How to Clean Gold Jewelry the Right Way
by Andy Jones on Sep 18, 2023
Gold jewelry, with its timeless allure and enduring durability, has symbolized wealth and status for millennia. Whether it's pure 24-karat gold or an alloyed 14-karat piece, proper cleaning is essential to maintain its luster. In this guide, we'll explore how to clean gold jewelry effectively and keep it gleaming for years to come.
Understanding Gold Jewelry
Before diving into cleaning techniques, it's crucial to understand the composition of gold jewelry.
Gold jewelry can range from 24-karat pure gold, which is soft and prone to scratching, to lower karats like 14 and 10, where gold is mixed with alloys for added hardness and durability.
Many gold pieces feature gemstones, pearls, enamel, or other metals like silver, platinum, and copper. These embellishments require special care during cleaning.
How Often to Clean Gold Jewelry
The frequency of cleaning gold jewelry depends on how often it's worn. While gold doesn't tarnish like silver, frequent wear can lead to a loss of luster. Higher karat gold with more alloys can tarnish if exposed to certain chemicals.
- Frequently worn jewelry: Clean at least once a month or more if it starts looking dull.
- Higher karat gold: Be cautious with exposure to chlorine, alcohol, acids, and sulfur compounds.
Gather the necessary tools and materials for cleaning your gold jewelry:
- Soft-bristled brush
- Soft cotton cloth
- Small bowl
- Dish soap
- Warm water
Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide
Follow these steps to clean your gold jewelry effectively:
Step 1 - Prepare a Cleaning Solution
- Fill a small bowl with warm water.
- Add a few drops of dish soap and mix thoroughly.
Step 2 - Soak the Jewelry
- Place the gold jewelry in the soapy water.
- Let it soak for a minimum of 20 minutes to break down surface grease.
Step 3 - Gentle Scrubbing (if needed)
- For highly carved or heavily soiled jewelry, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub gently.
- Ensure the brush has soft bristles to avoid scratching.
Step 4 - Rinse and Dry
- After soaking, rinse the jewelry with plain water.
- Use a soft cotton cloth to buff it dry.
- Avoid using paper towels, which can scratch higher karat gold.
Tips to Keep Gold Jewelry Clean Longer
Preventative measures can extend the time between cleanings and maintain your gold jewelry's shine:
1. Remove Jewelry When Washing
Take off your gold jewelry when washing your hands or bathing to prevent soap scum buildup.
2. Avoid Harsh Chemicals
- Remove jewelry before entering hot tubs, swimming pools, or the beach.
- Chlorine, acids, sulfur, and salt can damage or discolor gold, especially pieces below 24 karats.
3. Protect from Cosmetics
- Shield gold jewelry from hair sprays, make-up, and medicated lotions.
4. Store Carefully
- Store gold jewelry separately in a fabric-lined jewelry box to prevent scratches and dulling.
5. Use Ammonia Sparingly
- While ammonia can be used for deep cleaning, be cautious, as it can wear down gold. It may not be suitable for other jewelry types like platinum or pearls.
When to Seek Professional Help
If your gold jewelry remains dull or discolored after cleaning, it's time to consult a professional jeweler. They can expertly restore your piece's original beauty. Many jewelry stores offer complimentary cleaning, and it's advisable to have your regularly worn items cleaned at least once a year.
Properly cleaning your gold jewelry is essential for maintaining its timeless beauty. With regular care and attention, your gold pieces will continue to gleam for decades to come. If you need professional assistance or advice on caring for your jewelry in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Nicholas Estate Buyers is here to help.