How to Clean Jewelry at Home

updated Feb 4, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Whether you’re in a pinch, or just trying to streamline your cleaning supply cabinet, there’s no need to buy specialty jewelry cleaner to keep your favorite adornments looking nice and sparkly.

We called on Kristin Griesel of New York City’s Catbird for advice on how to clean rings and other jewelry with tools and products you probably already have at home, and here’s what she had to say.

How to Clean Gold and Diamond Jewelry at Home

“For cleaning gold and diamonds, our go-to ingredients are simply mild dish detergent and warm water,” Griesel says. Here are the steps she recommends:

  1. Stir a small amount of mild dish detergent in a bowl filled with warm water and let the jewelry sit for a few minutes.
  2. Use a soft baby tooth brush to gently scrub all surfaces.
  3. Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly with a soft polishing cloth (like one you’d use on your glasses or car).
Credit: Katie Currid

How to Clean Silver Jewelry at Home

“Silver tarnishes quickly when it comes into contact with oxygen or sulfur,” Griesel says. “Luckily, the natural oils in your skin can actually help prevent tarnish.” Here’s what else she says you can do to clean and care for your silver jewelry:

  1. Seal your silver jewelry tightly in a zipper-top plastic bag with a piece of chalk or silica gel (like those little packets found in new shoes) to prevent tarnishing when not in use. If you don’t have any silica gel packets handy, you can buy them online for a few bucks.
  2. If your silver is tarnished, the best way to clean it is with a jewelry polishing cloth or a very soft baby toothbrush to avoid scratching.

How to Clean Brass and Bronze Jewelry at Home

Depending on your body’s unique chemistry, Greisel says your brass jewelry might darken with wear. Here’s what she says you can do to brighten it right back up:

  1. Use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste to gently polish and clean your brass jewelry.
  2. Soak the brass piece in Coca-Cola for a few minutes to restore it to its original shine. 
Credit: lapas77/Shutterstock

How to Clean Pearl Jewelry at Home

According to Griesel, the beauty of your pearls is that despite being sensitive and precious, their luster and glow will only improve when worn regularly over time. And since they’re vulnerable to common chemicals found in cosmetics, perfume, and even tap water (aka chlorine), she says that they should “only be cleaned with a soft cloth moistened with water and a little bit of Ivory soap.”