How to Clean Jewelry with Ingredients You Have at Home

Learn how to clean silver jewelry, tips for cleaning rings, and our best suggestions for DIY jewelry cleaners.

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Estimated Cost: $5

Jewelry can be both expensive and sentimental, and taking proper care of your pieces is key to keeping them in good condition. After years of wear, you might not even notice that your jewelry has lost its shine, but dirt, debris, and daily grime can build up over time. This not only makes your jewelry look dull, but it can also cause damage. Regularly cleaning jewelry is one of the easiest ways to maintain your rings, earrings, and necklaces, and you can do it at home in just a few minutes.

You don't need a professional—or expensive jewelry polish—to breathe life back into your favorite gems. There are plenty of homemade jewelry cleaners that feature budget-friendly ingredients you likely already have on hand.

jewelry holder
Laura Moss

How to Clean Jewelry by Type

Keep in mind that some methods work best for certain types of jewelry. Soft gemstones, for example, can't stand up to the harsher cleaning methods designed for gold and platinum. Make sure you know exactly what your jewelry is made of, and if you have any uncertainty, err on the side of caution and have your jewelry examined by a professional.

How to Clean Silver Jewelry

Metals are a bit more durable than gemstones, so use one of our homemade jewelry cleaners (more on that later) to soak and scrub your silver jewelry. It is generally safe to soak silver pieces in liquid cleaner for a few minutes before scrubbing it with a soft brush or cloth. Real silver can easily tarnish, especially without proper upkeep and cleaning, so you may need to spend a little extra time on these pieces. If a basic cleaning isn’t enough, use our silver cleaning tips to help remove tarnish.

How to Clean Gold Jewelry

Gold jewelry can be cleaned with dish soap, ammonia glass cleaner, or even just hot water. As with silver, you can give it a good scrub when necessary, but be sure to use a soft toothbrush or other small brush designed specifically for jewelry.

How to Clean Jewelry with Gemstones

Whether it’s a diamond ring or a vintage gemstone necklace, any jewelry with stones should be treated with extra care. Each stone on a piece of jewelry has its own setting, and over time these settings can loosen—meaning your diamond, ruby, or emerald could be at risk of falling out. Before cleaning these jewelry pieces at home, we recommend taking them to a jeweler for a once-over to confirm all the settings are sturdy and there are no loose stones.

Jewelry with hard gems (such as diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald, topaz, garnet, and quartz) can be cleaned with the following at-home methods. Soft gemstones (which include pearls, opal, jade, aquamarine, and onyx) should be treated with special care. Avoid scrubbing these and only clean them with a very gentle soap and lukewarm water.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Bowl
  • Toothbrush
  • Soft cloth


  • Antibacterial cleaner
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Glass cleaner


How to Clean Jewelry with Hot Water

  1. Pour Water Over Jewelry

    Hot water is an easy (and cheap) cleaning solution for hard metal jewelry. Steam and heat loosen dirt and debris from jewelry, making it a snap to wipe away. Simply place your pieces in a heatproof container, then slowly pour in boiling water until they're covered.

  2. Soak and Wipe Away Grime

    Let the jewelry sit for a few minutes or until the water has cooled, then remove it and wipe away the grime with a clean cloth. Depending on how dirty your pieces are, they may still require a scrub after soaking.

  3. Dry Jewelry

    Let the jewelry air-dry before putting it away or wipe it dry with a clean cloth. Keep in mind that this method for cleaning jewelry will not work with pearls, opals, and many other gemstones. Reserve this technique for silver, gold, platinum, and diamonds or other hard stones.

How to Clean Jewelry with Household Ingredients

A DIY jewelry cleaner can typically get the job done quickly and safely. Not all jewelry is created equal, so we recommend researching the type of metal or stone before you begin. These are a few of our favorite at-home cleaning solutions.

  1. Use Antibacterial Cleaner

    You don't need a fancy jewelry cleaner to make your bling sparkle. Reach for your go-to antibacterial cleaner and pour a few inches of the liquid cleaner into a glass bowl. Add your jewelry and let it sit for five minutes. As you wait, the buildup should begin to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Once the time is up, remove and assess whether it can be patted dry and put away, or whether it still needs a bit of a scrub.

  2. Clean Jewelry with Baking Soda or Heartburn Tablets

    If you're not in the mood to scrub, let a chemical reaction do the work for you. Both baking soda and effervescent heartburn tablets cause a chemical reaction when mixed with water. This reaction produces bubbles and fizz that eagerly attack the buildup on your jewelry.

    Simply place an item in a small bowl, cover with water, and add the active ingredient. Let the piece soak for a few minutes, then remove it from the bowl and wipe with a cleaning cloth. This method is best suited as a diamond ring cleaner, or for silver or gold jewelry—do not use the technique on pearls or soft gemstones.

  3. Clean Jewelry with Dish Soap

    A gentle dishwashing soap is safe for most metal jewelry pieces. Just like it cuts through grease and grime on your dishes, a few drops can easily remove the buildup of dirt, dust, and your skin’s natural oils. Add 1 tsp. dish soap to a cup of hot water and let your pieces soak for a few minutes, scrubbing them if necessary.

    Keep in mind that this method is best for mild stains, tarnish, or general wear-and-tear, like what you'd find when cleaning sterling silver. It likely won't be strong enough for major spots, rust, or buildup.

  4. Clean Jewelry with Glass Cleaner

    In a pinch, you can use regular glass cleaner to give your pieces a quick scrub. Spray the cleaner directly on the piece and either gently scrub or wipe it away. Be sure to rinse with water when you’re done.

    This method should only be used on gold, platinum, silver, and diamonds because the chemicals used in most glass cleaners can harm other stones and metals. 

How to Clean Jewelry with a Toothbrush

A clean, soft-bristle toothbrush is the perfect weapon for fighting grime. Tiny bristles make it easy to access tough-to-reach nooks and crannies.

  1. Scrub with a Soft Toothbrush

    hands using toothbrush to clean gold necklace

    Getty / vejaa

    For light spots, consider scrubbing with water. For tougher buildup, use a toothbrush in conjunction with one of the homemade jewelry cleaners above.

    You might see internet hacks claiming that you can scrub your jewelry with toothpaste, but that's not recommended as toothpaste can easily scratch and damage your jewelry.

  2. Rinse and Dry Jewelry

    Rinse with water, then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. Air-drying isn't recommended, as it can sometimes leave behind unwanted water spots. When you're ready to put the pieces away, be sure to store and organize your jewelry properly to keep it protected.

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