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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

Sparkling clean

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. Try these trusted everyday items, most of which you probably already have in the house.

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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. Check out these other great uses for aluminum foil.

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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 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. Once you’re done cleaning, place in a jewelry organizer so it doesn’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. These are other weird tricks that actually polish silver with ease.

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Beer BottlesJohn Peabody/Getty Images

Beer

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. 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.

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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 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.

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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 and dry it, and it’s ready to wear. Don’t miss the spring cleaning tasks you can finish in a minute or less.

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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

Here’s how to clean jewelry to make it shine like brand new: 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. Once you’ve cleaned it, try these simple tips for organizing your jewelry, too.

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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 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.

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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, check out these other simple housecleaning tricks you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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

Dish soap

Dish soap can clean a whole lot more than just dishware! 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 how to clean jewelry for silver and costume jewelry too, but you’re better off using a toothbrush or cloth to wipe down the 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. You don’t want to risk damaging pearls by soaking them, but this handy method will clean them easily! Mix a little bit of shampoo with warm water. To use this method most effectively, use a small brush like a makeup brush to polish each pearl with a bit of the mixture (make sure first that the brush is clean!). Stones like turquoise and opals will benefit from this treatment as well. Next, find out these other widespread cleaning tips that really do work.

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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