It's hard not to fall in love with a new piece of jewelry when it's so dang sparkly. It doesn't take very long for the sparkle to fade, however, when you're wearing a piece on a regular basis — or even if it's just sitting in your jewelry box. Taking your jewelry in for a professional cleaning does the job, but it's a pain in the butt.
The good news is, that pro cleaning isn't necessary. It's totally possible to shine up your own jewelry with common cleaning supplies most of us already have at home. Sometimes soap and water (and maybe ammonia and aluminum foil) are enough to get a grungy ring or bracelet looking totally brand new again.
Just remember: Methods using chemicals or other harsh and abrasive cleaners are not recommended for soft stones like opals and pearls. Use soap and water only. You can fancy up the rest of your jewels with one of these hacks.
That diamond isn't going to keep its sparkle all on its own. Soak diamond jewelry in a solution of 1 cup warm water and 1/4 cup ammonia for about 15 minutes, then use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub away any remaining grime, especially in the crevices of the setting and underneath the diamond.
Cleaning your gold and gemstone jewelry couldn't be easier with white vinegar. Simply drop the jewelry into a jar of vinegar and let sit for 10 to15 minutes, agitating occasionally. Remove and scrub with a soft-bristled toothbrush, if necessary.
Next Up: Antacid
Originally published July 2012. Updated January 2017.
The fizzing power that works to soothe your stomach can also clean your jewelry. Drop two antacid tablets into a glass of warm water, followed by your baubles. Let sit for about two minutes in the effervescent solution, then remove and rinse.
Use aluminum foil to clean your tarnished silver jewelry much like you would your silverware. Line a tray with a piece of crumpled aluminum foil and place your jewelry on the foil. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the jewelry, then pour boiling water over it. The tarnish will transfer from the jewelry to the foil. You may need to flip or move the jewelry around so all sides come in contact with the foil. Remove and rinse with water.
Soap and water
For soft and porous materials like pearls and turquoise, you need nothing more than soap and water to get them looking their best. Clean your string of pearls by dipping them quickly in a solution of 2 cups warm water and a few drops of mild detergent (like Woolite). Wipe each pearl with a soft, dry cotton cloth and lay flat to dry. (Pearls actually stay polished from frequent wear, so don't be afraid to accessorize!) Turquoise doesn't even need soap to come clean. Simply dip a soft-bristled toothbrush into warm water and scrub the stone clean. Dry with a clean cloth, then let air-dry for several hours before storing.
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