Do you avoid wearing gold jewelry because you're afraid to clean it? Maybe you've heard cleaning your bling means dishing out a lot of money for a professional to clean it correctly.
We have great news for you! Whether you own a gold bracelet, ring, or diamond-crusted gold tiara, you can clean them safely and without too much fuss.
This article answers one question all jewelry lovers ask: how do you clean gold jewelry?
Karats Matter When Cleaning Gold Jewelry
Before we share gold jewelry cleaning tips, let's look at different types of gold. Your jeweler will offer gold pieces that contain different amounts of pure gold.
Karats are the unit of measure used to indicate purity. On gold jewelry, a lowercase k stamped beside a number represents the number of karats.
Solid, pure gold is 24k. Pure gold is usually too soft for everyday jewelry. To make it more durable, jewelers often add an alloy.
White gold jewelry is an excellent example. It contains 75% pure gold and 25% silver, nickel, or palladium.
You'll find pieces made from 18k and 14k gold in most jewelry stores. These pieces of jewelry will be more durable. They're also easier to clean.
You may also find 10k gold jewelry. While 10k pieces are relatively affordable, they only contain 41.7% pure gold, which is not the highest quality.
Gold-plated jewelry isn't solid gold. It's usually made with silver, brass, or copper and covered with a thin layer of pure gold. While it's more affordable, you'll need to be careful when cleaning gold-plated pieces.
Gold Jewelry Cleaning with Soap and Water
It might surprise you to know that cleaning gold jewelry is as simple as soaking it in a bowl of warm water mixed with a gentle dish detergent.
In addition to the soap and water, you'll need a soft-bristled toothbrush and a soft towel.
Here's the process:
- Fill a bowl with lukewarm, not hot water
- Add a few drops of dish soap
- Mix gently
- Soak the jewelry in the bowl for 15-30 minutes
- Gently scrub with the toothbrush
- Rinse with lukewarm water
- Dry with a soft towel
To keep your gold jewelry gleaming, repeat the cleaning process every few weeks.
Best Water for Cleaning Gold
Most people use tap water as the base for their gold jewelry cleaning solution. You can use distilled water as well.
Consider trying club soda if you notice a lot of dirt and grime on the jewelry. Sodium-free seltzer water works too.
Dish detergent helps dissolve oils on your jewelry. Club soda or seltzer water helps soften dirt, which makes it much easier to remove with the toothbrush.
Water temperature matters more than the type of water you use. Some cleaning solutions require hot water. Others do better with lukewarm or even cold water.
Can You Clean Gold Jewelry with Ammonia?
You may notice your 18k and 14k gold pieces tarnish over time. Rose gold made with copper will tarnish eventually.
Don't panic! You can restore the luster to tarnished gold.
Start with the warm water and detergent above. You may need to soak the jewelry a bit longer, but you can often remove the tarnish with the soft toothbrush if the gold has only a small amount.
Heavily tarnished gold needs something more substantial. You likely won't remove the discoloration with simple warm water and soap. Add a few drops of ammonia to the water and soap mixture for more cleaning power.
Here are a few additional tips for cleaning gold using ammonia.
- Wear latex gloves and safety goggles
- Use bleach-free liquid dish detergent
- Use up to a tablespoon of ammonia
- Leave jewelry in the cleaning solution for one minute
- Remove jewelry from the bowl with tongs
- Remove tarnish with the toothbrush
- Rinse in cold water
- Dry with the soft towel
*You must use a bleach-free detergent because mixing chlorine and ammonia creates a poisonous gas.
Other Pantry Staples You Can Use
In most kitchen pantries, you'll find two ingredients used for cooking and baking that you can also use to clean gold jewelry: baking soda and white vinegar.
Mix one cup of hot water and two tablespoons of baking soda. Mix until the baking soda dissolves. Soak the jewelry for five to ten minutes, rinse under running water, and pat dry with your soft cloth.
White vinegar does a fantastic job of breaking down oils, dirt, and grime. You don't need water for this cleaning method. Instead, fill your bowl with one cup of vinegar.
Let the jewelry sit in the vinegar for a few minutes. Scrub with the toothbrush. Rinse with cold water and dry with a cloth.
You can use a paste of baking soda and vinegar for stubborn grime.
How Do You Clean Gold Jewelry Safely?
Warm water and dish soap is the safest solution to clean your beautiful gold jewelry pieces. However, if your jewelry includes gemstones, you'll need to be more careful.
Diamonds are a formidable natural material. You can soak them in ammonia without damaging them. If you use baking soda, diamonds also handle soaking in hot water.
You should avoid using any cleaning solution on jewelry made with turquoise. The gold will be fine, but turquoise may turn green or a strange shade of blue when exposed to soaps and other cleaning products.
It would be best never to soak gold jewelry with pearls in any liquid. Instead, clean the piece with a damp cloth. If you notice stains on the pearls, you can clean them with a mild soapy solution on your cloth.
To ensure your gold and gems don't suffer damage, it's best to check with a jeweler before cleaning.
Did You Enjoy Our Gold Jewelry Tips?
Wearing gold jewelry can make a person feel beautiful and sophisticated. How do you clean gold jewelry? With the simple solutions we talked about in this article!
Now it's up to you to choose the pieces that best complement your style and wardrobe.
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