If your favorite golden bauble has seen better days, then you know the importance of keeping it clean and sparkling as much as possible!
Gold jewelry often carries a history of love, warmth and affection – especially if it’s a family heirloom or a gift from someone special. It can also have special meaning if it was a treat you bought for yourself with your first paycheck. Gold is special, with those sentiments and emotions tied to it!
With sentimental value attached to it (and of course monetary, too), you adore it like no other. So, it is natural that you want to keep it looking its best. But the cost and time it takes to have it cleaned by a jeweler may be forcing you to just lock it up in the cupboard where no one can see it!
Fortunately, you can clean your gold pieces yourself.
While gold does not tarnish like other metals, it can lose its shine due to dirt, dust and constant wear. Use of certain chemicals and compounds can restore its original glimmer. But remember, harsh cleaners are not recommended for soft stones like pearls and opals that may be set in your gold jewelry. It is best to clean them with just soap and water.
Here are 5 tested methods to clean your gold and make it shine.
- Method 1: Use a DIY Cleaner
- Method 2: Use Dish Soap
- Method 3: Use Toothpaste
- Method 4: Use Beer
- Method 5: Use Baking Soda
Method 1: Use a DIY Cleaner
Things you’ll need:
- Aluminum wrap
- Salt (clears away dirt and debris)– 1 tablespoon
- Baking soda (help clean the metal) – 1 tablespoon
- Dish soap (helps loosen accumulated dirt) – 1 tablespoon
- Water (hot) – 3 to 4 tablespoons
Step 1. Line a bowl with aluminum foil
- Cover a bowl with aluminum foil.
Step 2. Add all the ingredients
- Add 1 tablespoon each of salt, baking soda and dish soap to the bowl.
- Now, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of hot water and watch the liquid fizz.
The salt, baking soda and aluminum foil together create ion transfers (a chemical exchange) that naturally help clean the metal.
Step 3. Throw in your jewelry for 10 minutes
- Soak your jewelry in the cleaner for 10 minutes.
Step 4. Clean, wash and dry
- Grab an old toothbrush and gently scrub your object (around the prongs, grooves or gemstones).
- Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
Method 2: Use Dish Soap
The carbonation of dish soap with water helps loosen accumulated dirt and debris, thus cleaning the object of any impurities.
Step 1. Dilute the dish soap
- Pour 1 tablespoon of dish soap into a bowl.
- Add about 3 tablespoons of warm water and mix gently to form a sudsy solution.
Step 2. Soak the jewelry in the solution
- Soak your gold object in the soapy solution for about 15 minutes.
The warm, soapy water will work its way into cracks and crevices, thus loosening stubborn dirt buildup.
Step 3. Clean, scrub and rinse
- Mix a fresh batch of mild dishwashing liquid and warm water to create a sudsy solution.
- Soak an old toothbrush in the solution and gently scrub your object. Work along the corners and more intricate areas.
- Rinse it off with water and allow it to dry completely before wearing.
Method 3: Use Toothpaste
Toothpaste acts as a mild abrasive to help loosen up grime accumulated on gold objects, without scratching the piece.
Step 1. Mix toothpaste and water together
- Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste into a bowl.
- Pour in a generous amount of water, just enough to form a thick solution.
Note: It is best to use a mild toothpaste for cleaning your gold objects. Teeth-whitening toothpastes can potentially damage your jewelry.
Step 2. Soak a toothbrush in the solution, scrub and rinse your object
- Soak an old toothbrush in the solution, then gently scrub the jewelry.
- Rinse it off with water to remove any residue of the solution on your object.
Method 4: Use Beer
Beer serves as an incredible solution for cleaning and restoring the shine of your gold objects.
Step 1. Pour beer into a bowl and soak your object
- Pour a small amount of beer into a bowl and submerge your gold object in it.
- Allow the object to sit in the beer for a good 5 minutes.
Step 2. Grab a toothbrush, scrub the object and rinse
- Grab an old toothbrush and scrub the object gently.
- Work along the ends and corners to remove any dirt stuck in the intricate design.
- Rinse it off with water and pat dry.
Method 5: Use Baking Soda
Baking soda is slightly alkaline in nature. Hence, it reacts with the acids in dirt, dust and residue on the metal, forming bubbles of carbon dioxide that help loosen the debris.
Step 1. Mix baking soda and water
- Put 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a bowl.
- Add 2 tablespoons of water to the baking soda and form a paste.
Step 2. Soak a toothbrush in the solution and scrub the object
- Grab an old, soft-bristled toothbrush and soak it in the baking soda mixture.
- Gently scrub the jewelry with the toothbrush.
- Rinse it with water and buff dry.
- Do not use boiling water, especially if your jewelry contains precious stones. Some stones like opals are fragile and can crack on exposure to rapid and drastic temperature changes.
- Do not use a stiff-bristle brush, especially for gold-plated items. Stiff bristles can entirely remove the gold layer from your jewelry. Use a very soft brush, in fact, the softer the better.
- While rinsing jewelry in a sink, cover the drain to avoid any chance of losing your jewelry down the drain. Alternatively, grab a pasta strainer or a metal coffee filter for rinsing your jewelry.
- Air-dry the jewelry completely before wearing it again. Wet jewelry traps moisture against your skin, thus leading to minor skin irritations.
- Avoid cleaning gold with paper towels, as it contains small wood fibers that can scratch the metal.
Summary of How to Clean Gold
Download this infographic.