Cleaning Jewelry the Smart Way

cleaning jewel

Jewelry tends to look amazing and beautiful when it’s first bought. However, over time, even the highest quality pieces will start to dull and lose their shine from simply grime, dirt, and wear. It’s not that the jewelry is somehow inferior. Unfortunately, the problem is us. Our bodies give off a tremendous amount of waste in the form of dead skin, body oil, and similar. And that creates microscopic layers of stuff that attract more dirt, dust, bacteria, and similar infections. Add in anything that we might mix our hands with while wearing the jewelry, and the problem compounds. As a result, regular cleaning is a must for anyone who wants their jewelry to come close to the same shine it had when first bought.

Basic Caveats When Cleaning

The first approach many assume will work is soap and water. However, this approach not only doesn’t work well; it also leaves water residue in the form of minerals on the metal and stones of the jewelry. Have you ever seen spotting after the water dried on a car window? The same thing happens on the jewelry. In reality, a good cleaning involves a polish, which incorporates an active cleaning and wiping of the piece to remove the dirt and any cleaning residue.

The second big mistake made involves scrubbing or rubbing. Gold in particular is a soft metal, including gold-plating. That means it can be prone to scratching. Stones are also particularly fragile, depending on their type. Hard cleaning with a brush is usually not a good idea, especially if one wants their jewelry to remain scratch-free.

The third issue actually involves the location of where the cleaning is done. A common choice is near a sink. The water source is nearby and the sink counter can be easily cleaned. However, it also makes for an easy way to lose one’s jewelry down the drain, or at least the owner will end up paying a hefty bill to a plumber to recover the piece down the u-bend of a drain pipe. Instead, all of the cleanings should be done inside a sizable big plastic basin or bowl. First, gravity will force anything dropped to the center of the basin or bowl as a catch. Second, if anything is spilled in the form of cleaning, moisture, or similar, it just ends up in the container like everything else, avoiding a mess.

Maintenance and Reducing Grime

A key factor in the amount of cleaning jewelry needs ends up being caused by how much it is worn. Don’t wear the jewelry every day or night. Even wearing in the shower adds soap grime to the cracks and crannies that get trapped over time and builds up. Just reducing the daily wearing from 24/7 to the regular part of the day reduces dirt buildup considerably.

When it is time to clean, plan on a regular approach with the correct cleaning agents and tools. Make sure to use cleaning products specific to fine jewelry, as well as soft brushes and soft tools. The trick here is not how much force is applied but rather how much skill is used in cleaning. Be careful with steamers and ultrasonic tools. Both can cause jewelry pieces to loosen and precious stones to fall out. If washing with soap and water, use very mild dish detergent, not regular soap, and again wash in a container versus the open sink. When finished, let the piece air dry.

Jewelry cleaning tips don’t require rocket science to follow. Instead, using a bit of common sense and planning will prevent serious mistakes and keep your jewelry shining almost like new for a long time. And, an occasional professional cleaning won’t hurt either.


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