5 Worst Ways to Clean Your Jewelry

How to clean jewelry

Over the years I've heard a lot of little tips and tricks to clean jewelry. A small number of them are good... Most end up putting an expensive piece at extreme risk for no reason. Today we will go over the five worst ways to clean your jewelry. If I heard it once or twice I wouldn't bother with a list, but I keep hearing the same really bad advice over again.

From jewelry getting faded and fractured to having it fall apart completely, these jewelry cleaning secrets are to be avoided without exception. You pay a good amount for your jewelry, don't throw away your investment by trying to save a few dollars on proper care and cleaning.


This list is in order of the least commonly heard advice for cleaning your jewelry to some of the most familiar. You've probably heard a couple of these yourself, but I'm here to tell you why these things are so damaging. Let's begin the list of the 5 worst ways to clean your jewelry.

worst ways to clean your jewelry washing machine

Washing Machine

Granted this one isn't as common, so it gets a lower position on the list but I have definitely heard it suggested before. The idea consists of sticking your jewelry into a garment bag and putting it on the delicate cycle. It gets clothes clean, so why wouldn't it work on jewelry? Well, let me tell you.

Gold is a soft metal. It's relatively easy to scratch or dent it, but even if your ring is made of titanium I'd never suggest shoving it into a huge metal drum to get tossed around for 20 or 30 minutes. If you pull it off without damaging the metal or chipping the gems you'll have just performed a miracle.

In addition to the physical assault, there is a chemical deluge that will fade any metal it comes into contact with. Laundry detergent is great for lifting blood and barbeque stains out of fabric, but it's a bit overkill where jewelry is concerned. It won't just lift away dirt or tarnish, it'll take off the outer layer of your jewelry. Nasty stuff.

worst ways to clean your jewelry metal teeth

Denture Tablets

Not as abrasive as the washing machine and capable of more delicate work like scrubbing away grime from a set of dentures, denture tablet seem like a great solution to clean your jewelry right? Well I won't argue that it's safer than tossing jewelry in the washer, but it still isn't very safe.

All those scrubbing bubbles contain foreign chemicals that present the same problems as laundry detergent, albeit to a lesser extent. With the tiniest crevices being breached you can bet a bundle that it will eat away and displace at any gem that has been set with glue.

When jewelry loses the jewel, what does it become? Trash most likely. Denture adhesives aren't going to fix this issue. A dab of heavy duty superglue might help, but it also contains some very caustic chemicals that less hardy gemstones will not enjoy at all.

worst ways to clean your jewelry vodka


Ideal for martinis, but not so great for cleaning your valuables. Keep it close at hand though, because if you end up using vodka to clean your jewelry you are going to need a stiff drink. Vodka contains many impurities, because a classification of vodka is based on what it isn't rather than what it is.

I'd rather get suggested rubbing alcohol than vodka. Both can destroy lesser metals such as copper and sensitive gems such as opals and pearls, but at least I can have that drink after I realize what I've done. Diamonds are too tough for vodka to damage, but I can't promise the same for the metal they're set in.

I've actually been told that I should boil the vodka in order to get the deepest clean. The statement left me speechless, but if I could speak to that person now for just one minute? I'd say something along the lines of "You're insane. That is a fantastic way to start a kitchen fire."

Maybe she was in it for the insurance money... Maybe she used all that insurance money to buy more jewelry and vodka to boil it in. It really makes you think, just not about anything pertinent. Alcohol near an open flame is a terrible idea, but speaking of dangerous combustibles...

worst ways to clean your jewelry gasoline


 I'm not sure if people fully realize consequences having actions. Gasoline is a bad way to clean jewelry for endless reasons. The woman who said that I should try cleaning my jewelry with gasoline was puffing away on a cigarette. My mind immediately saw her hand burst into flames.

Aside from the inherently flammable nature of gasoline, it is a solvent often used to strip away paint. Denture tablets will dissolve a glue setting, but gasoline will do it so much faster. I suppose that's good to know, just in case you are trying to destroy a large jewelry collection in a hurry. For most of us, that won't be the case.

Have you ever seen a streaky piece of jewelry that looks tarnished, except the tarnish will never be removed? That is what gasoline will do to all but the toughest metals. If you're thinking to yourself "People don't use gasoline to clean jewelry" the article I just linked will make you question everything you know.

worst ways to clean your jewelry poison ammonia


I've also heard of bleach, but wanted to avoid putting them together in the title lest some hapless reader unknowingly make a batch of mustard gas. Ammonia is probably the worst offender when it comes to cleaning your jewelry. Some people swear by a quick dip, but the results are very telling.

Long story short, it's impossible to remove all the ammonia from your jewelry. Metals will fade and corrode, gems will be worn away and possibly slip from their settings, and even seemingly sturdy gems like diamonds can become cloudy due to ammonia seeping into microscopic fractures.

Best Way to Clean Your Jewelry?

If you are looking to clean your jewelry properly and without risking damage, Simple Shine has you covered with our wide range of jewelry care products. Our all-purpose jewelry cleaning kit has all you need to keep your bits and baubles shining like the day you brought them home without any caustic chemicals.

You have successfully subscribed!
This email has been registered