If you want to clean your bling but don’t want to shell out lots of money for a professional, fear not – there are lots of easy methods for how to clean jewellery right at home. You don’t have to save it for your most valuable cocktail rings or necklaces, either. Even the best affordable jewellery needs a cleaning every now and then, especially those delicate earrings that you never take off, even after they turn your skin green.
These trusted everyday items are just as good as (if not better than) jewellery cleaner, and you probably already have most of them in the house.
Drop your dull-looking jewellery in a glass of fizzing Alka-Seltzer for a couple of minutes. It will sparkle and shine when you pull it out.
Here’s how to clean jewellery with aluminium foil: simply line a small bowl with it. Fill the bowl with hot water and mix in one tablespoon of bleach-free powdered laundry detergent. Put the jewellery in the solution and let it soak for one minute. Rinse well and air-dry. This procedure makes use of the chemical process known as ion exchange, which can also be used to clean silverware.
Brighten up your gold and silver trinkets by soaking them for ten minutes in a solution of 1/2 cup clear ammonia mixed with 1 cup warm water. Gently wipe clean with a soft cloth and let dry. Note: do not do this with jewellery containing pearls, because it could dull or damage their delicate surface.
To remove built-up tarnish from your silver, make a thick paste with 1/4 cup baking soda and 2 tablespoons water. Apply with a damp sponge and gently rub, rinse, and buff dry. To polish gold jewellery, cover with a light coating of baking soda, pour a bit of vinegar over it, and rinse clean. Note: do not use this technique with jewellery containing pearls or gemstones, as it could damage their finish or loosen any glue.
Get the shine back in your solid gold rings (read: bands without any gemstones) and other jewellery by pouring a bit of light-coloured beer (not dark ale!) onto a soft cloth and rubbing it gently over the piece. Use a clean second cloth or towel to dry.
Soak your diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds in club soda to give them a bright sheen. Simply place them in a glass full of soda water and let them soak overnight.
Has your diamond ring lost its sparkle? Here’s how to clean jewellery using denture tablets: drop the tablet into a glass along with 1 cup water. Follow that with your ring or diamond earrings. Let it sit for a few minutes. Remove your jewellery and rinse to reveal the old sparkle and shine.
Let ketchup do the work of shining tarnished silver. If your ring, bracelet, or earring has a smooth surface, dunk it in a small bowl of ketchup for a few minutes. If it has a tooled or detailed surface, use an old toothbrush to work ketchup into the crevices. To avoid damaging the silver, don’t leave the ketchup on any longer than necessary. Rinse your jewellery clean, dry it, and it’s ready to wear.
Put a little toothpaste on an old toothbrush and use it to make your diamond ring sparkle instead of your teeth. Clean off the residue with a damp cloth.
Is vinegar good for cleaning jewellery? Yes! Here’s how to clean jewellery with it: soak your pure silver bracelets, rings, and other jewellery in a mixture of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse them under cold water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.
In a pinch, a few drops of vodka will clean any kind of glass or jewellery with crystalline gemstones. So although people might give you strange looks, you could dip a napkin into your vodka on the rocks to wipe away the grime on your eyeglasses or dunk your diamond ring for a few minutes to get it sparkling again. But don’t try this with contact lenses! Also, avoid getting alcohol on any gemstone that’s not a crystal. Only diamonds, emeralds and the like will benefit from a vodka bath.
Use window cleaner to spruce up jewellery that is all metal or has crystalline gemstones such as diamonds or rubies. Spray on the cleaner, then use an old toothbrush for cleaning. But don’t do this if the piece has opaque stones such as opal or turquoise, or organic gems such as coral or pearl. The ammonia and detergents in the cleaner can discolour these porous lovelies.
Dish soap can do a whole lot more than just clean your kitchen! It’s great for regular jewellery cleaning. All you need to do is mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water and let the jewellery soak in the solution for a few minutes. You can use this method for silver jewellery too, but you’re better off using a toothbrush or cloth to wipe down that jewellery rather than fully submerging it. Don’t forget to rinse!
A bit of mild shampoo – think baby shampoo – is a great way to polish your pearls. Stones like turquoise and opals will benefit from this treatment as well. To use this method most effectively, mix a little bit of shampoo with warm water and use a soft, clean brush like a makeup brush to polish each pearl with the mixture. You don’t want to risk damaging pearls by soaking them.
This article first appeared on Reader’s Digest.