Are you tired of your favorite necklace losing its shine and luster?

Do you find yourself constantly replacing your jewelry due to discoloration or damage?

If so, you’re not alone. Many people overlook the importance of proper jewelry care, especially when it comes to cleaning necklaces. But fear not, because with the right materials and cleaning solutions, you can keep your necklaces looking brand new for years to come. In this article, I’ll explore the significance of cleaning necklaces, common mistakes to avoid, and even delve into professional cleaning and storage options. So, grab your favorite necklace and let’s get started on the journey to sparkling, beautiful jewelry!

Key Takeaways

  • Regular cleaning of necklaces can prevent damage, maintain their beauty, extend their life, and ensure gems are secure.
  • Different types and materials of jewelry require specific cleaning methods and solutions to avoid damage.
  • Know what your jewelry is made of before attempting to clean it.
  • Professional cleaning is necessary for necklaces showing signs of discoloration, tarnishing, dullness, or blackening.
  • Storing necklaces properly can prevent premature tarnishing and damage.

Importance of Cleaning Necklaces

Necklaces are one of the most beautiful and delicate pieces of jewelry that can be worn to enhance the beauty of an outfit. However, the accumulation of dirt, grime, and oils can cause damage to the metal and stones, leading to the loss of gems or tarnished metals.

Here are some reasons why it is important to clean your necklaces regularly:

Prevent Damage

Dirt and grime are abrasive and can wear down prongs and other structural components of jewelry, resulting in loose gemstones and tarnished metals. Regular cleaning can help prevent this damage and keep your necklaces in good condition.

Maintain the Beauty of the Piece

Regular cleaning can help remove unwanted germs and restore the jewelry to its sparkling best, keeping it looking its best. This helps maintain the beauty of the piece and keeps it looking new for longer.

Extend the Life of Your Jewelry

Proper maintenance and cleaning can help extend the life of your jewelry and prevent damage that can cause it to wear out faster. This means that you can enjoy your necklaces for longer and save money in the long run.

Ensure Gems are Secure in Their Settings

Cleaning your jewelry regularly can help remove harmful elements and ensure that your gems are secure in their settings. This helps prevent the loss of precious stones and keeps your necklaces looking beautiful.

Identify Problem Areas

Professional cleaning can help identify problem areas and prevent damage that can cause the jewelry to wear out faster. This means that you can address any issues early on and prevent further damage to your necklaces.

How Often Should You Clean Your Necklaces?

The frequency of cleaning your jewelry depends on how often you wear it and the type of material used to make it. Here are some recommendations:

  • Tiffany & Co recommends bringing jewelry in at least once a year. Items worn regularly should be cleaned and checked every few months.
  • Biltmore Loan and Jewelry suggests giving the jewelry you wear daily a weekly cleaning. Use lukewarm water and mild dish soap to soak your jewelry. Using a toothbrush, scrub all the parts of your jewelry while paying special attention to the small crevices and the prongs of the stone settings.
  • Dazzling Rock advises that you can choose to clean your jewelry daily, weekly, or give the pieces an occasional thorough cleaning based on how regularly you wear the pieces and the type of material used to make them.
  • Hobbyist Geek recommends cleaning gold jewelry every two to three months with a polishing cloth. You can also use a solution of water and baking soda to clean the ring, but take care not to wear the jewelry afterward without rinsing and drying them well. Every six months or so, you should have it professionally cleaned for its protection against chemicals in dust, sweat, makeup, or other materials or debris which may be caught in the crevices of rings during daily wear.
  • Rogers and Hollands suggest having a professional jewelry cleaning of your most valuable and most worn items at least once every six months. Ultrasonic cleaners are the most effective.

Materials and Cleaning Solutions

Jewelry is a cherished possession that requires proper care to maintain its shine and beauty. Different types of jewelry require different cleaning methods to avoid damage. Here are some tips for cleaning different types of jewelry:

Gold Jewelry

Gold is a soft metal that requires gentle cleaning. Soak gold jewelry in a solution of water and dish soap for up to five minutes, then rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

Silver Jewelry

Silver tarnishes easily and requires regular cleaning. Mix a drop or two of gentle dish soap into lukewarm water, soak the silver pieces in the mixture for a few minutes, then rinse and dry with a soft microfiber cloth.

Gemstone Jewelry

Gemstones come in various types and require different cleaning methods. For pieces that can handle being exposed to water (like gems, glass, and gold plating), you can use the same cleaning method as for silver jewelry.

Pearl Jewelry

Pearls are delicate and require special care. Wipe each pearl with a soft cloth dampened with water and a mild soap solution, then rinse with a clean, damp cloth and dry with a soft cloth. Water that is too hot or too cold can damage pearls, so it is important to use lukewarm water.

Costume Jewelry

Costume jewelry is made of a variety of materials and requires different cleaning methods. Depending on the material, avoid water when cleaning costume jewelry, as it can tarnish delicate metals and materials.

Wipe each piece down with a soft microfiber cloth, and for pieces that can handle being exposed to water, you can use the same cleaning method as for silver jewelry.

Safe and Effective Cleaning Solutions

There are several safe and effective cleaning solutions for necklaces. Here are some ideas:

  • Dish soap and hot water: Add 1 tablespoon dish soap to a cup of hot water and let your pieces soak for a few minutes, scrubbing them if necessary.
  • Dish detergent and warm water: The best homemade jewelry cleaning solution is a mixture of a few drops of Dawn dish detergent in warm, not hot, water. Let the piece sit in the solution for a few minutes.
  • Gentle dish soap and lukewarm water: Mix together a drop or two of gentle, clear dish soap with lukewarm water. Water that is too hot or too cold can damage pearls.
  • Water and vinegar: Soak your pure silver bracelets, rings, and other jewelry in a mixture of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda.
  • Water and baking soda: Line a bowl with aluminum foil and top with salt, baking soda, and dish detergent. Let the piece sit in the solution for a few minutes.
  • Water and microfiber cloth: Wipe each piece down with a soft microfiber cloth. To get in the crevices of costume jewelry, wrap the microfiber cloth around a cotton swab.

It is important to note that not all jewelry is created equal, so it is best to check with the jeweler or manufacturer for specific cleaning instructions. By following these tips and using the right cleaning solution, you can keep your jewelry looking beautiful for years to come.

Common Mistakes and Prevention

Cleaning your jewelry is essential to maintain its shine and beauty. However, many people make the mistake of using the wrong cleaning methods, which can lead to irreversible damage. Here are some common mistakes people make when cleaning their necklaces and tips on how to prevent them.

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Not knowing the material: Different materials require different cleaning methods. Not knowing the material of your necklace can lead to irreversible damage. For example, using water and soap to clean pearls can cause them to lose their luster.
  • Using toothpaste: Toothpaste is abrasive and can scratch the surface of metals and softer gemstones. The long handle of a toothbrush can also apply too much pressure on the piece being cleaned.
  • Soaking in lemon juice: Lemon juice is too acidic and abrasive to safely clean jewelry, especially softer stones and silver.
  • Boiling the jewelry: Boiling jewelry can cause damage to the metal and stones.
  • Trying bleach: Bleach can cause gold and other metal alloys to break down, irreparably damaging the piece.
  • Wearing it in the shower: Wearing jewelry in the shower can cause soap buildup and damage the metal and stones.
  • Not cleaning it frequently enough: Not cleaning jewelry frequently enough can lead to dirt buildup and damage to the metal and stones.
  • Not clasping necklaces before storing them: Not clasping necklaces before storing them can lead to tangling and damage to the chain.

Prevention Tips

To prevent damage to your necklaces during the cleaning process, you should follow these tips:

  • Use only cleaners recommended or sold by your jeweler, and use cleaners specifically designed for your metal.
  • Be sure any polishing cloth you use doesn’t have metal-based grit in it. Use cloths made specially for jewelry.
  • DIY cleaning calls for warm soapy water and a soft toothbrush. Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasive materials.
  • Store your jewelry in a clean, dry place. Keep your pieces in a fabric-lined jewelry box or in a soft pouch to prevent scratches and tangles.
  • Remove your jewelry before swimming, playing sports, or doing household chores. Salt water, chlorine, and dirt can damage your jewelry.
  • Before applying sunscreen, bug spray, or makeup, remove your jewelry to avoid getting unnecessary amounts of product on it.
  • Do not wear your jewelry in the pool, spa, or sauna.
  • Put your jewelry on after you have finished your hair and makeup to avoid spraying or getting unnecessary amounts of product on it.
  • Use tiny zip-lock bags to keep earring sets together and for individual storage of necklaces to prevent tangling.

Professional Cleaning and Storage

Jewelry is a precious possession that requires proper care and maintenance to keep it looking its best. Over time, necklaces can become discolored, tarnished, dull, or even blackened. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to have your necklace professionally cleaned.

Here are some signs that your necklace needs professional cleaning:

  • Discoloration: The moisture and oxygen in the air and the oils and acids in your skin react with the metals, gems, and pearls, causing them to discolor and tarnish. High humidity, sunlight, lotions, and perfumes can also lead to discoloration.
  • Tarnishing: Chemicals and substances like sulfur-based compounds in the air, lotions, and perfumes can react with the jewelry and form a layer of tarnish on the surface of the necklace.
  • Dullness: When necklaces are dirty and tarnished, they lose their sparkle and shine.
  • Blackening: If your silver necklace is turning black, it may need cleaning. Silver reacts with elements in the air, causing it to tarnish.

It’s important to know what material your necklace is made of before attempting to clean it yourself. The cleaning method depends on the material of the necklace. Therefore, it’s best to have it professionally cleaned to prevent any damage.

Tips for Storing Your Necklaces

To store necklaces and prevent tarnishing and damage, here are some tips:

1. Store jewelry at room temperature out of direct sunlight in a location that maintains a consistent low humidity to help prevent premature tarnishing and discoloration.

2. Keep jewelry clean and dry before storing it. Moisture of any kind can cause the metal to tarnish or degrade much more quickly.

3. Store silver jewelry in cotton or felt compartments to keep it dry and away from other tarnishing jewelry.

4. Store necklaces in separate compartments or bags to prevent them from scratching one another.

5. Keep necklaces from getting tangled using twist ties or a necklace display made from linen and wood.

6. Use a jewelry holder made from an old frame or an old metal rake to store necklaces.

7. Choose covered storage lined with felt or velvet to prevent scratches and to keep silver from tarnishing when exposed to air.

8. Use a travel roll with tabs to keep necklaces tangle-free during transit.

Shine Bright Like a Diamond: The Importance of Polishing Your Jewelry

We all love our jewelry to sparkle and shine, but over time, it can lose its luster. That’s where polishing comes in. Polishing your jewelry not only restores its shine but also helps to remove any dirt or grime that may have accumulated.

It’s an essential part of jewelry care that can help to prolong the life of your favorite pieces.

But, it’s important to note that not all jewelry can be polished in the same way.

Different materials require different methods, and some pieces may even be too delicate to polish at all.

That’s why it’s crucial to consult with a professional jeweler or do your research before attempting to polish your jewelry at home.

So, if you want your jewelry to continue to dazzle and impress, make sure to give it the TLC it deserves by polishing it regularly.

Your jewelry will thank you for it!

For more information:

Polishing Jewelry: Importance, Methods & Mistakes

Additional Tips and Special Cases

If you love your necklaces and want them to last a lifetime, it’s essential to take care of them properly. Here are some additional tips to help you maintain the quality and appearance of your necklaces.


Storing your necklaces in a clean, dry space is crucial to prevent tangling and scratching. It’s best to keep your necklaces in a fabric-lined case that has compartments and dividers for your jewelry.

If you don’t have a jewelry case, wrap each necklace separately in a soft cloth.


Regular cleaning is necessary to keep your necklaces looking their best. Use warm water, mild dish soap, and a gentle cloth or brush to clean your necklaces. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage the metal or gemstones.

Be mindful of friction and try not to allow the necklaces that you are wearing to rub against each other.


Check your necklaces regularly to ensure they don’t need cleaning. It can be easy to miss that your necklaces need a clean, either because you wear them all the time and don’t notice the changes or because they’re put away somewhere and you don’t look at them too often.

You might be a bit alarmed when you realize just how grimy and dull some of your favorite pieces are.

Professional Help

If your necklaces are damaged or need repair, take them to a professional jeweler who can restring stretched pearls, repair or replace chains with knots or broken links, and repair or replace broken clasps.

Special Cases

Some necklaces may require special cleaning methods, while others should be avoided altogether. Here are some tips:

  • Before trying any cleaning method on your jewelry, make sure that your jeweler or jewelry’s manufacturer doesn’t recommend a cleaning method specific to that brand.
  • Some jewelers, like Pandora, have instructions and cleaning products specifically formulated to clean pieces from their line.
  • If you aren’t sure what kind of jewelry you’re working with, it is best to leave the cleaning up to a professional jeweler who can assess the piece, determine the material it’s made from, and use a cleaning method less likely to cause any irreparable damage to your jewelry.
  • Necklaces can be cleaned with warm water and a hint of gentle soap or baby shampoo.
  • A DIY cleanser with white vinegar and water can be used to clean necklaces.
  • Polishing wipes can be used to remove tarnish from silver and gold jewelry.
  • Costume jewelry can be cleaned with baking soda, salt, and aluminum foil, lemon juice, or toothpaste and an old toothbrush or Q-tip.
  • Sterling silver can be cleaned by making a cleaner out of baking soda and aluminum foil and letting the jewelry soak for 30 minutes.

Key takeaways

In conclusion, taking care of your jewelry is not just about keeping it shiny and pretty. It’s about preserving the memories and emotions that are attached to it. Whether it’s a necklace that was passed down from your grandmother or a gift from a loved one, each piece has a story to tell.

By properly cleaning and storing your jewelry, you are ensuring that those stories will be passed down for generations to come.

So, the next time you’re cleaning your necklaces, take a moment to reflect on the memories and emotions that are attached to them.

Think about the people who gave them to you and the moments that they represent.

And remember, taking care of your jewelry is not just about keeping it looking good, it’s about preserving the memories and emotions that are attached to it.

Looking for a new Ultrasonic jewelry cleaner?

Choosing a gadget can be very difficult if you know nothing about the technology.

Some will pay for features they do not need while others may not consider what they really want.

So I created this quick, newbie guide to help you focus on what is really important to you:

The Best Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaners (For You!)

Best Practices For Using Ultrasonic Cleaners For Jewelry

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Links and references


My article on the topic:

Necklace Cleaning 101: Tips for Safe & Effective Care

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