Many of us wear our jewelry every day, so it makes sense that over time our favorite jewels lose their shine, become coated with everyday dirt and soap residue, and therefore need cleaning once in a while.
This is particularly the case with lighter precious metals, such as white gold. The good news is you can restore them back to their original sparkle from the comfort of your own home, and this article shows you how to do just that.
- Keeping White Gold Clean
- A DIY White Gold Cleaning Method
- Other Ways to Clean White Gold
- What is White Gold Made From?
- Maintaining Your White Gold
- Regular Cleaning
- Refreshing the Rhodium Coating
- Storing Your Jewelry When Not in Use
- Leisure Activities
- Chemical Exposure
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Keeping White Gold Clean
Before you begin:
If applicable, inspect your jewelry for loose stones or broken clasps. Loose stones or broken pieces need to be dealt with before you submerge the jewelry in water, otherwise you might lose a vital piece of your jewelry.
If you notice loose or wiggling pieces, take your jewelry to a professional to have the piece repaired before you clean your item. Use a jewelry gift box or a resealable plastic bag to transport it so that nothing gets lost along the way.
Some jewelry stores may offer a free cleaning service with jewelry repairs, so be sure to ask and potentially save yourself a job!
A DIY White Gold Cleaning Method
What You’ll Need:
- Liquid/dish soap
- A bowl of warm water
- A toothbrush
- A clean cloth/microfiber towel
- Baking soda
- A separate bowl
Always perform this process into a small bowl and not the sink in case a jewel comes loose.
Soak the white gold in a mixture of liquid soap and warm water and mix the contents. Gently place your white gold into the warm water and let it soak for 10–15 minutes to help loosen any build-up.
Never use hot water. Set a timer to remind you to take out the jewelry, as leaving it too long could cause damage to particularly delicate pieces.
While you’re waiting, form a paste by mixing baking soda and a little water together. Apply a little paste, and gently scrub the white gold using the toothbrush.
You can buy jewelry cleaning brushes at most jewelry stores, but a soft toothbrush will work if you don’t have a jewelry brush handy.
White gold is a soft metal, so be careful not to scrub too hard, or you’ll risk damaging the rhodium plating. If your jewelry has diamonds or other crystals embedded in it, you’ll want to be mindful of not allowing the bristles to loosen them.
Thoroughly rinse your white gold under warm water. If any cleaner residue is left to dry, it can dull the appearance of the white gold and attract more dirt, so the rinsing process is really important.
Also be mindful not to lose your item down the drain, so either plug the sinkhole or perform this part in a colander or strainer.
Gently dry your white gold with a soft clean cloth.
Other Ways to Clean White Gold
Most jewelry stores or jewelry counters in department stores will offer a jewelry cleaning process for a fee, so if you’d like a professional job done, or the above method hasn’t made your item shine like it used to, using a professional jewelry-cleaning service is your other option for cleaning white gold.
What is White Gold Made From?
White gold was originally developed to imitate platinum (a naturally white metal). White gold is usually an alloy containing about 75% gold and about 25% nickel and zinc.
If stamped 18 karat, it would be 75% pure gold.
Maintaining Your White Gold
If you wear a certain piece of white gold regularly or every day (such as a wedding band or engagement ring), it is wise to clean your white gold once a month to keep it in good condition.
Regular cleanings will keep your jewelry shining, so get into a habit of setting aside half an hour every month to tend to your white gold.
Be mindful, however, that excessive or aggressive cleaning can wear down the rhodium plating more quickly, so make sure to avoid abrasive cleaning products.
Refreshing the Rhodium Coating
Have a jeweler re-plate your white gold in rhodium if you start to notice it’s turning yellow. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon for white gold, as overtime, the rhodium will wear away, due to its sensitivity.
No amount of cleaning will prevent this, so you’ll need to visit a reputable jeweler and pay for a refresh of the rhodium coating.
Storing Your Jewelry When Not in Use
If your white gold article is something you only wear occasionally, storing it safely will protect it from any damage. Because white gold is a soft metal, keeping it bundled together with other kinds of jewelry may cause scratches.
If you keep it in a jewelry box, dedicate one section to white gold, or you could even wrap each piece in a small microfiber cloth for extra protection. Conversely, keeping it in its original box will keep it safe from any damage.
Keep white gold away from high heat. Don’t store it near a heating vent or radiator, and do not wash it in hot water, as this may cause warping.
Take off your white gold jewelry if you go swimming in chlorinated pools. Chlorine is corrosive to certain metals and will erode away at the rhodium plating.
If you’re out at a public pool, store your jewelry somewhere safe where it cannot get scratched, damaged – or stolen.
You should also consider taking off any white gold pieces when you shower or bathe. Soap residue and other bath products, as well as hard water, can build up on white gold pieces over time.
Chemicals and white gold are not friends. So, it is wise to wear gloves when using abrasive cleaning products during housework.
In addition to rhodium plating erosion, chemicals can get behind mountings and cause them to deteriorate, which could loosen any stones overtime, and will make your piece more fragile.
If you don’t want to wear gloves while cleaning, just remember to take off your white gold rings off and put them somewhere safe before cleaning.
So, the great news is if you own any white gold – particularly jewelry – you can keep it looking clean and shiny without necessarily having to shell out for an expensive professional cleaning job; you can do it from the comfort of your own home with items you’ll find in your kitchen.
Cleaning white gold on a regular basis is important for maintaining its shine, however, because it is such a soft gold, it needs to be done with the utmost tenderness.
Over time, the rhodium coating on white gold jewelry may begin to turn yellow. The only way to rectify this is to take it to a reputable jeweler to have the coating refreshed.
They may also provide a jewelry cleaning service too, so if you don’t feel like cleaning your piece at home, you can kill two birds with one stone!
Because white gold is generally more sensitive than other precious metals, it needs a little more TLC.
This includes storing it safely when not in use and avoiding chemical exposure during housework or when you go swimming.
Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API