Jewelry Care & Maintenance

How to polish jewelry?

Rachel Akmakjian


Rachel Akmakjian

How to Polish Jewelry: Clean Jewelry at Home, No Questionable At-Home Remedies Required

If you’ve ever looked up how to polish jewelry, you likely quickly realized that there are a lot of at-home jewelry cleaning “hacks” that will supposedly turn your well-worn jewelry good as new. No fancy jewelry cleaner is needed. However, for all the jewelry cleaning hacks out there, there are just as many people who will tell you a horror story about how they discolored their silver rings, dulled their diamond ring, or ruined their pearl jewelry for good just because they used the wrong at-home cleaning method. 

How can you polish or clean your jewelry at home for maximum shine without making a horrible, jewelry-altering mistake? You’ll want to rely on the most basic, time-tested, trusted, and gentle cleaning methods, plus critical preventative measures to keep your jewelry as clean as possible in the first place.

What You Will Learn

The Safest Way to Polish Jewelry

What is the safest way to polish or clean jewelry? Whether you’re trying to clean gold jewelry, sterling silver, diamond jewelry, or anything in between, your safest choice will be a simple jewelry cleaning solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap. 

How to polish jewelry

Rather than gently scrub your jewelry with a soft toothbrush, just allow the jewelry in the solution to sit undisturbed for a few minutes. Then, remove the jewelry from the solution and gently dry it off. Use a soft clean cloth, preferably a microfiber cloth, to polish the jewelry to a shine.

This method can hold you over until you schedule a professional jewelry cleaning service, keeping your jewelry safe from the damage caused by a fancy jewelry cleaner you found online or a baking soda solution that can scratch up soft gemstones. Choosing the wrong drying method (like a paper towel) can scratch up your delicate, fine jewelry, so keep it simple. 

Again, all you need is…

  • A jewelry cleaning solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap
  • A soft clean cloth, preferably a microfiber cloth

What About Silver Jewelry?

But will this method work for silver jewelry? Shouldn’t you use a fancy jewelry cleaner dedicated to this purpose when you want to clean silver jewelry? 


Sometimes, even consumer-grade silvery jewelry cleaners will damage your jewelry if you’re not careful. Your best, safest option is to go with warm water, dish soap, and a cloth designed to polish silver jewelry.


The only time that this simple jewelry soak won’t work for your silver plated jewelry or pure silver is if you’re working with tarnished silver.

How to Clean Silver Jewelry | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance

How to Keep Your Jewelry Cleaner, Longer

The best way to not even have to think about cleaning your jewelry and whether or not you’re doing it right? Just keep your jewelry as clean as possible for as long as possible. You can do this in a few ways. 

Remove Your Jewelry as Appropriate

Your jewelry box exists for a reason. Use it! Remove your jewelry at night and when you shower or do anything that might expose it to harsh chemicals, grime, dirt, sweat, or anything else that could dirty it. Don’t wear your jewelry when doing the dishes, gardening, hiking, working out, or swimming. 

Hate the thought of going jewelryless? Invest in cheap costume jewelry and wear it in situations and environments that aren’t ideal for your fine jewelry.


Wear Your Silver Jewelry More

But while you might think that keeping all your jewelry in your jewelry box as much as possible will keep it all looking good as new, that’s different with silver jewelry. The more you wear silver jewelry, the better it looks, as regular wear prevents tarnishing. So, as long as you’re not going to expose it to any potentially harmful chemicals, substances, or environments, wear your silver jewelry as much as you want. 

Keep Beauty Products Away From Your Jewelry

It’s easy to do it without thinking. Your hands are dry, so you reach for some lotion. You forget you’re wearing your engagement ring and accidentally smear a little lotion around the band. No problem — you’ll just wash your hands, right?

But accidents like these can cause build-up, discoloration, and other harm over time. If you don’t want to clean your jewelry and remove this build-up regularly, avoid allowing your jewelry to come into contact with any beauty products such as lotion, perfume, cosmetics, body washes and other soaps, and more.

Clean Your Pearl Jewelry Every Time

You may want to avoid cleaning your jewelry regularly, but one type of jewelry needs a quick clean every time you wear it: pearls. Since even your skin oils can negatively affect pearls over time, you’ll want to wipe them down with a soft cloth after every wear and before storing them in your jewelry box.


Jewelry Cleaning FAQs

What’s the best homemade cleaning solution for jewelry? 

The best, safest, gentlest, and simplest cleaning solution for jewelry is a mix of warm water and a few drops of dish soap. 

How often should I clean my jewelry?

Consider having your jewelry professionally cleaned once per year. At home, clean your jewelry whenever it’s starting to look slightly dull, or if you know it has been exposed to beauty products, chemicals, or other substances that could cause long-term damage. The only exception is pearl jewelry, which needs to be wiped with a soft cloth after every wear. 

Are homemade jewelry cleaners safe?

Not always. Don’t risk it by placing your jewelry into suspicious mixtures of household cleaning and pantry items like baking soda, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, glass cleaner, or vinegar.

Keep Your Jewelry Safe from More Than Just Sus Cleaning Methods

So you’ve resolved to keep your favorite jewelry far away from suspicious cleaning methods found online — but is your jewelry facing potential dangers in other areas of your life? 

How often have you taken off your jewelry in the kitchen and absentmindedly left it sitting within reach of a curious cat? How often have you traveled with your jewelry — where it’s easy to forget to lock your pieces in the hotel safe every time you leave your room? 

Luckily, in situations like these, BriteCo can keep you covered. We’ll have your back through theft, loss, and damage. Check out BriteCo’s comprehensive coverage options to learn more.

Also Check:

What to Do with Old Jewelry: 4 Creative DIY Ideas
How to Clean Ruby and Sapphire?
How long does permanent jewelry last?
What is Permanent Jewelry?
How to Clean Emerald Jewelry | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance

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Rachel's expertise is further enhanced by her distinction as a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA), equipping her with exceptional knowledge in gem identification and grading. 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.