How do you clean jewelry worn by a smoker? I have some necklaces and earrings which need cleaning. Also pearls which are slightly brown and smell of smoke.
Sandy from Barre, Vermont
Soak them in a solution of warm water and baking soda. The baking soda will neutralize the smoke smell. Use a toothbrush to gently scrub the jewelry. Rinse and air dry.
Caring for Your Pearls
Even cultured pearls with thicker coatings are more fragile than most other gemstones, so you must handle them carefully to keep them in the best condition.
* Your pearls will stay cleaner if you put them on after you've applied your makeup and perfume.
* Be sure to take off your pearl rings before you apply hand and body creams. Good rule for all jewelry.
* Wipe your pearls with a soft, lint-free cloth as soon as you take them off.
The cloth can be dampened with water or it can be dry. If damp, allow the pearls to air dry before putting them away.
* Dirty pearls can be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution (try Ivory flakes).
* Never clean your pearls with solutions that contain ammonia or harsh detergents.
* Don't put pearl jewelry in an ultrasonic cleaner.
* Don't use abrasive cleaners or rub pearls with abrasive cloth. Both can wear away the nacre coating, leaving you with a plain looking bead.
You don't say what the other kinds of jewelry are, but basics are: silver jewelry can be cleaned the same way as silverware. Either silver polish, a liquid type like "Dip" or Tarn-X, or the boiling water in an aluminum pan. No ammonia on silver; you can turn your silver permanently black.
Gold is much easier, you can use window cleaner or ammonia and warm water. One of my salesmen used to boil his wife's gold jewelry in just plain water. I don't recommend that because if the water boils out, the heat could shatter your stones and scar your gold.
Be careful of certain stones, though. Opal, emerald, pearls (as I mentioned above), mother-of-pearl, abalone, onyx shouldn't be put in commercial cleaning solutions as the solution may remove the finish from the stone.
No abrasives on the pearls! The soda is too harsh and will actually reduce the very thin outer layer which is the only part of value! The smoking stain is a tar, so you will need detergent treatments alternated with peroxide treatments. Repeat as needed. Detergents such as baby shampoo will be a gentle degreaser to dissolve, and peroxide will lift away the loosened tars. God bless you!
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