How to Make Your Own Homemade Jewelry Cleaner
Whether you have a collection of silver necklaces or a bracelet encrusted with precious diamonds, keeping your jewelry clean and shiny is a must. The good news is, you can learn how to make your own homemade jewelry cleaner that will help make sure your jewelry is sparking in mere minutes.
The most important thing to remember with any jewelry cleaner is that your method of cleaning can either improve or harm the aesthetics of your jewelry pieces. In this article, we will give you an in-depth look into jewelry cleaning, tips for jewelry maintenance, and guidance for making your very own homemade jewelry cleaner.
What Is Jewelry Cleaner?
Jewelry cleaner is a kind of solution used to get rid jewelry of dirt, tarnish, and other impurities, but not all jewelry cleaners are created equal, which is why it is important to learn how to make your own. However, some jewelry pieces are best cleaned by a professional, so keep this in mind before taking your homemade cleaner to your most delicate or expensive items.
Gold or sterling silver jewelry can be cleaned easily with a homemade jewelry cleaner, and so can pieces containing sapphires or other gem stones. It is best to have a professional clean platinum jewelry as these pieces can be scratched easily. You should have a professional clean opal or pearl jewelry since harsh solutions and cleansers can damage these delicate gems. One important factor to consider regarding homemade jewelry cleaners is the age of the pieces you intend to clean. Moisture may damage jewelry made with older techniques and materials.
The Importance of Cleaning Your Jewelry
It’s important to keep your jewelry sparkling clean to maintain the overall appearance of the items. Jewelry allowed to stay dirty and tarnished can irritate your skin. To keep your jewelry clean, avoid contact with grease, dirt, and other damaging elements that can cloud the appearance of the gems or shift them loose from their placement.
When Your Jewelry Requires Professional Cleaning
If you have a platinum piece or jewelry containing opals that requires professional cleaning, here is what you can expect. The cleaner may require as little as a few minutes to as long as a few days to clean the item. A professional cleaner will first carefully examine the jewelry to make sure all gems are in place. If your jewelry can withstand the process, it might be cleaned in an ultrasonic solution and processed through a steam cleaner, while more delicate pieces may be brushed gently in soapy water. After the cleaning process, these pieces will be rinsed off, dried, and examined once more.
Your jeweler may also offer a cleaning kit with ammonia for your jewelry or sell individual ultrasonic cleaners. While your homemade jewelry cleaner will do the trick for most pieces, some gems, such as white topaz, generate a film over time that requires ultrasonic cleaning.
Examining Ultrasonic Cleaning
Ultrasonic cleaning is not as gentle a method as making your own jewelry cleaner, so only use it when necessary or have a professional do it for you. Whether your jeweler uses ultrasonic cleaning or you buy a kit to use at home, it is worth mentioning how the process works.
Ultrasonic cleaning gets rid of tarnish with chemicals and ultrasound waves. The process forms bubbles that grab hold of elements like oil, dirt, and other particles. The ultrasonic cleaner emits high frequency waves that extract the particles from the jewelry and send bubbles to the surface of the chemicals. As you can see, this method is much more involved than making your own homemade jewelry cleaner. Since you can use your homemade jewelry cleaner for a wide range of jewelry pieces, reserve professional or ultrasonic cleaning for delicate or easily scratched items.
How to Make Your Own Homemade Jewelry Cleaner
Each of the methods below will come in handy with many of the jewelry pieces you have at home. That being said, you should not use them on opals, turquoise, pearls, or other opaque gems that are secured with glue. When in doubt, consult a professional jeweler before cleaning your pieces yourself.
The Tin Foil Method
The first homemade jewelry cleaner method only requires five ingredients and takes approximately 10 minutes from start to finish. It is best for silver jewelry that has become tarnished. Start by measuring out 1 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of baking soda, 1 tbsp dish detergent, 1 cup of water, and a section of aluminum foil. Heat the water in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and cut a section of aluminum foil that is large enough to fit in the bottom of a small cereal bowl.
After the water warms up, take it out of the microwave and pour it into the bowl with the aluminum foil in the bottom. Add in your baking soda, salt, and dish detergent to make the homemade jewelry cleaner. Put the jewelry in the bowl on the foil and let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Once finished, rinse off your jewelry in cool water and dry the pieces thoroughly. Use a soft cloth material to ensure you do not scratch the jewelry.
The Alka-Seltzer Method
This homemade jewelry cleaner is also quick and easy to make. All you need are a few alka-seltzer tablets and 1 cup of water. Fill a bowl with the tablets and water, place your jewelry in the solution, and allow it to soak for five minutes. Rinse the items thoroughly under cool water and dry them gently with a cloth.
The Beer Method
Did you know you can use beer to make your own homemade jewelry cleaner? This method is best for gold jewelry pieces. All you need is a bowl, a small portion of light beer, and a clean cloth. Pilsner beers or lagers are best. You need not measure out too much beer, you just need enough to dampen the clean cloth. Once you have wet the cloth with a little beer, gently clean your gold pieces and polish them thoroughly, as you don’t want any beer residue remaining on the jewelry. Once you have cleaned and polished the gold completely, use a clean cloth to dry them off.
The Toothpaste Method
This method is great for silver pieces and diamonds that need a gentle clean. All you need is toothpaste (a gentle solution is key here) and a toothbrush you do not care about anymore. Put a small dollop of toothpaste on the toothbrush and gently buff the diamond or silver jewelry. Rinse the pieces completely. Dry them gently with a cool cloth to achieve a clean, tarnish-free finish.
The Tee Tree Oil Method
If you want to give your jewelry a deeper clean without using heavy chemicals, tea tree oil is a fantastic option to replace standard cleaner solutions. It has a pungent aroma, but it is a great substitute for the stringent chemicals used in most commercial cleansers. However, this method is best for durable, high-quality pieces and stones. You should not use it on jewelry containing pearls, opal, or tanzanite.
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Start by measuring out 1/2 cup of witch hazel or white distilled vinegar. You will also need a glass mason jar, baking soda, and a drop of tea tree oil. Put your jewelry in the mason jar and pour your witch hazel or vinegar on top. Measure out one drop of tea tree oil into the solution, mix completely, and let the jewelry soak in the mixture overnight.
The next morning, take your jewelry out of the mason jar and clean the pieces with baking soda. If you have an old toothbrush on hand, use it to coat and lightly scrub your jewelry with the baking soda. After the pieces are coated and gently scrubbed, rinse them thoroughly with water. Be sure to dry them off completely before wearing them or putting them back in storage.
Let us offer a few jewelry maintenance tips to extend the longevity of your pieces and make your life easier.
How to Store Your Jewelry
First, always keep your jewelry separate. Gems with varying degrees of hardness can collide and scratch one another if kept in too close a proximity, which is why it’s best to store your jewelry in separately lined sections in a jewelry box or other storage container. You should keep your jewelry out of direct sunlight and away from moisture, heat, or cold.
If you can, store your jewelry in the box it arrived in to shield it from dust and wear. Airtight bags are a great way to reduce risk of silver pieces oxidizing. You can also use silica gel packs to reduce environmental sulfur and moisture that negates the shine of your jewelry. Keep any silver, gold, semi-precious, or precious jewelry in cotton or acid-free tissue to shield them from damaging moisture and dust. Pearls are especially delicate and prone to scratching, so handle them with care.
Wearing Your Jewelry
As a rule of thumb, put on your jewelry after getting dressed so your clothes and hair don’t get snagged and your jewelry doesn’t get scratched. Put on any makeup or hairspray before your jewelry so the chemicals do not damage your pieces. When you fix your hair, take off your earrings so they do not impede the brush. If you are dying your hair, make sure you are not wearing pearl jewelry as the chemicals could affect their composition and color.
When getting a manicure, take care to remove bracelets and rings that could get in the way and get damaged. If you plan on doing housework or yard work, take off your rings or any other jewelry so nothing becomes scratched or tarnished.
There are certain substances that could cause damage if they come in contact with your jewelry. Water and chemicals can discolor and tarnish your jewelry, and other contaminants such as cooking grease, cosmetics, soap, and even natural oils from your skin can damage your pieces. If you wear jewelry with pearls or gems, try to avoid touching them too often so your skin’s oils do not dull their appearance.
Antique jewelry pieces should never come in contact with water or other liquid substances without the advice of a professional cleaner. Along the same lines, keep your beaded pieces or threaded pearls away from water or any other liquids.
As a final note, it bears mentioning that you should always keep any paperwork associated with your jewelry in the event it’s damaged or lost. More valuable jewelry pieces should have comprehensive and current valuations in case you ever have to make an insurance claim.
If you receive a certificate after buying a piece of jewelry, always store that documentation in a safe place. If you have vintage or heirloom pieces, it is best to have them valued too. That way, you understand exactly what pieces you are dealing with and know the best way to care for them.
Now that you know how to make five different homemade jewelry cleaners for your prized pieces, keeping tarnish, dust, and unwanted film at bay will be easier than ever. For precious stones you cannot clean with the methods discussed above, consult a professional regarding the best techniques for those delicate items.
Your jeweler might clean your delicate jewelry pieces for you or suggest the ideal cleansing solution to keep on hand to restore shine in a pinch. If you prefer to avoid any cleansers contacting your pearls, opals, and other precious gems, use a lint free cloth to buff the pieces very gently. These stones are best kept away from cleansers anyway, so a light buff now and then should do the trick.
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