How to Clean Jewelry at Home: 12 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. Try these trusted everyday items, most of which you probably already have in the house.

Alka-Seltzer

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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. Here are other surprising ways to clean with Alka-Seltzer.

Aluminum foil

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To clean your jewelry, simply line a small bowl with aluminum foil. 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. Here are more mind-blowing uses for aluminum foil.

Ammonia

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Brighten up your gold and silver trinkets by soaking them for 10 minutes in a solution of 1/2 cup clear ammonia mixed in 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. Here's how you can use ammonia around your house and garden.

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Baking soda

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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 gem-stones, as it could damage their finish or loosen any glue. Here are 17 different ways to fix things with baking soda.

Beer

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Get the shine back in your solid gold (i.e., minus any gemstones) rings and other jewelry by pouring a bit of beer (not dark ale!) onto a soft cloth and rubbing it gently over the piece. Use a clean second cloth or towel to dry.

Club soda

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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 problem-solving uses for club soda.

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Denture tablets

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Has your diamond ring lost its sparkle? Drop a denture tablet into a glass containing a cup of 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. Check out these unbelievably handy uses for denture tablets.

Ketchup

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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. Did you know you could clean these with ketchup?

Toothpaste

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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.

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Vinegar

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Make your silverware—as well as your pure silver bracelets, rings, and other jewelry—shine like new by soaking them 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. There about a million ways to use vinegar around your house.

Vodka

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In a pinch, a few drops of vodka will clean any kind of glass or jewelry with crystalline gemstones. So although people might look at you askance, 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. Here are more brilliant things you can do with vodka (besides drink it).

 

Window cleaner

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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.


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