Jewelry is truly the icing on the cake for completing any look. It can add just a little bit of a classy flair with simple earrings and a dainty chain, or you go big with a gorgeous statement necklace and bold rings to match. Whatever your go-to accessories may be, we all have our favorite piece of jewelry that makes its way into our final outfit. But sadly, with more wear comes more tear, and our jewelry can slowly but surely start to lose its shine and begin to tarnish. Don’t worry, this is something that naturally happens to jewelry—you’re not doing anything wrong! Over time, your jewelry comes into contact with moisture, acids, and oils that react with the metal in the jewelry, causing it to tarnish. Luckily, there’s a very safe, effective, and natural method you can utilize (that we’ve laid all out right here, of course) to keep all of your pieces looking as good as new for years to come. Read on for our easy guide to cleaning your tarnished jewelry.
How to Clean Tarnished Jewelry
So, how exactly does tarnishing even happen? Well, tarnishing occurs when a chemical reaction takes place between the metal in your jewelry and the air, moisture, or substances it comes into contact with (hence why this happening isn’t your fault!). Gold jewelry and sterling silver jewelry are particularly susceptible to tarnishing, with factors such as humidity, exposure to chemicals, and even our body’s natural oils accelerating this process. Fortunately, with the right cleaning methods and techniques, you can remove the tarnish and restore your jewelry’s original shine.
Your favorite jewelry pieces deserve to shine as brightly as they did when you first acquired them. With a few simple steps and the right cleaning techniques, you can remove that annoying tarnish and revive any piece’s original look. But, before you even get started, always remember to handle your jewelry with care throughout the cleaning process. Having the correct materials is important, but making sure you’re handling it correctly is just as important. Now that that’s all out of the way, let’s get down to the best method for the job:
What You’ll Need:
Before we dive into the actual cleaning process, let’s gather the necessary materials. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Warm water
- Soft cloth
- Soft bristle toothbrush
- Aluminum foil
- Tablespoon of baking soda
- Lemon juice
- Polishing cloth
Step 1: Prepare a Cleaning Solution
Start by creating a cleaning solution to remove the tarnish from your jewelry. Begin by lining a small bowl with aluminum foil, making sure that the shiny side faces up. This foil lining is meant to enhance the cleaning process and ensures your jewelry doesn’t fade.
Step 2: Add Warm Water & Baking Soda
Fill the lined bowl with warm water, making sure it’s not too hot, as hot water can cause the metal to expand. Then, add a tablespoon of baking soda to the water and stir gently until it dissolves. Baking soda acts as a natural cleaner which helps to break down the tarnish markings on your jewelry.
Step 3: Soak the Jewelry
Next, carefully place your tarnished jewelry pieces into the bowl, ensuring they are fully submerged in the cleaning solution. Allow them to soak for at least 10 minutes. As it’s soaking, the chemical reaction between the baking soda, water, and tarnish will help loosen the buildup.
Step 4: Gently Scrub
After the soaking period, take a clean, soft bristle toothbrush and gently scrub your jewelry, paying close attention to any intricate details or hard-to-reach areas. While this is a safe cleaning process, scrubbing too hard can exacerbate the tarnish even more. The combination of the baking soda and the toothbrush’s bristles will effectively remove the loosened tarnish with even just a very light scrubbing motion.
Step 5: Rinse and Dry
Once you have scrubbed the jewelry and all of the loose tarnish seems to have come off, rinse it thoroughly under lukewarm water to remove any leftover cleaning solution. To be extra careful, you can utilize a strainer or plug the sink to prevent your jewelry from accidentally slipping down the drain. Once you’re finished rinsing, pat the jewelry dry with a soft cloth, ensuring that all of the moisture is gone.
Step 6: Lemon Juice for Extra Shine (Optional)
This step isn’t mandatory, but if you really want to ensure that that good-as-new shine stays intact, we suggest you go for it! For that extra shine boost, all you have to do is grab some lemons. Dip a soft cloth into fresh lemon juice and gently rub it over your jewelry. The citric acid in the lemon juice helps remove overly stubborn tarnish that doesn’t quite come off with just the solution and leaves your jewelry looking completely refreshed.
Step 7: Final Polishing
To give your jewelry that just-bought sparkle, use a polishing cloth that’s specifically designed for precious metals and jewelry cleaning. Gently rub the cloth over your jewelry to bring out its natural shine and remove any remaining residue. Voila! Your piece should look brand new.