How to Clean Jewelry

Published: May 2019

Knowing how to care for your jewelry will help preserve it and keep it looking beautiful longer. Follow these simple tips to care for the following jewelry and jewelry materials: gold, gold plated, platinum, sterling silver, bronze, copper, simulated gemstone and most gemstone jewelry.

Show Your Jewelry Some Love

Many gemstones require special care. Before cleaning, please check our Gemstone Enhancement and Care Chart for more information and details.

Two Important Reminders:

  • Never wear jewelry while bathing or swimming.
  • Remove jewelry before engaging in strenuous activity or exercise.
Morganite earrings on dish

General Jewelry Cleaning Guidelines

What do I need to get started?

  • Lukewarm water
  • Mild dishwashing soap or mild jewelry cleaner
  • Soft, clean and dry cloth
  • Small, soft-bristle toothbrush or cleaning brush
Jewelry cleaner on a washcloth

What should I do first?

  • If working over a sink, make sure to plug the drain.
  • Inspect gemstones to ensure all stones are secure. Do this after brushing as well.
  • In a small bowl, prepare cleaning solution by mixing two tablespoons of mild dishwashing liquid with one quart of lukewarm water. If using a commercial jewelry cleaner, read and follow all instructions. Make sure expiration date has not passed, since an expired cleaner may be ineffective or damage your jewelry.
Cleaning gemstone with a cloth

What are the steps to clean jewelry?

  • Soak jewelry 10 to 20 minutes to soften residue and dirt.
  • Gently brush sides, top, bottom and underside.
  • Rinse with clean water.
  • Pat dry with a clean cloth.
  • Repeat steps if necessary.
Cleaning cloth with morganite earring

Additional Suggestions for Cleaning Different Types of Jewelry:

How do I clean gold jewelry?

  • Follow basic cleaning guidelines listed above.
  • Gold is a soft metal and can be easily damaged if it touches or comes in contact with other jewelry.
  • Store gold pieces separately to prevent scratching.

How do I clean gold-plated jewelry?

  • After wearing, wipe with a soft cloth to remove debris, oils and perspiration.
  • Rub gently with a soft cloth to restore shine.
  • If more cleaning is needed, follow the care tips listed above.
  • Store separately to protect against scratching.

How do I clean sterling silver jewelry?

  • Oils from your skin can help clean silver and keep it shiny, so wear your silver jewelry often.
  • To prevent tarnishing, avoid contact with lotions, cosmetics, perfumes and hair products.
  • To restore shine, use a silver polishing or microfiber cloth.
  • Use long back-and-forth motions when polishing. Do not rub in circles, as this may magnify tiny scratches.
  • If simple polishing does not deliver the desired level of shine, follow the cleaning guidelines listed above.
  • If your silver jewelry includes gemstones, avoid all commercial jewelry cleaning solutions.

How do I clean pearl jewelry?

  • Pearls should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.
  • Avoid contact with lotions, cosmetics, perfumes and hair products.
  • To clean after wearing, wipe with a soft, dry cloth.
  • Never use steamers, ultrasonic cleaners, or soak in water.
  • To avoid scratching, store separately in fabric-lined compartments.
  • Store necklaces and bracelets flat to prevent stretching.

How do I clean costume jewelry?

  • Because glue is often used to attach stones in costume or fashion jewelry, extra precautions are advised when cleaning.
  • Wipe gently with a clean, damp cloth and use as little water as possible.
  • Dry with a soft, absorbent cloth.
  • Let air dry before wearing or storing.

What is the best way to store my jewelry?

  • Because gemstones, diamonds and metals can damage jewelry, alway keep each jewelry item in its own container or compartment.
  • Fasten clasps when storing to help prevent tangling.
  • If you prefer a jewelry box, place each piece in its own pouch or plastic bag.
  • Make sure jewelry is completely dry before storing.