Whichever type of jewellery you own, gentle cleaning and maintenance is necessary to keep its shine. Air and water oxidize metals and can make them dull. Keep them looking new with periodic cleaning and you will keep your jewellry looking good longer. Save money and the environment by making your own inexpensive jewellery cleaner using items from your pantry/laundry cupboard.
Some important things to remember before you start are
NEVER use vinegar with pearls, as the pearls will dissolve.
Here is a basic recipe for cleaning jewellery
* 1 tbsp dishwashing detergent
* 1 tbsp baking soda
* 1 tbsp household ammonia
* 3 cups warm water
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour into a glass jar and cover tightly. Label jar for future use and keep out of reach of children. To use, soak jewellry in the solution for 1-10 minutes (depending on how tarnished it is). Swish intricate pieces in the solution to get into the cracks/crevices. Use a toothbrush or a well-washed mascara brush for hard to reach places. Rinse and dry with a soft clean cloth. Don’t soak pearls in this solution. Rub them gently with a soft chamois cloth dampened in the solution. Do not combine this solution with chlorine bleach – hazardous fumes will result!
CLEANING GOLD JEWELLERY
Soapnuts can be used to clean gold jewellery or alternatively you can………
Pour cider vinegar in a shallow glass container. Place gold jewellry in the vinegar so that it is covered completely. Don’t overlap any different pieces or parts of chains. Let the jewellery sit in the vinegar for 15 minutes. Remove the jewellry and wipe clean with a soft, clean cloth. The gold should be completely clean.
CLEANING SILVER JEWELLERY
1. Line a glass bowl with aluminum foil, shiny side facing outward.
2. Place the jewellry you want to clean in the bowl making sure it’s touching the foil
3. Cover the jewellry with baking soda – just enough so that you can’t see it.
4. Add boiling water – enough to immerse the jewellry.
5. Let soak for 3 to 5 minutes ( or less if it’s not really dirty).
6. Use tongs or a fork to lift out the jewellry ( you don’t want to get burned) and rise under cold water. And voila ………. you have sparkling jewellery.
If the jewellry is very dirty or very tarnished – like silver or gold – then you may need to repeat the process so just add a little more baking soda and more boiling water – but make sure it’s boiling, that’s key. This method works great on sterling, silver, gold, costume jewellry metals, even Technibond Jewellery . But do be careful if you’re got a lot crystals glued into a setting and limit soaking to no more than 90 seconds – or you might melt the glue. Also, don’t immerse natural pearls in this solution - it’s too caustic. It is however, fine for most gemstones and works wonders on cubic zirconia And in case you’re wondering ….it also works fab for cleaning silverware, silver frames or any silver home decor. Although silver can be cleaned very easily with a bath of baking soda and water with a piece of aluminium as mentioned above if you don’t have aluminum on hand, you can use white distilled vinegar. Mix 2 tbsp. baking soda in 3.4 fluid oz. or almost 1/2 cup (100 ml) of vinegar. Soak silver items in the mixture for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water and dry the items with a soft, clean cloth. Repeat if necessary
CLEANING COPPER, PEWTER & OTHER METALS
Dissolve 2 tsp. of salt in a cup of white distilled vinegar. Place a few tablespoons of flour (any kind) into a shallow container. Add some of the vinegar mixture to the flour until it forms a paste. Spread a thick layer of the paste on the metal that needs to be cleaned. Let stand for 15 minutes. Scrub clean with a soft, clean cloth.
CLEANING PLATINUM JEWELLERY
A recommended natural way to clean platinum is to make a mixture of half ammonia and half water. Let the platinum soak in the mixture and then polish with a soft cloth. Be careful if the jewellry contains gemstones other than diamonds. The mixture may discolor or harm gemstones other than diamonds.
By Nellie Lee Luhrmann