You reach for a favorite piece of jewelry and you feel your heart sink. The luster and shine have gone.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t wear it anymore. With some TLC you can restore the gleam in that necklace, bracelet, or other pieces of jewelry.
Here we will run you through what causes your jewelry to tarnish and how to fix it. So read on to discover how to get that old piece of jewelry to sparkle like it’s brand new.
- Why does jewelry to tarnish?
- How to clean tarnished jewelry
- Cleaning jewlery with lemon juice
- Removing tarnish with baking soda and foil
- Getting the tarnish off with toothpaste and a toohbrush
- Cleaning costume jewelry
- How to prevent your jewelry from tarnishing
There may be affiliate links in this article. You can read more about this in my disclosure.
Why does jewelry to tarnish?
When your jewelry comes into contact with other substances, it causes a reaction. These substances can be:
- oil from your body
- body lotions
- body creams
Also, the metal can react to the environment and become discolored. Some metals are more reactive than others.
Humidity and pollution affect the rate at which the metal oxidizes. Higher levels of these factors means your jewelry will tarnish faster.
This reaction to air is why jewelry that you haven’t worn for a while looks dull.
Yet, you can breathe new life into your pieces with some cleaning.
How to clean tarnished jewelry
The approach you take to cleaning your jewelry is determined by if it’s costume jewelry or not. Commercial jewelry cleanser will cause irreparable damage to costume jewelry if it isn’t coated in gold, silver or other metal alloys.
So use caution. We’ll delve further into how to clean this type of jewelry later.
With standard jewelry, there are several ways you can remove the tarnish. You don’t even have to go out and buy expensive cleaning products.
That’s because you may already have everything you need laying around in your kitchen or bathroom.
Cleaning jewlery with lemon juice
For this you need either a bowl or glass in which you can soak your jewelry. Mix one part of lemon juice to one part water.
Place your jewlery in the solution for 10 or 15 minutes. The citric acid of the lemon juice will eat away at the tarnish.
Rinse your jewlery and check to see if the shine has returned. If not, let it rest in the solution one more time.
Give your piece another wash and you should be good to go. Dry of the jewelry with a soft cloth.
Removing tarnish with baking soda and foil
For this method some people like to add salt. That’s entirely optional.
Find a pan or plate that is large enough to hold all your tarnished jewlery. Line the plate or pan with the aluminium foil (the shiny side needs to be facing up).
Add one tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water. For those who want to use salt as well, you need a tablespoon of salt.
Mix everything together until you get a nice smooth solution. Pour this over your jewlery.
You may notice your solution bubbling. That is a chemical reaction with the foil and is okay.
Leave your jewelry to bathe in the solution for 5 minutes.
When the time is up, rinse everything under cool water. Use a soft cloth to dry everything.
Getting the tarnish off with toothpaste and a toohbrush
With this method, test a discrete area of your jewlery first. You want to see how the metal reacts to the toothpaste.
Remember we said that substances can be the culprit of tarnishing your jewelry. If you’re happy that the toothpaste won’t harm your piece, then you can proceed.
Apply a small part of the toothpaste onto your toothbrush. Coat the jewelry with the paste and work it into all the cervices.
When you have thoroughly worked the toothpaste into your piece, rinse it off under cold water.
Check to ensure that all the toothpaste has been removed. Dry the jewlery with your cloth.
Cleaning costume jewelry
Cleaning costumer jewelry can require a different approach. As we mentioned, the way you take care of this type of jewelry depends on if it’s covered in a precious metal or not.
Let’s run you through the different methods.
Jewelry that doesn’t contain precious metals
You can use nail-polish remover to take caree of your costume jewelry. But use care when employing this method, you can end up damaging your piece.
Dip your jewelry in a small bowl containing the nail-polish remover. Leave your piece to rest in the bowl for no longer than 30 seconds.
Any longer than that and you run the risk of ruining your jewelry.
Rub down the piece with a soft cloth and then rinse it in warm water. Dry it with another cloth adn then buff it until it shines.
Jewelry that is plated with precious metals
A word of caution about the use of vinegar. It’s okay to use on costume jewelry that is plated with gold or silver.
Any other type of costume jewelry won’t take well to the vinegar. With that in mind, let’s carry on!
Mix the vinegar, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Stir everything until you have a paste.
Take a cloth and gently blot the paste so you have some on your cloth. Work the paste into the jewelry, ensuring you get into all the nooks and crannies.
For more stubborn stains, you can use a soft bristled brush to scrub at them.
Let your piece rest for a few minutes and then rinse off the paste. Dry the jewelry with a cloth.
How to prevent your jewelry from tarnishing
Now that you have your jewelry looking incredible again, there are ways in which you can minimize the chances of it becoming tarnished.
- Store your jewelry somewhere dry adn where there is little to no humidity.
- If you have your jewelry stored in the open, make sure that the ambient temperature is consistent.
- More delicate jewelry should be kept somewhere dark and dry.
Remember that the main causes of tarnishing are substances, fluids, air, humidity and pollution. Try and control these within your home.
After wearing your jewelry, give it a clean and dry it thoroughly. Then you will have jewelry that always looks incredible.
Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API