The Ultimate Guide to Jewellery Cleaning


If your jewellery is starting to look a little worse for wear and you’d like to give it a bit of a spruce up at home, there are different techniques that are required for different types of jewellery. Often it’s better to take your jewellery to be cleaned professionally, but we know that this isn’t always possible. With this in mind, here’s how to clean your jewellery without damaging it.

How to clean silver jewellery

Silver jewellery is beautiful when at its shiny best, but once it becomes tarnished it isn’t a great look. However, it is one of the easiest pieces of jewellery to clean. Often, all you need is a soft cloth.

A 100% cotton flannel or similar can be used to buff some of the tarnish away. Just be careful that the cloth you choose won’t scratch the piece; if you’re unsure leave it until you can get to reputed jeweller. Alternatively, specialist silver cloths can be purchased, as well as specialist polish, to deal with the tarnish.

It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that how to clean tarnished silver jewellery really does depend on how dirty your piece is. If it’s terribly tarnished, you would be better off having it professionally cleaned. If this is the case, make sure you take it to a trusted jeweller who can clean it on site ready to give you some sparkle back.

How to clean gold jewellery

Gold jewellery can develop a dull film over it from the build-up of every-day wear: lotions, potions, soaps, perfumes and general oils from your skin can all contribute. Gold alloys, including those mixed with silver, copper or nickel can also tarnish. But when it comes to cleaning gold jewellery, or if you’re wondering how to clean for badly tarnished jewellery, it’s quite simple to keep gold looking its best.

A mild clean will only require a simple solution of a little washing up liquid in a bowl of warm water. Soak your gold jewellery briefly, and then give it a little scrub with a soft toothbrush or similar. Then rinse and pat dry with a chamois cloth.

For anything stronger, use equal parts cold water and ammonia (remember to use goggles, a mask and gloves to protect yourself!) or a specialist commercial jewellery cleaning solution. Once again, soak the jewellery, then gently scrub, rinse and dry.

As always, by far the safest method for cleaning your jewellery is to take it your local jewellers. Be sure to use a jeweller who can clean the piece on site so it doesn’t get lost in transit, and then you can be sure that your gold will be sparkling again and back in safe hands.

How to clean white gold jewellery

White gold is popular due to its beautiful silver colour. But lots of wear will leave it looking a little lacklustre and yellowy in colour.

If this is the case for your white gold jewellery, you’ll need to wait until you’re able to get to a good jeweller. They will be able to replace the rhodium plating on the white gold which gives it its silver colour. Unfortunately, no amount of home cleaning remedies or googling “Can you use toothpaste to clean jewellery?” will bring back it’s silver colour without professional help!

Home remedies for jewellery cleaning, or visit the experts?

If you’ve been googling ‘how to clean jewellery at home’ recently, then you won’t go far wrong with the simplest of solutions. When it comes to home remedies for jewellery cleaning, the mild soap solutions and professional cleaning cloths mentioned above for gold and silver jewellery respectively are often the best solutions for at-home cleaning.

However, if you want to know how to clean jewellery to a professional standard you really need to recognise that it means exactly that: leaving it to the professionals. Here at E.K. Jewellers in Ilford, we can clean jewellery on site for total peace of mind. If you’re at all worried about cleaning your jewellery – and potentially doing more harm than good – wait until you can pop in store to see us. In due course, we’ll be able to get you sparkling again!

Posted on by Ian Tubby.