How To Properly Clean Your Jewlery

by Miki Hayes

We all know that clothes need to be washed after wearing, but how often do you wash your jewelry? Just because our accessories are made from hard metals instead of soft fabrics doesn't mean that they, too, don't collect dirt and even dead skin cells (ew!) from constant wear. I once wore the same ring so often without cleaning that I didn't even notice how clouded the gem had become. I was browsing around at a jeweler with it on, and an associate asked me if I wanted it cleaned. I happily accepted, but was rather embarrassed when he returned it, and it was quite obvious that there were layers of filth that he must have erased. Needless to say, I try to never let my jewelry reach that level of grime anymore.

But I know as much of a pain as it is to have to remember to clean yet another category of belongings, it's just as annoying to take pieces to be professionally cleaned. As it turns out, there are actually a number of household items that will do the trick regardless of the type of jewelry you own. I know some of these sound weird, maybe even counterintuitive, but just trust me. Here are some of the ways you can easily clean your jewelry with things you already have around the house.

Plain Silver

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Ketchup: Gently rub ketchup on your silver for a few minutes. Then just simply rinse clean and dry.

Vinegar & Baking Soda: Soak silver jewelry in a solution of 1/2 cup vinegar and two tablespoons of baking soda for a couple of hours. Then rinse clean and dry.

Salt & Aluminum Foil: Mix two cups of hot water with one tablespoon of salt. When the salt is completely dissolved, add a few strips of aluminum foil and your silver jewelry. Let it soak for a few minutes, stirring occasionally (what is this, soup?). Then rinse clean and dry.

Plain Gold

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Beer: Pour some lager on a soft cloth and gently rub your jewelry with it. Use a clean cloth to dry.

Dish Soap: Mix a few drops of liquid dish soap in a bowl of warm water. Let your gold soak for 10 to 20 minutes, then gently scrub with an old toothbrush. Then rinse clean and dry.

Boiling Water: It doesn't get much simpler than this. Place your gold jewelry in a glass bowl. Then boil some water, and gently pour it over your jewelry. Wait until the water is cool enough to touch, then remove your gold and gently scrub it with an old toothbrush. Then rinse clean and dry.

Crystal Gemstone

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Alka-Seltzer: Let your jewelry soak in a glass of Alka-Seltzer for a few minutes. Wipe dry with a clean cloth, and watch your gem sparkle like new.

Toothpaste: Brush your gems with toothpaste to restore their sparkle. Wipe off any residue with a damp cloth.

Club soda: Let your gemstone jewelry sit in a glass of club soda overnight. This soak will restore their shine.

Images: Feather Cuff Unisex Ring/; Getty Images