How to Clean Gold Jewelry
Gold jewelry has always been a favorite form of investment in every household. Since historical times, women seemed to be fond of all kinds of jewelry items, especially gold jewelry. But in recent times, even men seem to have taken a fancy for it. However, jewelry requires proper maintenance to keep it shining in the long run. This guide will showcase different ways to clean gold jewelry by using simple, widely available cleaning products.
What Causes Gold Jewelry to Lose Lustre?
It is always essential to know the reason for any damage before we start mending it. Gold jewelry can look dirty or tarnished because of numerous causes. However, the most fundamental reason would be frequent usage. New items of gold jewelry look glittery and shiny but become dull with prolonged usage. That is not the only reason for dullness; chemicals, dirt, and even perfumes and moisturizers could affect its natural shine. However, gold does not get tarnished on its own as it is an inert substance. So, the alloy metal mixed with gold could also be a reason for the discoloration of gold.
Using the Right Polishing Cloth
A gold polishing cloth is considered one of the most suitable ways of cleaning the ornament. The cloth should be of high-quality cotton infused with an anti-tarnish agent and jewelry cleaner. These compounds in the cloth act as a powerful weapon in cleaning the gold jewelry. First, the jewelry should be cleaned with a soft microfibre cloth of light color. Sometimes, this cloth is available along with the polishing cloth. Then, the polishing cloth should be used gently over the jewelry. Make sure that the side with the polishing compounds in the cloth is used during this process. Finally, the jewelry should be buffed, and for this purpose, the buffing side of the cloth can be used. The polishing cloth should definitely be used on gold jewelry with gemstones or crystals. Gold watches can also be cleaned and polished this way.
Different Methods of Cleaning Gold Jewelry
Soap and Water Method
Cleaning gold jewelry with soap and water is the primary and the most efficient remedy. First, pour some lukewarm water in a bowl and a bit of liquid dish soap mixed with it. Then, place the gold jewelry in the solution and immerse it for half an hour. The warm and soapy texture of the water starts working on the gold, especially in the nooks and corners that are pretty difficult to clean. After the initial step is done, it must be scrubbed off gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Each jewelry item should be scrubbed separately and with much care.
It should be noted that only a soft bristle should be used as the stiff bristle could spoil the ornament. However, if any corners in the ornament need extra care, then a Q-Tip can be used. After the soft scrubbing, it can be rinsed in warm water to dust off the last shreds of dirt stuck in it. The final step would be drying it out on a soft cloth or towel before wearing it. Normal tap water would suffice for this purpose of cleaning. But for a more significant result, sodium-free seltzer water or club soda can be used in place of tap water.
Baking Soda Method
Baking soda is considered an environment-friendly cleaning agent for restoring the shine of gold jewelry. Baking soda can be used in three different ways.
The first and foremost method is using baking soda and vinegar. Three parts of baking soda should be taken and mixed with one part of water and brought to a toothpaste-like consistency. Then, it should be gently applied to the jewelry with a swab or a sponge. After which, the piece of jewelry should be immersed in distilled white vinegar for five minutes. Finally, it must be rinsed with warm water thoroughly until the solution is removed and then dried off with a soft cloth.
The second method features two main ingredients which are baking soda and dish soap. To begin with, take one cup of warm water, and one teaspoon of baking soda and dish soap each. They should be mixed until the baking soda dissolves. Then, the jewelry should be thoroughly soaked in it for about half an hour. It can then be scrubbed gently with a toothbrush. However, it would be better to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Finally, the gold must be rinsed in warm running water and dried completely with a soft cloth or towel.
The third method uses baking soda and boiling water. Start by taking a glass bowl layered with aluminum foil. The gold jewelry should be placed on it. Add a small amount of baking soda and slowly top it with two cups of boiling water. The jewelry should be soaked for five minutes, after which it can be rinsed and dried off with a soft cloth.
One of the most vital cleaning agents of gold jewelry is ammonia. However, the stronger it is, the more caustic impact it has. Ammonia has the ability to damage solid materials like pearl and platinum, so it is better to avoid this method for this type of jewelry. Ammonia can be used only occasionally, whenever there is a need for a deep clean.
One part of ammonia should be mixed evenly with six parts of water. Then, the jewelry should be immersed in it for exactly a minute. Ensure that the jewelry does not stay in the mixture for longer than a minute as it can cause slight damage. A kitchen strainer can be used to carefully remove all the jewelry at a quick pace in a single go. Then, the jewelry should be rinsed very carefully with running water. In the end, the jewelry can be dried with a polishing cloth.
If the gold jewelry is at a stage where it needs an intense cleaning, then it is best to approach a local jeweler to shine it up. It is best to seek their help as they have professional tools and are careful enough to preserve the jewelry. They use ultrasonic sound-waves and chemical cleaning solutions to remove the minutest dirt particles. Then, through wheel spinning, they polish the jewelry, which is done to remove the scratches. Finally, it goes for a steam cleaning, resulting in a spectacularly cleaned piece of jewelry, back in its original form.
How to Clean Gemstones
Gemstones are pretty delicately placed into the gold jewelry items, so they need extra care. Regular soap water cleaning is the best method; however, the jewelry should not be soaked in any chemical solution, as it would trap it between the gemstones causing them to rust or discolor.
How Not to Clean Gold Jewelry
Certain myths are followed by many people while cleaning their gold jewelry. However, it is to be noted that these myths cannot be blindly followed with a delicate ornament made of gold. Some of the methods one should be cautious of are detailed below.
Cleaning the gold jewelry with toothpaste is one of the most commonly approached methods. However, this method should not be followed as it could cause quite a lot of damage to the metal. The toothpaste has 3-4 Mohs of hardness in the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it an unfit cleaning agent for gold jewelry. Moreover, this method is highly corrosive for gemstones, diamonds, opal and pearl as well.
It is always safer to use lukewarm water to clean jewelry. Boiling water can be used as an optional method to clean an ornament entirely made of gold. But one should be cautious as the extreme heat could expand the metal. However, this method should be avoided if the gold jewelry has any precious gemstones like emeralds, garnet, opal, peridot, tanzanite, or tourmaline as it could damage the gemstones and make them fall off.
It is pretty harmful to the jewelry to be rinsed and cleaned using alcohol. The gemstones attached to the gold jewelry could be greatly damaged because of this method. There are chances of the gemstones being cracked or fractured because of the thermal shock.
Chlorine is one of the most harmful agents for cleaning gold, so it is not used as a cleaning agent. However, there are chances that the gold jewelry items get in contact with chlorine while cleaning the bathroom or swimming in the pool. The repetitive contact with the chlorine water can break the alloy of gold, causing significant damage to the jewelry. Therefore, it is better to remove the jewelry before performing any of these tasks.
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