Restore your gold and silver jewelry to its full luster and glory and wipe away unsightly tarnish with these quick-and-easy how-to’s. But, a few words of caution before you begin any at-home cleaning methods:
Double-check the metal content of your jewelry before you begin. For example, silver-plated items require different care from all-silver jewelry. If you’re uncertain about the metal-type, treat it as a piece of plated jewelry for the gentlest cleaning option.
If your silver- or gold-plating has already chipped (exposing the metal below), you should bring it to a jeweler to be re-plated. Cleaning it could further damage your item.
And note: none of these cleaning methods should be used on jewelry with precious or semi-precious stones; gemstones each require different care and some cleaning agents can severely damage soft stones like pearls and emeralds. Bring your item to a jeweler to learn how to safely clean your fine jewelry or leave it in their expert hands to polish.
How to Deep Clean Silver-Plated Jewelry
Silver-plated jewelry has a thin layer of silver over a non-precious metal base. Because the silver-plating is so thin, you need a very gentle cleaning method:
1. In a large bowl, fully dilute a few drops of mild dish soap in warm water. (Undiluted dish detergent will leave dark spots on the silver.)
2. Submerge your item in the soap water and gently rub it with your fingertips to release the tarnish.
3. Rinse the piece under warm water to remove any soap reside.
4. Dry the jewelry with a soft lint-free cloth.
5. Gently buff the jewelry’s surface with a polishing cloth to bring out its luster and shine.
How to Clean Silver Jewelry
1. Line the bottom of a small bowl with aluminum foil, shiny-side up.
2. Dissolve 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon salt in boiling water, roughly one cup or just enough to cover your piece of jewelry.
3. Submerge your item in the solution, ensuring the jewelry is touching the aluminum foil.
4. Let sit for 2-10 minutes, depending on the level of tarnish.
5. Remove (be careful: the water is still very hot!) and rinse your jewelry under warm water and pat dry with a lint-free cloth.
How to Clean Gold and Gold-Plated Jewelry
Gold is a very soft metal so it is easily scratched—even by a soft-bristle toothbrush. Therefore, we recommend exercising extreme care when cleaning or polishing gold jewelry.
1. Dilute two drops of mild dish soap in warm water.
2. Dip your gold jewelry into the mixture.
3. Remove your piece from the soapy water and rinse it under clean warm water.
4. Gently rub the item with a polishing cloth to restore its shine.