Chvker's Tips: How to Clean and Maintain Your Jewelry
Keep your favorite sparkly and shiny pieces that way, always! Did you know that you can and should clean your jewelry on a regular basis? Not only does it leave your items in tip top shape, it helps you maximize your investment and keep your jewelry for a very long time.
The first thing you should do before you clean anything is understand the type of material that your jewelry is made from. While sometimes you will have pure gold or silver items, oftentimes, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings will be plated or contain a mixture of alloys. Check out this helpful chart to help you mix up the right solution from the comfort of your own home.
If your jewelry is:
The best way to clean gold or silver plated jewelry is a daily, preventative wipe down. Did you know if you take a cotton ball or q-tip to wipe its surfaces and crevices after every use, you will instantly remove any dirt or residue the day leaves behind? Then, every two weeks, you can mix up some soapy water (dish soap will do!) and a pinch of salt. Gently wash it with a small washcloth. Using a paper towel, pat it dry and voila! You have a shiny, lustrous piece of jewelry again.
Pure gold items need to be treated a bit differently. Warm water and dish soap work wonders, but the key ingredient that leaves your pure gold pieces polished is ammonia. Simply add a few drops to your soapy solution and gently wash your pieces with a baby sized washcloth. Air dry each item. This should be done once a month, or whenever you want to give your pieces an instant pick me up for special occasions.
Cleaning silver requires a bit more supplies and time. The key to cleaning these items is to reverse the darkness that has formed on your rings or other items, by inciting a chemical reaction. All you need to do is grab some aluminum foil and line a small bowl with it. After boiling water in a kettle, pour in enough to fill the bowl. Add a tablespoon of baking soda for every cup or water you pour. This will make your home-made solution bubble and form a frothy foam. Finally, put your jewelry in the dish and have it sit on top of the foil. Leave it alone for 10 to 20 minutes (depending on how tarnished it is) and pull it out to air dry.
Enamel can often be found on jewelry, and it needs special care! All you need to do is use a soft toothbrush to gently massage your enamel items with warm water and a mild liquid hand soap. Simply rinse it and pat it dry with a soft cloth. Never clean it with detergent or a liquid jewelry cleaner. You also want to make sure you remove enamel pieces before you go swimming, as chlorine can permanently damage its design.
Many opt to have gold filled jewelry because it's more cost effective and yields beautiful results. You don’t have to buy a fancy cleaner to keep it shiny and bright. Grade a soft bristle, child sized toothbrush and swirl it in some warm, soapy water. Using delicate strokes, brush over top of your gold-filled items in circular motions. Rinse it with warm water and pat it dry with a soft cloth.
If you have a pearl necklace or pearls that need to be cleaned that are set in some pieces like earrings or rings, don’t submerge them in water. Simply wipe them down with a soft washcloth that has been dipped in warm, soapy water. Polish the pearls and dry them with a different, soft cloth. This strategy even works for faux pearls.
Jewelry that has rhinestones in it needs special care. Don’t ever let it sit submerged in soapy water, this can make the tarnishing worse. Instead, place your rhinestone jewels on a paper towel and dip a q-tip in rubbing alcohol. Work all the way around the stones, targeting the tarnish. Using a toothpick, get in between the stones to loosen dirt and debris. Blot the wetness with a dry paper towel, and voila! Your stones are shiny and clean again.
Your jewelry should always look shiny and new. With a few household ingredients, a little time, and some elbow grease, your pieces will remain in pristine condition for years to come!