How to Clean Gold Jewellery?

Gold does not develop a dull tarnished finish over time like silver does, but gold can still easily accumulate dirt and grime with normal use.  Here are 5 methods to clean your gold jewellery.

Method #1- Cleaning Jewellery with Dish Soap

First, put a few drops of liquid dish detergent in a bowl of warmish water. Make sure the water is not hot; mix gently. Though ordinary tap water will work fine, for even better results, you can use sodium-free seltzer water or club soda because the carbonation in these liquids can help loosen accumulated dirt and debris. Don't use hot or boiling water, especially if your jewellery contains fragile precious stones. Some stones can crack if exposed to rapid and drastic temperature changes. Similarly, don't use freezing cold water because the grime will contract and get tougher. Secondly, soak the gold jewellery in the solution. Allow the jewellery to sit in the water for around 15-30 minutes. As it soaks, warm soapy water will work its way into the cracks and crevices, loosening hard-to-reach build-ups of dirt. Gently scrub the jewellery with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Scrub each piece of jewellery individually. Use a very soft brush - the softer the better- because stiff bristles can scratch the surface of your jewellery. However, if there is any crevice that is not cleaning up, take a Q-Tip and rub softly. Rinse each piece in warm running water. A good rinsing will help remove lingering dirt that's been loosened by the action of your brush. Make sure the water isn't hot. Don't let the water flow in a very powerful stream either. If you're rinsing your jewellery in a sink, plug or cover the drain so that you don't accidentally lose your jewellery if it slips out of your hands. Alternatively, rinse your jewellery in a pasta strainer or metal coffee filter. Lastly, to dry your freshly-cleaned jewellery, blot dry with a soft cloth. Then, let the jewellery sit out on a towel to air dry completely before wearing it again. If your jewellery is still wet, wearing it can trap moisture against your skin, leading to minor skin irritation.

Method #2- Cleaning Jewellery with Ammonia

Ammonia is a powerful cleaner, but, chemically, it can be somewhat caustic. Avoid using ammonia to clean gold jewellery too often to prevent wear on your jewellery - ammonia is a good candidate for occasional "deep cleans." Ammonia can damage certain materials often used in jewellery. Don't use ammonia when cleaning gold jewellery pieces that contain platinum or pearls. Add one part ammonia to six parts water. Stir gently to ensure an even mixture. Soak the jewellery in the mixture for no more than one minute. Don't let jewellery sit in the ammonia mixture for too long. To quickly remove all of the jewellery at once, use a kitchen strainer. Either fish the jewellery out with a hand-held strainer or upend the bowl into a larger strainer in the sink. Rinse the jewellery thoroughly under running water. Plug or cover the drain of the sink to avoid losing any jewellery that slips out of your hand. Gently dry the jewellery with a soft polishing cloth. Allow jewellery to air dry on a towel completely before wearing it.

Method #3- Cleaning Jewellery with Glued-In Gemstones

Know which types of jewellery should be kept dry. Pieces of jewellery with gemstones that are glued into their setting should not be submerged in water. Warm water can loosen the glue, which can cause your gemstones to fall out, especially when subjected to a thorough brushing. For these types of jewellery, use a special cleaning method that avoids total submersion in water. Wipe the jewellery with a wet, soapy cloth. Make a small quantity of dish soap solution like the one mentioned in Method One. Dip a soft, delicate paper towel in the solution and gently scrub your jewellery. Rinse the jewellery with a cloth with plain water. Gently dab a wet cloth onto the jewellery, soaking up any leftover soap. Lay or hang the pieces upside down after cleaning and have them dry in this way so that remaining moisture can drip out.

Method #4- Cleaning Jewellery with Toothpaste

Use this method with care because it may scratch gold and silver.  The chemicals in toothpaste may also leave a film on stones and gold. If in doubt, try one of the alternative, gentler methods instead. Mix a small quantity of toothpaste and water. Squeeze about an inch of toothpaste into a bowl and mix with a tablespoon or two of water to make a light paste. Toothpaste is good for loosening up grime that's accumulated without scratching the jewellery. You can use this method for frequently-worn gold items that need a quick clean or when you don't have access to other cleaning materials, such as during periods of travel. Scrub with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use the toothbrush and toothpaste to gently scrub off grime. The toothpaste can be applied to a cloth to hand polish an item as well. If you're seeing scratches on your jewellery, it's probably the toothbrush, not the toothpaste so use the softest brush possible. Alternatively, simply scrub with undiluted toothpaste but this can be harder to rinse out of small crevices in your jewellery. Rinse well in clean water after cleaning.

Method #5- Using Boiling Water

It is important to know when boiling is the appropriate method. Gold itself can be boiled with no problems. However, boiling delicate gemstones, like opals, pearls, coral, and moonstones, can cause them to crack or become damaged, specifically when the jewellery is cold before boiling. Boiling is also a bad idea for jewellery with glued-in gemstones, as it can loosen the glue. However, if you're looking to clean heavily-soiled jewellery made entirely out of gold or gold jewellery that contains "strong" gemstones like diamonds, boiling is a great choice. First, bring the water to a boil. Boil just enough water to submerge all of the jewellery in. As you're waiting for the water to boil, set your gold jewellery in a sturdy bowl or something that will not be damaged by boiling water. Metal cooking bowls or dishes will suffice. Arrange jewellery in the dish or bowl so that no piece of jewellery is covering up another piece so that water is able to reach every piece of jewellery. Carefully pour the water over your jewellery. Do not pour the water too quickly or let it splash, as boiling water can cause severe burns. When all of the jewellery is completely submerged, you've added enough water. Wait for the water to cool. When you can comfortably put your hands in the water, you can remove the jewellery. After the boiling, scrub each piece of jewellery with a soft brush, and then dry it by dabbing with a soft towel. Allow it to sit and air-dry completely.

Tags: cleaning, how to, gold, gold jewelry, gold pieces