Cleaning Jewelry

Category Jewelry
Having a jewelry store clean your jewelry can get expensive. With some care and the right cleaners, many jewelry items can be safely cleaned at home. This is a page about cleaning jewelry.


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The best way to clean jewelry is to use an electric toothbrush and vinegar (or you can use commercial jewelry solution, Windex, or even toothpaste)


  1. Save your old electric toothbrush head when you change it to a new one.
  2. Soak your rings, bracelets, and necklaces in vinegar or whatever solution you prefer for a few minutes.
  3. Change your newer electric toothbrush head back to your old toothbrush head that you've saved.
  4. Holding your jewelry in your hand or flat on a counter (necklaces) go over and around them for a minute or so with the brush head vibrating. Rinse off in water, dry with a soft cloth, and they come out sparkling clean.

You will find this deep cleans all the nooks and crannies where gunk gets built up through time. I find this works much better than using those little brushes that come with cleaning solution. Also, it is easier for people with arthritis/pain in their hands.


I have a couple of rings I can't get off, so I just clean them using this method while they are still on my fingers. I turn my diamonds around so that they are facing up on my palm side so I can hold them steadier.

By ann from Goulais River, Ontario

Comment Was this helpful? 6

Scrub your good jewelry clean with an old toothbrush and some toothpaste. Rinse it clean in warm water and drop it into a small container of gin. Leave it for a coupe of hours or overnight. Jewelry sparkles as good as new. The gin can be kept in the freezer and used over and over.

Comment Was this helpful? 3

October 18, 2011

I was told by a reputable jeweler in our area many years ago to not buy the stuff they sell in the stores for cleaning gold jewelry. He told me to soak the jewelry in straight lemon ammonia. I keep a small jar under my bathroom sink with the ammonia in it.


This is NOT to be used on pearls or opals, as it could ruin the stones. This keeps my gold and diamonds very shiny.

By Dorice from Cairo, GA

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When you need to clean tiny crevices of items, namely jewelry, earring backs, or any decor with fine detail I found that brush picks (in dental floss aisle in stores) works great.

By Ginny from New Oxford, PA

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November 11, 2008

I ran out of hand cream one day so I used my pharmacy brand of Oil of Olay. I noticed a few minutes later, that where my rings were, my fingers had black tarnish marks on them. So I took my rings off and rinsed them and they were so shiny.

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Take some toothpaste and use your hand or a brush of sorts and brush the jewel. Then rinse and by then you have a sparkling piece of jewlery.

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February 23, 2012

Using a dry toothbrush and some cigarette ashes, brush your jewelery with the cigarette ashes, then take a soft cloth and polish clean. The ashes are so fine they work as an abrasive cleanser.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

June 28, 2010

I am looking for advice for cleaning jewelry.



June 28, 20100 found this helpful

Use their search box at top of website.

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June 28, 20100 found this helpful

Try a steamer or tooth paste for gold.

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June 29, 20100 found this helpful

Try this:

Mix 1 part ammonia with 1 part hydrogen peroxide. Put in your jewelry, swish it around for a few seconds, and rinse. As soon as the jewelry goes into the solution, you will be able to see the dirt and grime bubbling out. You might need to use an old toothbrush to get dirt out of intricate designs.



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Answer this Question...

April 7, 2008

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


By karen (Guest Post)
April 10, 20080 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 10, 20080 found this helpful


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.

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April 10, 20080 found this helpful

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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Answer this Question...

December 11, 2013

Can anyone tell me how to clean this old ring, rather than pay to have it done at a jeweler's? Thanks.

By Anna

Answer this Question...

June 24, 2016

This is a page about cleaning diamond earrings. Keeping your diamond earrings brilliant and sparkly can be done at home.

A pair of diamond stud earrings isolated against a white background

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August 3, 2011

Silver jewelry is very beautiful and complements your attire, whether formal or jeans casual. However, silver has a dark side, tarnish. This is a page about cleaning silver jewelry.

Coiled silver bead necklace with large silver ball.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 19, 2011

How do you remove sticky stuff off of jewelry?

By CHRISSY from Robertsdale, AL


Jewelry Cleaning

Try Goo-Gone, WD-40, or sometimes just plain olive oil works. (12/01/2010)

By Elaine

Jewelry Cleaning

Cooking oil. (12/01/2010)

By Tammie

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

November 30, 2010

Does anyone have any ideas on how to clean diamond earrings/pendants? They are a bit small for scrubbing by hand with a brush and just need something safe to rid them of soap residue and body oils trapped behind the stones. Would soaking them in a bit of bathroom scum remover harm them?

Any hints would be greatly appreciated!



Jewelry Cleaning

You can either soak them in white vinegar or ammonia. White vinegar is the best choice, because if there's residue remaining, it won't cause an allergic reaction on your hands.

Place the vinegar in a small jar (like a clean baby food jar) put your jewelry inside. Let the items soak for about 15-20 minutes. Shake the jar gently (just in case you didn't tighten the cap enough) for a few seconds. Rinse under hot water. You might have to repeat if there's sludge under the stone, but a few dousings should do the trick! (01/21/2005)

By Judy

Jewelry Cleaning

I use household ammonia diluted with plain tap water to clean all of my stone and gold jewelry, with the exception of pearls and opals. I dilute it about half and half and just let the pieces soak for a few minutes. You can then scrub them with a soft toothbrush or a stiff artist's paintbrush. Rinse well with hot water and towel dry. You can get household ammonia at just about any grocery or drug store. (01/21/2005)

By Pat Giles

Jewelry Cleaning

Use plain old alcohol. Place your earrings in a small paper cup or a cap (like maybe from a clean ketchup bottle) and fill to cover with alcohol. Good luck. (01/21/2005)

By joesgirl


Take them to any jeweler in the mall that cleans diamond rings for free. They can put the earrings in their ultrasonic cleaner as well. (01/21/2005)

Jewelry Cleaning

The best jewelry cleaner I have found that is gentle and completely removes scum and dirt is Woolite or Delicare (the cold water fabric soaking liquids.)

I use a tiny bit of the Woolite or Delicare diluted in water, and scrub the ring, necklace, etc. with a combination of a Q-tip and an old, used toothbrush, making sure to get in all the crevasses and corners. It works like a charm every time, and leaves the jewelry clean and shiny without any scum.

Good luck!

Nancy from PA (01/22/2005)

By Nancy Maffia

Jewelry Cleaning

I once had a jewelry store owner tell me that the best thing to clean jewelry with is toothpaste and a soft bristled toothbrush. Just put a dab of the toothpaste on the brush and gently go over the item then rinse off with water and dry with a lint free cloth (I use paper towels). I've always cleaned mine this way and then after I clean them I go over them with rubbing alcohol, makes the diamonds shine and sparkle! But only do this with hard stones not on pearls or opals or any other soft stones. (01/22/2005)

By tiffany

Jewelry Cleaning

Use denture cleaning tablets. Put your jewelry into a small cup and add the tablets. The bubbles will clean the earrings. (01/22/2005)

By Cheryl from MO

Jewelry Cleaning

I have used a 35mm film canister half filled with water and drop of baby shampoo to clean my diamond earrings. I usually let them soak overnight and give it a shake in the morning. They come out clean and shiny with very little effort. (01/22/2005)

By Connie

Jewelry Cleaning

I went to a Premiere Jewelry Party and the host stated that the best thing to clean all jewelry, even sterling silver is Woolite. It is gentle and on silver, it won't rub away layers like silver polish does. (01/25/2005)

By Teresa

Jewelry Cleaning

A friend who is a jewelry designer once told me that toothpaste or baking soda were ideal for general jewelry cleaning. You use a tooth brush and then rinse completely to make sure that no residue is left. For diamonds, she recommended using Windex with a toothbrush. It works well. Using toothpaste or baking soda to clean gold and silver works well and saves on jewelry cleaner. I keep a dedicated toothbrush for this purpose. I generally use one I would otherwise discard, and keep changing every time I would have discarded a toothbrush. (03/01/2005)

By Susan K. Beal

Jewelry Cleaning

Take a toothbrush and some Dawn - it works wonders! (05/15/2007)

By Gaynel

Jewelry Cleaning

When cleaning silver use toothpaste or vinegar! (06/04/2008)

By J.T.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

Home and Garden Cleaning JewelryOctober 18, 2012
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