How to Clean Gold Jewelry

Five Methods:Cleaning Jewelry with Dish SoapCleaning Jewelry with AmmoniaCleaning Jewelry with Glued-In GemstonesCleaning Jewelry with ToothpasteUsing Boiling Water

Unlike silver, gold doesn't develop a dull tarnished finish over time. However, gold can still easily accumulate dirt and grime with normal use. To restore the shine to your precious rings, bracelets, necklaces and other gold jewelry, you'll only need a few household tools and ingredients. Just follow the steps below!

Method 1
Cleaning Jewelry with Dish Soap

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    Put a few drops of liquid dish detergent in a bowl of warm (not hot) water. Mix gently. Though ordinary tap water will work fine, for even better results, you can use sodium-free seltzer water or club soda. The carbonation in these liquids can help loosen accumulated dirt and debris.
    • Don't use hot or boiling water, especially if your jewelry contains fragile precious stones. Some precious stones, like opals, can crack if subjected to rapid and drastic temperature changes.[1]
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    Soak the gold jewelry in the solution. Allow the jewelry to sit in the water for about 15 minutes. As it soaks, warm soapy water will work its way into the cracks and crevices, loosening hard-to-reach buildups of dirt.[2]
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    Gently scrub the jewelry with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Scrub each piece of jewelry individually, paying special attention to nooks and crannies where dirt may be hidden. Use a very soft brush - the softer the better. Stiff bristles can scratch the surface of your jewelry. If your jewelry is gold-plated (as opposed to solid gold), especially stiff bristles can even remove the gold layer entirely!
    • Special brushes designed for this purpose are best, but most small, soft brushes (like, for instance, eyebrow brushes) will also work.
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    Rinse each piece in warm running water. A good rinsing will help remove lingering dirt that's been loosened by the action of your brush. Again, make sure the water isn't hot , especially if your jewelry contains fragile stones.
    • If you're rinsing your jewelry in a sink, plug or cover the drain so that you don't accidentally lose your jewelry if it slips out of your hands. Alternatively, rinse your jewelry in a pasta strainer or metal coffee filter.
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    Blot dry with a soft cloth. Then, let the jewelry sit out on a towel to air dry completely before wearing it again. If your jewelry is still wet, wearing it can trap moisture against your skin, leading to minor skin irritation.

Method 2
Cleaning Jewelry with Ammonia

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    Know when to clean with ammonia. Ammonia is a powerful cleaner, but, chemically, it can be somewhat caustic. Avoid doing using ammonia to clean gold jewelry too often to prevent wear on your jewelry - ammonia is a good candidate for occasional (but not frequent) "deep cleans."
    • Ammonia can damage certain materials often used in jewelry. Don't use ammonia when cleaning gold jewelry pieces that contain platinum or pearls.
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    Add one part ammonia to six parts water. Stir gently to ensure an even mixture.
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    Soak the jewelry in the mixture for no more than one minute. Don't let jewelry sit in the ammonia mixture for too long - as a strong base, ammonia can be slightly corrosive.
    • To quickly remove all of the jewelry at once, use a kitchen strainer like you might use when cooking pasta. Either fish the jewelry out with a hand-held strainer or upend the bowl into a larger strainer in the sink.
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    Rinse the jewelry thoroughly under running water. Plug or cover the drain of the sink to prevent losing any precious jewelry that slips out of your hand. Alternatively, simply use the strainer you used to get your jewelry out of the ammonia.
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    Gently dry the jewelry with a soft polishing cloth. Allow jewelry to air dry on a towel completely before wearing it.

Method 3
Cleaning Jewelry with Glued-In Gemstones

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    Know which types of jewelry should be kept dry. Pieces of jewelry with gemstones that are glued into their setting (like many earrings) should not be submerged in water. Warm water can loosen the glue, which can cause your gemstones to fall out, especially when subjected to a thorough brushing. For these types of jewelry, use a special cleaning method that avoids total submersion in water.
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    Wipe the jewelry with a wet, soapy cloth. Make a small quantity of dish soap solution as in Method One. Dip a soft, delicate towel in the solution and gently scrub your jewelry.
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    "Rinse" the jewelry with a cloth dampened with plain water. Gently dab a wet cloth onto the jewelry, taking care to soak up any leftover soap suds.
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    Lay or hang the pieces upside down after cleaning. Allow your jewelry to dry in this way. By letting your jewelry dry upside down, you allow any remaining moisture to drip out, ensuring it won't soak into the setting.

Method 4
Cleaning Jewelry with Toothpaste

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    Use this method with care. It may scratch gold and silver. Also the chemicals that clean your teeth may leave a film on stones and gold. If in doubt, try one of the alternative, gentler methods instead.
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    Mix a small quantity of toothpaste and water. Squeeze about an inch of toothpaste into a bowl (or your palm!) and mix with a tablespoon or two of water to make a light paste. As a mild abrasive, toothpaste is good for loosening up grime that's accumulated on your favorite pieces of gold jewelry without scratching the jewelry.
    • You can use this method for frequently-worn gold items that need a quick clean or when you don't have access to other cleaning materials (like when you're traveling.)
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    Scrub with a (soft-bristled) toothbrush. Use an old, soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste to gently scrub off grime. The toothpaste can be applied to a cloth to hand polish an item as well. If you're seeing scratches on your jewelry, it's probably the toothbrush, not the toothpaste - use as soft of brush as possible.
    • Alternatively, simply scrub with undiluted toothpaste. This, however, can be harder to rinse out of small crevices in your jewelry.
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    Rinse generously in clean water. Just like when you rinse after brushing your teeth, you should rinse your jewelry to remove any loosened dirt or grime!

Method 5
Using Boiling Water

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    Know when boiling is appropriate. Gold itself can be boiled with no problems. However, boiling delicate gemstones (like opals, pearls, coral, and moonstones) can cause them to crack or become damaged - especially if the jewelry is cold before boiling. Boiling is also a bad idea for jewelry with glued-in gemstones, as it can loosen the glue. However, if you're looking to clean heavily-soiled jewelry made entirely out of gold or gold jewelry that contains "strong" gemstones (like diamonds), boiling is a great choice.
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    Bring water to a boil. You don't need to boil much water - just enough to submerge all of the jewelry in. As you're waiting for the water to boil, set your gold jewelry in a sturdy bowl or another vessel that won't be damaged by boiling water. Pyrex or metal cooking bowls/dishes are good choices.
    • Arrange jewelry in the dish or bowl so that no piece of jewelry is covering up another piece - water should be able to reach every piece of jewelry.
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    Carefully pour the water over your jewelry. Be very careful not to spill or splash by pouring too rapidly - boiling water can cause serious burns. When all of the jewelry is completely submerged, you've added enough water.
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    Wait for the water to cool. When you can comfortably put your hands in the water, you can remove the jewelry. Follow a good boiling by scrubbing each piece of jewelry with a soft brush, then dabbing it dry with a soft towel and allowing it to sit and air-dry completely.
    • Don't be afraid if the water appears dirty - this is good! As boiling water loosens the dirt, wax, grime, etc. that's built up on your jewelry, it may float to the surface of the water. The dirtier your water looks, the more dirt you've removed from your jewelry!


  • Store your gold jewelry in a way that avoids scratches. Each piece of jewelry should be stored in its own cloth bag.
  • You can remove stubborn grease from gold jewelry by dipping it into alcohol (unless the gemstones are glued in).[3]
  • Remember that you can always take your jewelry to a professional.


  • Don't use bleach...In fact, don't expose the jewelry to any kind of chlorine, as it can permanently discolor it.
  • Opal stones are very delicate. Never use chemicals, abrasives, toothpaste or ultrasonic cleaners, instead gently wipe with facial tissue or piece of silk.
  • If you have a gold ring with a diamond or any kind of gemstone, make sure that its prongs are not damaged and the stone is safe from falling out.

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