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How to Clean Jewelry at Home: 14 Household Items That Work Miracles

You don't need fancy jewelry cleaner to get your silver to sparkle, your gold to gleam, and your gemstones to shine.

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Jeweller hand polishing and cleaning jewelry diamond ring with micro fiber fabricKwangmoozaa/Getty Images

How to make your jewelry shine

If you want to clean your bling but don’t want to shell out lots of money for a professional, fear not—there are lots of easy methods for how to clean jewelry right at home. You don’t have to save it for your most valuable cocktail rings or necklaces, either. Even the best affordable jewelry needs a cleaning every now and then, especially those delicate earrings that you never take off, even after they turn your skin green.

What is the best home remedy to clean jewelry?

These trusted everyday items are just as good as (if not better than) jewelry cleaner, and you probably already have most of them in the house. For the ultimate sparkle, you can use them in combination with jewelry cleaning products like the Diamond Dazzle Stik, a stone shining pen with thousands of five-star reviews on Amazon.

Alka-Seltzer

Drop your dull-looking jewelry in a glass of fizzing Alka-Seltzer for a couple of minutes. It will sparkle and shine when you pull it out. Try these 17 other cleaning tricks for hard-to-clean household objects.

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Cleaning gold and silver jewelry. Cleaning women jewelry concept.Stanislav Sablin/Getty Images

Aluminum foil

Here’s how to clean jewelry with aluminum foil: Simply line a small bowl with it. Fill the bowl with hot water and mix in one tablespoon of bleach-free powdered laundry detergent (not liquid), like Tide. Put the jewelry in the solution and let it soak for one minute. Rinse well and air-dry. This procedure makes use of the chemical process known as ion exchange, which can also be used to clean silverware. (By the way, putting aluminum foil in your dishwasher makes your dishes sparkle, too.)

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Selective focus of ammonia solution or ammonium hydroxide in glass amber bottle inside a chemistry laboratory with copy space.John Kevin/Getty Images

Ammonia

Brighten up your gold and silver trinkets by soaking them for ten minutes in a solution of 1/2 cup clear ammonia mixed with 1 cup warm water. Gently wipe clean with a soft cloth and let dry. Note: Do not do this with jewelry containing pearls, because it could dull or damage their delicate surface. Once you’re done cleaning, place your baubles in a jewelry organizer so they don’t get lost.

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baking sodaYelenaYemchuk/Getty Images

Baking soda

To remove built-up tarnish from your silver, make a thick paste with 1/4 cup baking soda and 2 tablespoons water. Apply with a damp sponge and gently rub, rinse, and buff dry. To polish gold jewelry, cover with a light coating of baking soda, pour a bit of vinegar over it, and rinse clean. Note: Do not use this technique with jewelry containing pearls or gemstones, as it could damage their finish or loosen any glue.

Have a lot of jewelry? These jewelry storage ideas can help you turn your collection into an eye-catching display.

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Beer BottlesJohn Peabody/Getty Images

Light-colored beer

Get the shine back in your solid gold rings (read: bands without any gemstones) and other jewelry by pouring a bit of light-colored beer (not dark ale!) onto a soft cloth and rubbing it gently over the piece. Use a clean second cloth or towel to dry. Learn these nearly forgotten house cleaning tips from the past.

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Polar SeltzerBoston Globe/Getty Images

Club soda

Soak your diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds in club soda to give them a bright sheen. Simply place them in a glass full of club soda and let them soak overnight. Here are more brilliant cleaning hacks from the internet.

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Close-up of a set of dentures in a glass of waterStockbyte/Getty Images

Denture tablets

Has your diamond ring lost its sparkle? Here’s how to clean jewelry using denture tablets: Drop the tablet into a glass along with 1 cup water. Follow that with your ring or diamond earrings. Let it sit for a few minutes. Remove your jewelry and rinse to reveal the old sparkle and shine.

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Tomato KetchupEducation Images/Getty Images

Ketchup

Let ketchup do the work of shining tarnished silver. If your ring, bracelet, or earring has a smooth surface, dunk it in a small bowl of ketchup for a few minutes. If it has a tooled or detailed surface, use an old toothbrush to work ketchup into the crevices. To avoid damaging the silver, don’t leave the ketchup on any longer than necessary. Rinse your jewelry clean, dry it, and it’s ready to wear.

Another delicate item you’re forgetting to clean? Your AirPods. (Don’t use ketchup on those, though.)

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Cleaning silver jewelery with toothpaste and toothbrushMarc Bruxelle/Getty Images

Toothpaste

Put a little toothpaste on an old toothbrush and use it to make your diamond ring sparkle instead of your teeth. Clean off the residue with a damp cloth. In addition to how to clean jewelry, here are some more great uses for toothpaste that don’t involve your teeth.

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Flavored vinegarPortland Press Herald/Getty Images

Vinegar

Is vinegar good for cleaning jewelry? Yes! Here’s how to clean jewelry with it: Soak your pure silver bracelets, rings, and other jewelry in a mixture of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse them under cold water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth. Did you know you can also use vinegar in your laundry?

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Alcohol Minimum Pricing To Be Introduce In WalesMatthew Horwood/Getty Images

Vodka

In a pinch, a few drops of vodka will clean any kind of glass or jewelry with crystalline gemstones. So although people might give you strange looks, you could dip a napkin into your vodka on the rocks to wipe away the grime on your eyeglasses or dunk your diamond ring for a few minutes to get it sparkling again. But don’t try this with contact lenses! Also, avoid getting alcohol on any gemstone that’s not a crystal. Only diamonds, emeralds, and the like will benefit from a vodka bath.

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Close-Up Of Hand Spraying Liquid On WindowChaichan Pramjit/EyeEm/Getty Images

Window cleaner

Use window cleaner to spruce up jewelry that is all metal or has crystalline gemstones such as diamonds or rubies. Spray on the cleaner, then use an old toothbrush for cleaning. But don’t do this if the piece has opaque stones such as opal or turquoise, or organic gems such as coral or pearl. The ammonia and detergents in the cleaner can discolor these porous lovelies. Now that you know how to clean jewelry, learn how to make your stainless steal appliances sparkle, too.

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View of Dawn dish soap liquid at Stop & Shop Supermarket.SOPA Images/Getty Images

Dish soap

Dish soap can do a whole lot more than just clean your kitchen! It’s great for regular jewelry cleaning. All you need to do is mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water and let the jewelry soak in the solution for a few minutes. You can use this method for silver jewelry too, but you’re better off using a toothbrush or cloth to wipe down that jewelry rather than fully submerging it. Don’t forget to rinse!

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Many shampoo and soap bottles on a bathroom shelf.enviromantic/Getty Images

Shampoo

A bit of mild shampoo—think baby shampoo—is a great way to polish your pearls. Stones like turquoise and opals will benefit from this treatment as well. To use this method most effectively, mix a little bit of shampoo with warm water and use a soft, clean brush like a makeup brush to polish each pearl with the mixture. You don’t want to risk damaging pearls by soaking them.

Next, learn how to keep the rest of your things clean by following this cleaning schedule.

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest