Articles by or About HDG

Keeping Your Jewellery Clean

Feb 22, 2011


The best way to keep your jewellery clean is to take it off when you are doing activities that present opportunities for it to get dirty! Baking bread, gardening, and putting on hand cream while wearing rings are all excellent ways to end up with jewellery that just doesn't sparkle. Shampooing or conditioning your hair with earrings and necklaces on is another great opportunity to cause build-up to collect on jewellery. Soaps and conditioners are also hard on things like pearl and opal, and even just hot water can cause them damage. If you can, remember to take your jewellery off during these kinds of activities.

It's not always practical to take your jewellery off every time you are going to get your hands dirty, so here are some methods for cleaning your jewellery. The easiest, least expensive way to clean your jewellery is with an old (but clean) toothbrush and some dish soap. The best dish soaps to use will say ‘grease cutting’ and ‘easy on hands’ on the labels. These are important because grease is the leading cause of dirty jewellery. Take an old or soft toothbrush and a little dish soap and lukewarm water, and gently scrub your jewellery from all angles. This shouldn't scratch your stones and should lead grease and dirt to lift off. Rinse the jewellery in lukewarm to room temperature water, and make sure you have a sieve or plug in the sink so you don't drop any jewellery down the drain. It's best not to soak jewellery; instead clean it with the toothbrush and rinse it right away. You can dry it off with a flannel cloth, or something that isn't likely to have threads snag (clean diaper cloths work wonderfully). Toothpaste is out of the question, because it is abrasive and will actually wear away your gold. Also, please never use bleach or ammonia as it eats away solder and shortens the life of your jewellery substantially. If you soak your jewellery in bleach expect the claw tips to fall off and the solder joints to break apart. We promise that dish soap works much better and shouldn't damage anything!

There are also personal ultrasonic jewellery cleaners available from somewhere between $50 to $150 that you might want to invest in if you have a lot of jewellery, or like to clean it often. We don't recommend any cleaning solutions that are sold with these cleaners, instead, we recommend using a solution of Simple Green (which you can find at most grocery and hardware stores) and water. This is more environmentally friendly, less expensive, and will not damage your jewellery in any way. Just rinse your jewellery in water afterwards. Also remember to do your homework about what you can and what you can't put in jewellery cleaners. Things like opal, pearl, coral, emerald, tanzanite, or any cracked stones are apt to break in an ultrasonic cleaner. Even soaking some of them can be risky. Lukewarm water, dish soap and a toothbrush won't hurt anything.

If you want your jewellery to look brand new and polished, then you should bring it to a jewellery store. We polish and clean jewellery at our store, and if you have jewellery from Hubbell Designer Goldsmiths we will polish and clean it for no charge as often as you like. 

by Kim Bonnell