed with water.

Costume Jewelry
Those super cute, but super inexpensive earrings, bracelets and necklaces you picked up at Forever 21 for a song could also stand to be cleaned, but most aren't durable enough to withstand continued contact with water. Instead suggests mixing baby shampoo with water and brushing away the gunk with a Q-tip or soft toothbrush. Dry them with a hairdryer on a cool setting and hope for the best. But keep in mind these pieces are meant to last for a few seasons, not a lifetime like your wedding ring.

By Alison Storm

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