Learn how to clean jewelry and give shine back to your dirty gems with these clever hacks. We'll show you how to use around-the-house items for cleaning rings, earrings, necklaces, and more.

After years of wear, you might not even notice that your jewelry has lost its shine. Dirt, debris, and daily grime build up over time, making jewelry look dull. Luckily, there are many easy solutions for cleaning jewelry. You don't need a professional cleaner or expensive jewelry polish to breathe life back into your favorite gems. These easy-to-use home jewelry cleaners feature budget-friendly ingredients you likely already have on hand.

jewelry holder, diy, flea market projects

Keep in mind that some hacks 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 materials 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.

1. Put a Toothbrush to the Test

toothbrush holder, bathroom, bathroom accessories

A clean, soft-bristle toothbrush is the perfect weapon for fighting dirty jewelry. Tiny bristles make it easy to access tough-to-reach nooks and crannies. For light spots, consider using water to scrub away the grime. For tougher buildup, dilute toothpaste with water, then scrub onto the jewelry. Rinse with water, then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. Let jewelry dry before putting it away.

2. Let It Bubble with Baking Soda

cleaning DIY

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

3. Keep It Simple with Soap and Water

bathtub soap dish

Soap and water is a classic cleaning combo for a reason. This simple solution makes quick work of spots, stains, and general grime without causing damage. To clean jewelry, mix a few drops of liquid dish soap with a few cups of water. Mix together, then place jewelry in the mixture for a few seconds. Remove, then use a clean cloth to wipe dry and buff out any spots. Let jewelry dry before putting it away. Keep in mind that this method is best for mild stains, tarnish, or general wear-and-tear, like those you'd find when cleaning sterling silver. It likely won't be strong enough for major spots, rust, or buildup.

Editor's Tip: This will help your jewelry retain its shine, and you'll sanitize the posts and reduce your chance of infection.

4. Bring to a Boil

boiling water, water, water in pan

Hot water is an easy (and cheap) cleaning solution for hard metal jewelry. Steam and heat cause dirt and debris to loosen from the jewelry, making it a snap to wipe away. Simply place jewelry in a heatproof container, then slowly pour boiling water over it until covered. Let jewelry sit for a few minutes or until the water has cooled. Remove jewelry from the bowl and wipe away grime with a clean cloth. Let jewelry dry before putting it away. Keep in mind that this method will not work with pearls, opals, and many other gemstones. Reserve the technique for silver, gold, platinum, and diamonds.

5. Use Antibacterial Cleaner

Cleaners, spray bottles, cleaning products

You don't need a fancy jewelry cleaner to make your bling sparkle. Look no further than a multipurpose antibacterial cleaner. Start by unscrewing the bottle lid and pouring 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 off the jewelry and to the bottom of the bowl. Once time is up, remove jewelry and gently scrub with a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse under cool water, then pat dry with a clean cloth. Let jewelry dry before putting it away.

    Comments (1)

    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    May 9, 2018
    toothpaste should never be used to clean jewelry. Vinegar is OK for silver and gold mixed with baking soda. Never use toothpaste.