How to clean jewelry and how often

Jewelry holds a special place in our hearts, whether it’s a cherished family heirloom passed down through generations or a trendy accessory that complements our personal style. However, over time, our beloved jewelry can lose its sparkle and shine due to the accumulation of dirt, oils, and other residues from everyday wear. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the importance of regular jewelry cleaning and provide practical tips for keeping your precious pieces looking their best.

Why Clean Jewelry Regularly:

Jewelry is more than just an adornment; it’s a reflection of our personality and taste. From engagement rings to statement necklaces, each piece tells a story and holds sentimental value. However, as we go about our daily lives, our jewelry inevitably comes into contact with dirt, oils from our skin, cosmetics, and environmental pollutants. These residues can build up over time, dulling the brilliance of gemstones and causing metals to tarnish.

Neglecting to clean your jewelry regularly can result in more than just a loss of shine—it can lead to irreversible damage. For example, dirt and oils can become trapped in intricate settings, causing gemstones to lose their sparkle. Additionally, tarnish can develop on metal surfaces, such as silver and gold, leading to discoloration and corrosion.

By cleaning your jewelry regularly, you not only maintain its aesthetic appeal but also prolong its lifespan. It can also provide a better resale value if you choose to part with it or Sell and Trade Rolex in Philadelphia.


How Often Should You Clean Your Jewelry:

The frequency of cleaning your jewelry depends on several factors, including the type of jewelry, how often you wear it, and your lifestyle. As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended to clean your jewelry at least once a month to prevent the buildup of dirt and oils. However, pieces that are worn frequently, such as engagement rings and wedding bands, may require more frequent cleaning to maintain their sparkle.

Additionally, consider the environment in which you wear your jewelry. For example, if you live in a humid climate or engage in activities that cause you to sweat, you may need to clean your jewelry more often to prevent tarnish and corrosion.


Methods for Cleaning Different Types of Jewelry:


Rings are one of the most commonly worn types of jewelry, making them prone to dirt and oils from everyday activities. To clean rings, start by creating a cleaning solution using mild detergent and warm water. Soak the rings in the solution for a few minutes to loosen dirt and oils, then gently scrub them with a soft-bristled brush, such as a toothbrush. Pay special attention to any crevices or intricate settings where dirt may be trapped. Rinse the rings thoroughly under lukewarm water to remove any soap residue, then pat them dry with a clean, lint-free cloth.


Chain Necklaces:

Chain necklaces are notorious for becoming tangled and accumulating dirt and oils over time. To clean chain necklaces, begin by placing them in a bowl of warm water mixed with a small amount of mild detergent. Let the necklaces soak for about 10-15 minutes to loosen dirt and oils, then gently agitate them with your fingers or a soft brush to remove any stubborn residues. Rinse the necklaces thoroughly under running water to ensure that all soap residue is removed, then pat them dry with a clean cloth.



Bracelets come in various styles and materials, from delicate bangles to chunky cuffs. To clean metal bracelets, such as gold or silver, wipe them down with a damp cloth soaked in mild detergent. For beaded or leather bracelets, gently scrub them with a soft brush dipped in soapy water, taking care not to damage the beads or leather. Rinse the bracelets thoroughly under running water, then dry them with a clean, lint-free cloth.



Earrings come in a wide range of styles, from simple studs to elaborate chandeliers. To clean earrings, start by wiping them down with a soft cloth dampened with mild detergent. For stubborn dirt or residues, use a cotton swab dipped in soapy water to gently clean the earring posts and backs. Avoid soaking earrings with gemstones or delicate materials, as prolonged exposure to water can cause damage. Instead, use a soft brush to clean any intricate settings, taking care not to dislodge the stones. Rinse the earrings under lukewarm water to remove any soap residue, then pat them dry with a clean cloth.



Watches are both functional timepieces and stylish accessories, making them susceptible to dirt, oils, and sweat. To clean watches, start by removing the straps or bands, if possible, and wiping down the watch face and casing with a soft cloth dampened with mild detergent. For stainless steel or metal watch bands, use a soft-bristled brush dipped in soapy water to gently scrub away dirt and oils. For leather or fabric watch bands, avoid soaking them in water, as this can cause damage. Instead, wipe them down with a damp cloth and mild detergent, then dry them thoroughly with a clean cloth before reattaching them to the watch face.


Tools and Supplies Needed for Cleaning Jewelry:

Cleaning your jewelry doesn’t require fancy equipment or expensive cleaning solutions. In fact, most items can be cleaned using simple household ingredients and basic cleaning tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Mild detergent: Opt for a gentle dish soap or hand soap that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals or abrasives.
  • Warm water: Use lukewarm water to create a cleaning solution that effectively loosens dirt and oils without damaging delicate jewelry.
  • Soft-bristled brush: Choose a soft-bristled brush, such as a toothbrush or makeup brush, to gently scrub away dirt and oils from jewelry surfaces.
  • Polishing cloth: A lint-free polishing cloth is ideal for buffing metal surfaces to a high shine and removing any remaining residues.
  • Optional tools and supplies: Depending on the type of jewelry you’re cleaning, you may also need silver polish, a jewelry cleaning solution, or an ultrasonic cleaner for more thorough cleaning.


Tips for Maintaining Jewelry Between Cleanings:

While regular cleaning is essential for keeping your jewelry looking its best, proper maintenance between cleanings can help prevent dirt and oils from building up in the first place. Here are some tips for maintaining your jewelry between cleanings:

  • Store your jewelry properly: When not in use, store your jewelry in a clean, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Consider investing in a jewelry box or organizer with individual compartments to prevent pieces from scratching or tangling.
  • Avoid exposing your jewelry to harsh chemicals: Remove your jewelry before swimming, showering, or engaging in activities that involve exposure to chemicals, such as cleaning or gardening. Chemicals such as chlorine and bleach can tarnish metal surfaces and damage gemstones.
  • Clean your jewelry after each wear: After wearing your jewelry, take a few moments to wipe it down with a soft cloth dampened with water to remove any sweat, oils, or residues. This simple step can help prevent dirt and oils from accumulating and prolong the time between deep cleanings.
  • Schedule regular professional cleanings: While cleaning your jewelry at home is effective for routine maintenance, consider scheduling regular professional cleanings with a jeweler to remove stubborn dirt and oils and inspect for any signs of damage or wear.


Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Jewelry:

Cleaning your jewelry may seem like a straightforward task, but there are several common mistakes that can cause damage if not done properly. Here are some mistakes to avoid when cleaning your jewelry:

  • Using harsh chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage delicate jewelry surfaces, such as chlorine bleach or ammonia-based cleaners. Stick to mild detergents and gentle cleaning solutions that are safe for all types of jewelry.
  • Scrubbing too vigorously: While it’s important to remove dirt and oils from jewelry surfaces, avoid scrubbing too vigorously, as this can scratch metal surfaces and dislodge gemstones. Instead, use a soft-bristled brush and gentle pressure to clean jewelry without causing damage.
  • Soaking jewelry with porous gemstones: Avoid soaking jewelry with porous gemstones, such as pearls, opals, or turquoise, in water or cleaning solutions, as this can cause damage to the stones. Instead, wipe down these types of jewelry with a damp cloth and mild detergent, taking care not to saturate the stones.
  • Using ultrasonic cleaners on all types of jewelry: While ultrasonic cleaners can be effective for removing dirt and oils from certain types of jewelry, they may not be suitable for all materials. Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners on jewelry with delicate gemstones, organic materials, or fragile settings, as the vibrations can cause damage.



Your jewelry is more than just an accessory—it’s a reflection of your personality, style, and memories. By taking the time to clean and maintain your jewelry regularly, you can ensure that it remains as beautiful and cherished as the day you first acquired it. Whether it’s a simple ring or an elaborate necklace, each piece deserves to be pampered and preserved for generations to come. So, embrace the art of jewelry cleaning and show your beloved pieces the care and attention they deserve.

Pat Baker is a frequent jewelry wearer, enjoys sparkly things, and writes for luxury jewelry retailers in the Philadelphia area.

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