Tips for At Home Jewelry Maintenance | Stewart Kuper Jewelers

Tips for At Home Jewelry Maintenance

May 9, 2020
Helix House

Welcome back to another informative entry on the Stewart Kuper Jewelers blog. During this tumultuous time, we have found great success and peace of mind in bringing new life to old or tarnished pieces of jewelry. We would like to share with you how to clean jewelry at home. 

It is important to avoid any gemstones as you clean the metal, because some cleaning materials may cause blemishes or remove protective coatings, causing harm to the gemstone.

How to Clean Silver Jewelry 

One way to clean tarnished silver pieces and protect them from future imperfections is to clean them with a silver polish.

If you do not have silver polish at home, below are some ideas for alternative methods that might work, using common household items. Always use gloves and eye protection when cleaning jewelry.

Dish Soap

Mixing a few drops of dish soap with warm water will do the trick. Simply dip a soft cloth into the mixture and use it to rub the silver to remove any stains. You can use another soft cloth to dry the metal and buff out any remaining imperfections. 

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a powerful cleaning agent and can wipe away heavier surface stains. Mix three parts baking soda into one part water. Wet the silver piece before applying the paste with a soft cloth. Rub the paste into all of the crevices. Finish by rinsing with cold water and buffing the silver dry with a soft cloth. 

Rubbing Alcohol

For mild spots or residue, you can combine one part rubbing alcohol and four parts water in a bowl. Then dip a clean cloth into the mixture and rub it over the silver. Finally, wipe the piece dry with a clean cloth.


Toothpaste is often used as a mild abrasive to remove stains and it works well on silver. You will need white toothpaste — avoid gel products. Apply a small dab of the toothpaste to the silver and rub gently with your finger or a soft cloth. Rinse it with warm water and buffer it with a soft cloth. 

Aluminum Foil Mixtures

Putting aluminum foil and silver together creates a chemical reaction. The aluminum turns silver sulfide (the tarnish) back into silver. In the reaction, sulfur atoms are transferred from silver to aluminum, freeing the silver metal and forming aluminum sulfide.

We recommend using aluminum foil and not aluminum bowls or pans, as the tarnish will transfer to them.

To begin, line a skillet or pan with foil (shiny side upwards), and mix one cup vinegar with one quart of water. Bring the mixture to a boil before carefully placing the silver into the skillet. Let it soak for about 5 minutes before removing the skillet from the heat. Carefully take the silver out of the pan and rinse it with hot water before wiping it dry with a soft cloth. 

You can also try putting the silver in a pot lined with foil and lightly sprinkling baking soda over it. Then, pour boiling water directly onto the jewelry. Allow it to soak for 15 minutes before carefully pouring out the water. You can use a strainer to help catch the jewelry. 

How to Clean Gold Jewelry

Pure gold will not tarnish, however a majority of gold jewelry is an alloy. When cleaning gold, keep in mind it is a softer metal and prone to scratching, so be sure to take care with what materials you use to clean it. If you’re having trouble, we recommend taking it into a reputable jeweler that deals in silver.

Without any commercial products, you can clean your gold jewelry at home following these simple steps:

1. Mix a bit of Dawn dish detergent in warm water.

2. Add a few drops of ammonia

3. Carefully brush with a new and soft toothbrush.

4. Place in lukewarm water to rinse.

5. Air dry or carefully towel-dry with paper towel or regular cloth.

You should avoid using soap as it can cause a film to form over gold. Dawn Dish Soap is safe to use, however. You should also never introduce your gold to chlorine as it can permanently damage or discolor your jewelry. 

Cleaning Jewelry with Gemstones

Some gems, such as pearls, amber and coral, are porous and require special care, while others, like diamonds, can be cleaned with warm water and dish soap. To avoid damaging any stones, we recommend always taking the piece into a jeweler to have it professionally cleaned. 

We’re proud to work with our clients by appointment to ensure we deliver the finest service. Give us a call to schedule your appointment to purchase or sell jewelry.