Best Way To Clean Jewelry
Gold jewelry typically carries quite a bit of special significance for its owner. In many cases the jewelry may have been a gift from a special person, a family heirloom, or just a treat the person purchased for themselves. In these instances the jewelry will naturally have sentimental value. From a practical, monetary standpoint the gold jewelry is also valuable and the fact that it is made of gold often makes it feel like an even longer term investment. Whether the item carries sentimental value, monetary value, or most likely both, it is only natural that you will want to keep it looking its best. As such it will occasionally be necessary to clean your gold jewelry. This brief article will examine some things to consider when it comes to cleaning your gold jewelry and it will also look at some common cleaning methods. Proceed With Caution The strategies and methods discussed in this piece should not be taken as the final word on cleaning when it comes to your own particular piece. Jewelry varies and your item may require special care. If your jewelry is very old, very expensive, or fragile in general it is best to consult a professional jeweler in person so that he or she can make recommendations that are specific to your item. Remember that the goal of cleaning is to enhance your gold jewelry’s appearance and to protect it. As such always treat it with care and use the least harsh cleaning method possible. When it doubt about whether or not a particular cleaning method is safe for your jewelry it is almost always best to err on the side of caution. Professional Cleaning & Speciality Products If you do have special concerns about your jewelry, or if you would simply be more comfortable letting a professional do the job, then the good news is that this option is very widely available. Many jewelry shops will offer this service, and even if they do not, they can typically point you in the direction of a reputable cleaner. If you do take your jewelry in to be cleaned, make sure that you get comprehensive information about what will be done to it. Remember though that the exchange of information is a two-way street. That means that it is also very important for you to make the cleaner aware of any relevant history that the gold jewelry piece may have. For example if a gemstone is loose or has needed to be reset in the past, this is definitely something that the cleaner should be made aware of so that he or she can take extra care to avoid problems. Very often however, you may not want to go the route of having your jewelry professionally cleaned, but you may still want to use a professional product that is specially designed to get the job done. Thus, you might decide to clean your gold jewelry yourself at home using one of these specialty cleaning product. This is a great route to take with your jewelry cleaning needs and these products are often extremely effective and make the job much easier. However, make sure that you read the label on the product carefully. You need to be certain that the particular product that you have purchased or are considering purchasing is recommend for your type of jewelry. You also need to follow the cleaning directions very carefully and make sure to read all warning labels. Home Cleaning Methods If you have decided not to purchase a specialty gold cleaning product, and have also opted to forgo a professionally done cleaning, then your next choice will naturally be home cleaning with household products and items. It is tough to be the convenience and affordability of home cleaning with home products. The good news is that for many, if not most, gold jewelry pieces this is indeed a great option and is usually very effective. Let’s look at some of the most common home cleaning methods: Dish Detergent – Dish detergent mixed with warm water is actually a surprisingly effective method for most gold jewelry pieces and it is usually a great place to start. If your jewelry does not have any gemstones or anything else with a setting, then simply soak the jewelry in the warm, soapy water for about 15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. If your jewelry does have gemstones or anything else with a setting, then make sure that you do not submerge the item as mentioned above. Submerging could cause the gemstone to come loose, or it could result in water becoming trapped under or around the setting. Instead, use a soft, damp cloth with the soapy solution on the gold jewelry. After carefully wiping down your jewelry with the soapy cloth, next, dip a new, clean soft cloth into plain water and then repeat the process of carefully wiping down the jewelry. This will “rinse” away the soap solution and prevent it from building up on the jewelry. Remember not to scrub too hard to avoid scratching the jewelry. A Soft Bristle Toothbrush – If your gold jewelry has some hard to reach places or simply requires a slightly more precise cleaning method then you can also use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean it. This is typically a very safe and effect method; however it is important to remember that you need to use a soft bristle brush since a medium or hard bristled toothbrush could potentially scratch the jewelry. If you are not sure what type of bristles your toothbrush has then it is best not to risk. To begin cleaning with a soft bristle toothbrush, simply dip your toothbrush into the soap water or other cleaning solution that you have prepared and then scrub accordingly. Once again, remember to rinse thoroughly to prevent a potentially damaging or unsightly residue from building up, and again bear in mind that you mustn’t scrub too hard. Allow the jewelry to dry thoroughly. Ammonia – Ammonia is one of the most effective but also one of the most potentially risky home cleaning methods that you can use to clean your gold jewelry. An ammonia cleaning solution should consist of 6 parts water and 1 part ammonia. The ammonia solution is very powerful so you should not leave your jewelry soaking in it for longer than a minute to prevent damaging the item. You must also rinse very thoroughly and be certain that you have rinsed away all of the solution. Using ammonia, though effective, runs the risk of discoloring or damaging your gold jewelry over time. For this reason it is best to use this method very sparingly. This should be an occasional, heavy duty cleaning strategy, rather than your standby, routine cleaning method. It is also often very wise to consult an expert about your particular piece of jewelry before trying this method. Boiling Water – Another common and effective home cleaning method is to completely submerge the gold jewelry in boiling water. This should result in the grease and grime that was built up on the jewelry safely floating to the water’s surface. However, this method could result in loosening a gemstone or other setting so it is not advisable if this is a concern. Remember that safety is always key. It is very important to be careful not to burn yourself on the hot jewelry or with the boiling water. You must also take care to avoid letting the gold jewelry get scratched along the bottom or sides of the pot. A colander may help prevent these types of scratches and can also be used to more safely and easily remove the gold jewelry. Allow the jewelry to dry upside down so that all water drains away from any grooves or settings. Rubbing Alcohol – The final home cleaning method that we will look at is rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is a very effective way to remove residue and grime from the jewelry. It also offers the advantage of disinfecting the jewelry without the use of boiling water or harsher chemical. However, rubbing alcohol is not suitable for all types of jewelry. One particular concern with this method is that rubbing alcohol may dissolve or loosen the glue and adhesives that are used to bind gemstones to gold jewelry. That means that if your jewelry has such gemstones or other attached pieces, you should avoid using this technique. What To Avoid When Cleaning Your Gold Jewelry So far we have been focusing on cleaning strategies and what to do to safely perform them. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t add in a few cautionary words about potential mistakes that some people make when they are attempting to clean their gold jewelry. We know that you have the best of intentions, but doing any of the following things could lead to some major remorse down the line. Using A Non-Reputable Professional Cleaner – The unfortunate fact of life is that not all people are honest. Before you use a professional jewelry cleaning service it is very important to ensure that they are a reputable company who will either pay for any damage they do to your jewelry or at the very least carefully advise you about the particular risks before performing a cleaning. In addition to avoiding a cleaning service who might damage your jewelry, you must also be careful to avoid using a company that might outright rip you off. For example if your gold jewelry does contain valuable gemstones, you’ll need to know that you can rest easy in the knowledge that your cleaning company won’t remove the valuable gems, pocket them, and replace them with fakes. Using A Cleaning Product Not Recommend For Your Jewelry – We understand how tempting it is to see the amazing results that you get from a cleaning product that removes stains from your carpet, clothing, or other household surfaces and then feel inclined to use this item on your gold jewelry thinking you will get similar results. Don’t do it! Unless the cleaning product specifically states that it is safe for jewelry, and the type of jewelry that you have, you should not risk it. The product may be effective because it is extremely harsh, or highly specialized to the surface that it is meant to be used on. You could end up seriously damaging or discoloring your jewelry if you use such a product. Cleaning Too Often – At first glance the very phrase, ”cleaning too often” can seem like an oxymoron. Cleanliness is certainly good, and you want your jewelry to look its best. However, cleaning it too often greatly increases the risk it is exposed to. This is especially true with harsher cleaning treatments such as the ammonia method mentioned above, but remember, it only takes one accident to dislodge a gemstone or scratch the jewelry. By all means clean your jewelry when it needs, but don’t over do it. Careless Cleaning – Even if you only clean your jewelry when it needs it, with safe products or household items, that doesn’t mean that it is immune to damage. Throughout this article we have reminded you not to scrub the jewelry too hard, to rinse it thoroughly, and to allow it to dry properly; however, we want to reiterate these points one more time. Doing any of these things could potentially damage your special piece. Prevention Is Key There’s an old saying that goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is true in most cases and especially when it comes to your gold jewelry. The best way to have clean jewelry is to avoid getting it dirty in the first place. This means removing it whenever it might come into contact with dirt, grease, or chemicals of any kind. Hand lotion is often overlooked as a culprit, but it can definitely cause a buildup on your jewelry and the jewelry should be removed before any hand lotion is applied. You should also take off your jewelry before swimming or bathing because the chlorine in the water can also discolor the jewelry. When you are not wearing the jewelry make sure that you store it properly in a safe, clean place. Gold jewelry is one of the best luxuries that life has to offer. Make sure that you take care of this wonderful item and treat it with the respect and attention that it deserves. Always be certain that the cleaning method you are about to use will do your gold jewelry more good than harm. With proper care and cleaning your gold jewelry will look amazing and can easily last a lifetime – or even longer!