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How To Clean Jewelry - Cleaning Platinum, Gold, and Silver

Updated on November 29, 2012

How to Clean Your Jewelry

It is Easy to Clean Your Jewelry

In most cases, cleaning dulled or dirty jewelry does not mean you need to have it professionally serviced in order for your collection to shine. There are products that you can buy for cleaning stubborn jewelry, and those are available pretty much anywhere, but things like that are usually much cheaper online. However, when it comes to cleaning jewelry, they are usually not needed at all - you probably have "weaker" versions of nearly the same thing around your house. Use jewelry cleaning products when you have to clean old or worn jewelry.

It's really easy to clean your jewelry if you keep up with it, I used to wear a lot of silver which tarnishes fast. By keeping up with my necklaces, I was able to avoid servicing unless a clasp or a link was broken and I've never had to get any specialized kits for heavy duty cleaning. Still, if you find that the methods I show you here are not able to clean up your pieces, there will be a few suggestions at the bottom of each jewelry cleaning module. If the cleaning suggestions here don't restore your jewelry, these products will probably be just enough extra oomph to save you the serviceman's fee of cleaning your jewelry.

What I Can Cover Here About How To Clean Jewelry

I'm going to show you how to clean silver, gold, and platinum jewelry and then close this off with some best practices in keeping your jewelry clean so that you don't have to clean it as often. First up is how to clean silver, this will work for rings, necklaces, bracelets, and will even work on some items that are not jewelry at all. You might want to vary the tools that you use, but the idea will be the same for each type of precious metal that I cover here.

How To Clean And Restore Silver Jewelry

Cleaning Silver In A Few Steps

The supplies you will need to clean light-to-medium tarnish from silver jewelry:

  • White toothpaste with baking soda
  • Toothbrush with soft (not firm nor medium) bristles
  • Lint-free cloth or soft high cotton t-shirt
  • Dish detergent - a very small amount, approximately 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 cup measuring cup or 2 cup measuring glass, approximate size.

How To Clean Silver Jewelry

Silver can shine very brightly and look quite good in the light with the right cuts on it - and the absence of the dulling that comes with tarnishing. Silver jewelry is prone to tarnishing fast and to clean silver jewelry is luckily not a very hard thing to do. We'll have your pieces clean and shining again in no time.

First of all, you'll only need the toothbrush and toothpaste some of the time. If you have a piece that you've worn for a while that has yellowed considerably, you need the toothbrush to rub the baking soda toothpaste on the surface of your silver in small circular motions. When I say small, I mean really small. The idea is to buff around in very small spaces, without applying too much pressure, and let the baking soda do the work of cleaning your silver jewelry.

After you've done that to your very tarnished silver, rinse it clean and don't worry about drying it. If you are cleaning a lightly tarnished piece, you pick up here as if you've already buffed with the toothbrush.

Take your measuring cup and put some warm water in it. The water does not need to be hot, just warm enough to let your detergent spread around and activate. without you needed to really stir it. Drop your jewelry into this solution and use your finger to move it around a little. Remove the piece and use a small section of your cloth to sort of clean it a bit and then dip it again, followed by a good rinse under cold water. You can use your hands-only to clean necklaces and it's not a very mechanical process - just clean it up and shake it around in your hands.

After the rinse, place your silver on to the cloth or old high-cotton t-shirt (being sure it's not too linty - this can get stuck to the jewelry, especially necklaces, in pieces too small to notice and lead to the need for cleaning sooner) and start to dab them dry, turning them over, and dabbing again. Some pieces will require extra care to dry out certain areas, but for the most part your silver will dry up well and have that clean-feeling to the touch again.

Next I will show you how to clean up your gold pieces, but if you feel like the steps above won't work to clean your silver, here are a few commercial products that can help keep the job done:

How To Clean And Restore Gold Jewelry

Cleaning Gold Jewelry In A Few Steps

The supplies we need to clean gold jewelry are very similar:

  • Toothbrush with soft (not firm nor medium) bristles
  • Dish detergent - a very small amount, approximately 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 cup measuring cup or 2 cup measuring glass, approximate size
  • Polishing cloth - these can be improvised, but the price is not bad either

How To Clean Gold Jewelry

To clean gold, drop it into a solution like the one we made to clean the silver jewelry and let it sit for a few minutes - 5 or 10 minutes should do. We let gold soak a bit longer than the silver because instead of relying on our cloth to clean the loosened tarnish away like we did with silver, this time we are relying on the dish-washing liquid to break down the oils of our skin that get into the top layers of our gold jewelry, allowing us to remove it with our toothbrush and a rinse.

At about or around halfway through the soaking of your gold jewelry, especially when cleaning gold necklaces, reach in and grab the piece of jewelry you are cleaning and swish it around in the solution. After it sits for a bit longer, take your jewelry out of the solution and grab your toothbrush. Now you are going to want to be delicate because the higher grade that your gold bears the softer it is going to be and you don't want to damage the surface - this time, the soap is doing the work, just like the toothpaste was doing the work when we were cleaning silver jewelry.

After you've worked the surface of the piece, dip it a couple of more times in the solution and proceed to rinse it in cold running water, drying it much in the same way we dried the silver. Now you know how to clean your gold jewelry, but it should be mentioned that in most cases you do in fact need a good professional cleaning or a cleaning with a commercial product like the one's I have being suggested below. If you find that your gold is too worn to benefit from this more routine cleaning practice I've shared, by all means take a look below for the module dedicated to products that will help to restore and clean your gold jewelry. Now on to platinum.

How To Clean And Restore Platinum Jewelry

Cleaning Platinum Jewelry In A Few Steps

The supplies you need to clean your platinum jewelry are as follows:

  • Ammonia - you will use a 50/50 mix for the solution
  • Dish detergent - a very small amount, about 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 cup measuring cup or 2 cup measuring glass, approximate size
  • Soft (not firm or medium) bristle toothbrush
  • Polishing cloth - this is a necessity with platinum
  • Lint free cloth or high cotton old T-shit without a lot of lint

How To Clean Platinum Jewelry

To clean your platinum jewelry, mix a 50/50 solution of ammonia, detergent, and warm water. Dunk in your platinum jewelry to clean and this time leave it sit for about 20 minutes. As your platinum is soaking in the cleaning solution, you can do something else but don't forget to come back - you don't want it to sit for hours.

Remove the platinum piece from the solution and use the toothbrush to clean it up. You can be a little more rough with it in the places that are hard to reach because platinum is a lot more versatile than other precious metals for jewelry, but when cleaning your platinum jewelry use the same amount of care as any other jewelry - don't rely on its strength.

Dip the piece into the solution a few more times and then rinse it clean with cold running water, it's time to dry it off on a cloth and then polish it (polishing is completely optional on platinum jewelry and it is actually a matter of taste - in my opinion it's worth the effort).

When cleaning platinum, it really can be an easy undertaking to use a professional or buy a commercial kit. As with the other two instructional modules on how to clean jewelry, I will point you below to some of the top products you can find on Amazon for cleaning platinum jewelry at home.

Platinum tends to be very responsive to ultrasonic cleaning so if you have a large collection of any type of jewelry, it may be worth it to invest in a basin. Otherwise, the steps found here on how to clean your jewelry should suffice and I thank you for reading this and giving it a try for yourself.

How To Keep Your Jewelry Clean

Best Practices In Keeping Jewelry Clean, Safe, And Looking New:

  • Keep your platinum separate from gold and silver, these can damage each other
  • When not wearing your jewelry, keep it in a lined box or hanging - use the "real-thing" when it comes to storing jewelry (jewelry boxes, hangars, safe)
  • Clean your jewelry regularly - the cleaner it is, the less time you spend cleaning it and the more time you spend wearing it.
  • Treat pieces with stones with extra care. Check before and after cleaning your jewelry for loosened stones and never put stones in ammonia unless you are sure they can take it. Diamonds are safe.


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    • lulu hewitt profile image

      lulu hewitt 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I'm forever cleaning my silver jewelry

    • ayliss08 profile image


      7 years ago from Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

      Thanks for all these resource! I have read a bunch of articles about jewelry cleaning, but, I must say you really made a wonderful work. All these tips and ways you have shared are really helpful. I followed your tips and have my jewelry cleaned. Voted up!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Cool. Thanks for sharing your tips. now i know how to clean my jewelries properly. keep posting!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I've never heard of it! I suppose it would be good for harder marks, but you can see household products do great as well :)


    • profile image


      10 years ago

      For cleaning silver jewerly you can also use silvo, its easily available in any shop in india.


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