How to clean your jewellery at home

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s now more important than ever to clean your jewellery and make sure that it’s free from germs and debris. Although jewellery stores are not currently open in line with BRC advice, it’s easy enough for you to clean your own jewellery at home and return it to its original sparkle. 

So, let’s look at some popular questions we’ve been asked about how you can keep your jewellery clean at home while professional cleaning services are unavailable. 

What ingredients are required for cleaning jewellery at home? 

If you’re looking to clean your jewellery at home, then the good news is that you’ll probably already have many of the ingredients you need lying around the house. If you don’t, then they’re all readily available to purchase from supermarkets for only a couple of pounds. 

If you’re cleaning silver jewellery, then white vinegar and baking soda are the perfect ingredients. Just place half a cup of white vinegar into a bowl and add two tablespoons of baking powder. After leaving your jewellery to soak for a few hours, you’ll find that it shines right up and the tarnish comes off. If you’re instead cleaning gold, all you’ll need is some warm water and some mild dishwashing soap. 

Finally, if you have diamonds to polish, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush. This will allow you to get right into the mount where germs and debris often collect. Just make sure that your toothbrush doesn’t have any rubber bristles, as these can cause damage to the stones. 

What ingredients should you avoid using for cleaning jewellery? 

When you’re cleaning your jewellery at home, it can be tempting to buy expensive solutions and harsh chemicals. However, many of these chemicals can be damaging to your jewellery because they’re too acidic. Along with this, many homemade solutions, such as toothpaste, are far too abrasive to use on softer stones and silver, so you may end up leaving scratch marks. 

Similarly, although professional products like silver polish and silver wipes are undoubtedly effective, they’re a very expensive solution when you consider that some professionals believe that using vinegar and baking soda is just as effective. 

Finally, regardless of what ingredients you’re using, it’s essential that you avoid excessively rubbing your jewellery to dry it after you’ve cleaned it. If you use a rough cloth or aggressively rub your jewellery to dry it, then you may scratch the surface and cause imperfections. 

Do different metals require different ingredients? 

To help us learn more about how to clean different metals, we took advice from an expert at William May

They informed us that gold and silver require different cleaning ingredients. While silver jewellery can be cleaned by using baking soda and vinegar, these solutions are not effective on gold, which should only ever be cleaned using warm water and a mild dishwashing soap because of the way the metal can react to some cleaning solutions. 

Similarly, they also told us to take extra care when cleaning some silver and gold jewellery; especially if the metal is soft. This is because it’s particularly easy to scratch or damage the metal. In these instances, you should only brush the surface gently with a microfiber cloth, rather than anything harsh. 

How should I care for my watch? 

Caring for a watch is slightly different to cleaning jewellery, and how you clean your watch will largely depend on whether it’s water resistant or waterproof. However, one thing’s for certain: if you wear your watch every day, you’ll need to clean it regularly to make sure it’s free from sweat and germs. 

If your watch is water resistant, then you can clean the watch case and bracelet using a damp cloth (do not submerge the whole watch in water). If your watch has any diamonds or embellishments, then these can be cleaned using a soft-bristled brush. 

Before cleaning your watch, you’ll also need to consider the type of strap your watch has. For example, if you have a leather strap then you’ll need to try and avoid getting it wet (although if it does get damp you can dry it immediately). Or, if your watch has a metal strap, you’ll want to get a brush in between each link to clear out any dirt, debris or germs. 

If your watch is waterproof, then you should dip the bracelet and strap of your watch into warm, soapy water for 20-30 seconds and then gently scrub it with a clean, damp, soft-bristled toothbrush. Then, dip your watch into some clean, warm water before drying it with a soft cloth. You should never clean your watch in hot or boiling water, as this may damage the gaskets. 

In summary, cleaning your jewellery at home could be easier (and cheaper) than you ever thought possible. Just use the ingredients and methods we’ve highlighted above and you’ll have no problem making your jewellery sparkle. 

Submitted by expert jeweller William May

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