How to Clean Gold Jewelry?

September 11th, 2022

How to Clean Gold Jewelry?

Gold is a highly soft metal, so everyday activities can scratch and dent it. Many solid gold jewelry pieces are crafted from 18K or 14K gold, alloyed with harder metals like copper, zinc, or platinum to make them more durable. However, these alloys can react with the air, water, and chemicals, causing your gold jewelry to become tarnished. 

Layers of debris can also build up due to chemical cleaners, makeup, skin cells, and sebum, diminishing the shine on your gold jewelry and potentially leading to corrosion. 

A jeweler is equipped with tools, like an ultrasonic cleaner, to polish and clean your jewelry so it looks new again. However, preventative cleaning and maintenance at home can help your gold jewelry retain its shine if you can’t have your jewelry professionally cleaned regularly.

How to clean Gold Jewelry

Cleaning Your Gold Jewelry

Depending on how often you wear your gold or gold plated jewelry, you may need to clean it weekly. To clean gold plated jewelry, you will need:

  • Warm water
  • A soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Dish soap (such as Dawn)
  • Ammonia (a couple of drops); not suitable for white gold jewelry
  • Jewelry polishing cloth/Soft cloth/Soft lint free cloth

Mix the dish soap and a couple of drops of ammonia in warm water. Allow your gold jewelry to soak for 5 to 10 minutes, especially if it is extremely dirty. Avoid submerging the piece if it features emeralds, coral, opals, wood, or bone. Water and cleaning chemicals can absorb into porous surfaces and cause permanent structural and color changes.

Use the toothbrush to gently scrub the piece and help you reach hard-to-get places. Blot excess water using a lint-free cloth and allow your gold jewelry to air dry. 

Once dry, you can use a polishing cloth to remove watermarks and polish the piece. Polishing cloths are typically infused with metal protectants like micro-abrasives and an anti-tarnish sealant. Rub the jewelry in small circular motions until it shines.

Helpful Tips for Caring for Your Gold Jewelry

In addition to cleaning your jewelry regularly, use these tips to ensure your pieces retain their luster and don’t lose their value. 

  • Don’t wear gold jewelry while doing strenuous activities. Sweat is slightly acidic (pH 6.3), which can corrode your gold jewelry. 
  • Do not wear gold jewelry in chlorinated pools and hot tubs. Chlorine leeches the metals from gold alloys like zinc and nickel, causing microscopic bubbles to develop. This can make your gold jewelry brittle and more prone to breakage.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals. Cleaning with chemicals like ammonia or abrasive cleaners while wearing white gold jewelry can remove the rhodium plating. These types of cleaners can also scratch or damage gemstones and settings. 
  • Remove your jewelry before bathing. Wearing your gold jewelry in the bath or shower can lead to a build-up of soap residue. If you live in an area with hard water, your jewelry may develop calcium and magnesium deposits leaving water stains. 
  • Put your jewelry on last when getting ready. Perfume, cosmetics, skin care products, and hair styling products contain chemicals that can damage gold jewelry or form a sticky residue on the surface, diminishing the piece’s luster. Limit the exposure by adding your jewelry to your outfit last. 
  • Store your jewelry properly. After wearing and cleaning your gold jewelry, always store your piece in a cool, dry place. Use a felt or velvet-lined jewelry box or travel roll. Or keep each piece stored in separate compartments inside a jewelry cabinet to prevent them from rubbing or scratching each other.
How to clean Gold Jewelry

Protect Your Gold Jewelry With Insurance From BriteCo™

While regular cleaning gold jewelry at home is essential to preserve the shine and quality of your jewelry, you should also take your collection to a professional jeweler once a year for a thorough cleaning, inspection, and repair. 

With Fine Jewelry Insurance from BriteCo™, you receive 5-star rated, worldwide coverage worth up to 125% of the jewelry’s appraised value. We offer convenient monthly or annual payments with zero deductibles when you make a claim. 

In addition to comprehensive coverage for loss, theft, damage, or mysterious disappearance, we also include complimentary maintenance and repairs. This includes stone tightening, prong re-tipping, necklace stringing, and clasp repair. 

Apply online and receive confirmation within minutes. Or contact BriteCo™ using our live chat or email us to learn more.

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About the Author

Rachel Akmakjian is Director of Jeweler Relations for BriteCo. She has more than eight years’ experience in jewelry marketing, retail, diamond wholesale, and managing her own company that specializes in creating custom jewelry pieces. Rachel is currently a student at the Gemological Institute of America, on track to receive her Graduate Gemology certificate by the end of this year. Her education and experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the demands and expectations facing jewelers and customers in today’s evolving retail marketplace.
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