Quick & Easy tips: How to Clean and Keep your Jewelry Looking Fresh and New

Quick & Easy tips: How to Keep Your Jewelry Looking Fresh and New

Whether you have mostly fine jewelry or an assortment of fashion costume pieces, taking good care of your jewelry can help you get the most out of your collection. Knowing how to properly care for them is essential and treating them  like the treasures they are will surely extend their life for years to come. 
From proper storage to cleaning, here are some quick & easy tips to keep your jewelry looking fresh and new! 
jewelry care infographic by Peacock and Lime
  • Most jewelry does not like to get wet. Moisture will cause it to age or fade before its time. Your pieces will keep their luster (or color) and remain strong and beautiful if kept as dry as possible.
  • Best to remove jewelry when doing tasks such as gardening, cleaning, household or mechanical repairs, or strenuous activities such as working out - to not expose them to excess dirt, oils and moisture.
  • Avoid direct contact with hairspray, perfumes, cosmetics and lotions. These can contain chemicals that may affect your jewelry.
  • Remove jewelry before going to bed. This avoids tangling and inadvertent breakage.
  • To slow down & help prevent tarnishing, keep sterling silver items in a small ziplock bag (removing as much air as possible) when not being worn. Store pieces separately to prevent scratching.
  • Best to remove jewelry before showering, swimming, saunas & hot tubs. Salt water, chlorine in pools, soap, perfumed body washes, personal products and perspiration can take their toll on jewelry. 

Be gentle with your jewels.

Frequent cleaning is recommended to maintain your jewelry’s true beauty.

  • Wipe your jewelry carefully with a soft cloth to keep it clean and polished.
  • Use caution when applying any jewelry cleaner as many should not be used on porous stones such as opals or pearls. * more on this below.
If tarnish does appear opt for one of these simple solutions to clean, and remember to allow pieces to dry completely before wearing.

Sterling Silver

  • Just keep wearing it!: Constant wear helps spread your skin’s natural oils which limits oxidation and reactions with sulfur particles in the air (the  cause of tarnish) and will help to keep your silver jewelry shiny. It's one of the easiest ways to prevent tarnish! If you must store it, seal in a small ziplock type bag with an anti tarnish cloth when not being worn.
  • Mild soap and water: The most recommended method because of the gentleness of soap (like Dove dishwashing soap) and water. This should be among your first line of defenses before trying anything else. For larger build ups of tarnish, leave to soak overnight.
  • Baking soda, aluminum foil and water: The best way to clean pieces with tarnish where a polishing cloth can’t reach, is using a small bowl lined with a piece of aluminum foil. Add hot water, a tablespoon of baking soda and stir. Place jewelry in the solution checking every few minutes until clean, rinse, and let air dry.
  • Baking soda and water: Alternately, make a paste from baking soda and water, apply a small amount onto a clean cloth or toothbrush and gently scrub piece. Rinse thoroughly and allow pieces to dry completely before wearing.
  • White vinegar and baking soda: This gentle cleaning method is great for removing heavy tarnish. Soak your sterling silver in ½ cup of white vinegar and 2 tbsp of baking soda (combine these in a bowl in the sink as it will fizz and foam and spill out). Check every few minutes (depending on how much tarnish, this could take up to an hour or more), rinse jewelry and pat dry.

* Note: There are many suggestions online to use toothpaste - it is recommended that you DO NOT do this, and use the baking soda and water method instead (unless you are certain that your toothpaste is a non-whitening, non-gel based paste, as these include many other active ingredients that may damage your silver or stones).

Gold-plated and 14K gold-filled

  • Cotton ball or soft cloth: Generally, gold-plated and gold-filled jewelry should only require a gentle surface cleaning. Using a cotton ball or soft cloth, lightly rub the piece (be sure to not press hard when polishing as it may damage the surface). This should remove any surface dirt or perspiration and restore luster. Wiping down your jewelry after every use will keep it in the best condition for as long as possible.
  • Mild soap and water: Just as with silver, this is one of the best methods for cleaning. Combine gentle dishwashing liquid with warm water, very gently scrub using a soft toothbrush, rinse well and carefully pat dry - making sure that your jewelry is completely dry before storing.
  • Store wrapped in cleaning cloth: When not wearing, store gold-plated jewelry wrapped in the cloth you use to clean it, or in a small bag, separately from other pieces to avoid scratches. Not only will you protect your piece, but also have easy access to the cloth when looking to clean.


Many brass pieces are sealed to avoid tarnish and discolouration, and some brass jewelry is intended to have an oxidized, darker look. Be sure that the piece you are about to clean is intended to be bright and shiny, before proceeding. If your brass is not sealed, it may still tarnish from oxidation, in which case, using one of these methods will bring back that brassy shine.
  • Ketchup: The easiest method of cleaning tarnish and spots off of natural unsealed brass pieces. This also takes a bit of the yellow brassiness out and leaves a lovely more muted brass shine. Using a small amount of ketchup between your fingers, gently rub piece and rinse thoroughly. Pat or allow to air dry completely.
  • Soft cloth: For light touches, a soft cloth can be used to buff it out and restore it’s shine.
* Note: Be sure to avoid any substances containing alcohol or acetone, as they can ruin the finish of your jewelry. Avoid storing in humid environments which will shorten the lifespan of your piece.


    Copper jewelry WILL oxidize and change colors over time. Some pieces are sealed, which will slow the process, but others are not - as some people feel that there are medicinal benefits to having copper touch their skin. Choose what is best for you and your body, knowing that occasionally, copper jewelry will turn some skin green. This is a natural occurence and not harmful, washing off easily with soap and water.


      * A note about Commercial Silver or Gold Cleaners:

      Always be sure to read the label, and if in doubt, do not use a chemical cleaner. These can be very abrasive. Some gemstones are too soft & porous and cannot be placed in commercial cleaners without adverse effects. These stones include; opals, coral, lapis lazuli, malachite, pearls and turquoise among others.

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