I’ve been slowly swapping out and transitioning my home products over to more natural alternatives, and the most recent of these changes was switching over to using natural jewellery cleaners.
My big goal is to reduce the toxic load on my body as much as possible, and a great way to do this (I believe), is to use more natural products in our home and on our bodies.
Here are a few natural homemade jewellery cleaners for all types of jewellery (gold, silver, diamonds, etc.) you can whip up in no time to clean tarnished, dirty, or dull jewellery.
Before and after; this is a ring I bought in Italy. I’m not someone who cleans my jewellery all that often, so it had become quite tarnished. But, the natural cleaner I used (shared below) worked amazingly well (better than I thought it would!), and it looked good as new again!
Jewellery Cleaning Recipes
Tea Tree Oil Based Jewellery Cleaner
Tea tree oil is a great alternative to the chemical-filled commercial jewellery cleaners available in stores today. It naturally contains antifungal and antibacterial properties. This recipe meant for cleaning high-quality jewellery and sturdy stones, so avoid using it on opals, pearls, or tanzanite.
- 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar or witch hazel
- 1 drop tea tree oil
- Baking soda
- Place jewellery in glass mason jar and cover with vinegar or witch hazel.
- Add drop of tea tree oil and swirl solution to ensure it’s mixed together well.
- Let jewellery soak in solution overnight.
- In the morning, remove jewellery from jar and coat with baking soda. Using an old toothbrush, gently scrub the pieces of jewellery, then rinse with water.
Before and after; my earrings looking good as new again! I used the silver jewellery cleaner, and it worked a treat 🙂
Cleaner for Semi-Precious Stones
Semi-precious stone jewellery can become damaged if exposed to harsh chemicals, such as those present in commercial jewellery cleaners.
Important note: When choosing the liquid dish soap you’re going to use, find one that has grease-cutting properties, but avoid those with harsh anti-bacterial features as they can strip them of the finish on the surfaces of your jewellery.
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tbsp liquid dish soap (non-antibacterial)
- Fill a small bowl with 1 cup warm water. Avoid using boiling water as it can damage the surface of your jewellery and some stones.
- Add liquid dish soap and swish with your hand to form bubbles.
- Fill a second bowl with the remaining cup of water; this will be used for rinsing the jewellery.
- Place jewellery in the first bowl with the liquid dish soap and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Remove jewellery and place in the second bowl. Once you’ve rinsed the pieces, you can remove them from the bowl, and place them on a towel to dry.
This was taken after I’d used the natural jewellery cleaner (it worked so well!). Note: it’s important to use a grease-cutting liquid dish soap, but ensure it is free from harsh anti-bacterial properties, as they can strip the jewellery of the finish on their surfaces.
Silver Cleaner for Jewellery
Over time, silver jewellery may start to look tarnished, and this is because the sulfur that’s present in the air creates a chemical reaction with the silver. I found this jewellery cleaner to be very effective at turning my tarnished silver items of jewellery back to their sparkling, shiny selves again (they looked almost brand new again after!). What’s great too, is that most of the ingredients for this solution are most likely already in your kitchen.
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- Flat pan
- Aluminium foil
- Cover pan with aluminium foil, making sure to place the shiny side of the foil up.
- Place jewellery in pan, ensuring that each part of the jewellery is touching the foil.
- Mix boiling water, salt, and baking soda together in separate bowl.
- Pour mixture into the pan. Stir the solution with a spoon to break up any chunks of baking soda, then reposition the pieces of jewellery back onto the foil (they naturally move around when you mix the solution).
- Slowly add in the distilled vinegar (be careful, as it bubbles).
- Let the cleaner and jewellery stand for 5-10 minutes. Remove jewellery from pan and rinse with water.
For a live run-through of how I make this silver jewellery cleaner (and how it works on my jewellery), see my video tutorial below!
How to Keep Silver Shiny
If your silver becomes dull, filmy, or begins to discolour, you can mix a few drops of mild, liquid dish soap with warm water, and dip in a soft, clean cloth. Rub your silver jewellery with the towel, then rinse the pieces in cold water and buff with a dry cloth.
If you have heavy tarnish on your silver pieces, create a paste using 3 tbsp baking soda and 1 tbsp water. Dip the silver jewellery in water and apply the paste. With a soft, lint-free cloth, work the paste into the crevices. Rinse the jewellery and buff dry.
Before and after; one of my favourite necklaces looking brand new again after using the silver jewellery cleaner (the dirt and oils from my skin, as well as the sulfur in the air had caused it to become quite dull and tarnished).
Jewellery Cleaner for Diamonds
Ammonia occurs naturally and is found throughout the environment in soil, air, and water. It’s an important source of nitrogen which is needed by plants and animals. Bacteria found in the intestines can produce ammonia too. However, pure chemical ammonia must be used with caution, as it can cause severe burns and respiratory issues if it comes into contact with skin or is ingested. Even diluted in water, as is recommended for most cleaning purposes, ammonia can still be harmful (so be very, very careful). The most important safety rule to remember is: Never mix ammonia with chlorine bleach, but we won’t be doing that today, anyway.
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup ammonia
- Place jewellery in a small bowl. Pour ammonia and water into bowl and let the solution sit for 30 minutes.
- Remove jewellery from bowl (ideally wear some protective gloves to avoid contact with the ammonia) and rinse with cold water.
- Place the pieces on a towel to let dry.
- If after soaking, the jewellery doesn’t appear clean enough, you can use an old soft bristle toothbrush to get a more in-depth clean.
- Place brush in the cleaner and gently tap around the mounting with the bristles of the brush. This should help remove any grime and dirt that may have built up in the crevices and around the mount.
- Dip the ring back in the solution to remove any loose dirt, rinse and place on the towel to dry.
The ‘after’ effect of having cleaned all my jewellery (I’m not a huge jewellery wearer, so I don’t own all that much); all clean and sparkly again <3
Gold Jewellery Cleaner
Gold, unlike other precious metals, doesn’t tarnish. However, the oils and dirt from your hands can quickly make it look dull. The baking soda, salt, and aluminium foil used to create this homemade gold jewellery cleaner create a chemical exchange called an ion transfer, which naturally helps clean metals.
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tsp dish detergent
- 1 cup hot water
- Using a small bowl, line the inside with a little square of aluminium foil.
- Pour the salt, baking soda, and dish detergent into the bottom of the bowl.
- Add the hot water, and the mixture should begin to fizz.
- Drop your jewellery into the mix and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Remove jewellery from cleaner and, using an old soft bristle toothbrush, gently scrub around the prongs and groves of the pieces.
- When you’ve finished cleaning your jewellery, rinse with cold water and pat dry.
Before and after; this item had the most dramatic turn around after using the silver jewellery cleaner on it. It was one of my most tarnished items, and looked almost brand new again after using the cleaner!
How to Keep Gold and Gems Bright
Using a simple solution of mild liquid dish soap and sodium-free seltzer water can be a great way to keep your gold and precious and semi-precious stones clean and shiny. Mix a few drops of the dish soap in a bowl of the seltzer water. Place your jewellery in a small strainer and place it in the bowl. Let the jewellery soak for 5 minutes, then remove and softly brush the settings and crevices with a soft toothbrush. Return the pieces to the strainer and rinse with cool water. Remove and dry with a soft cloth.
Another tarnished item brought back to life with the natural homemade silver jewellery cleaner.
How to Clean Pearls
Pearls can be extremely fragile and must be cared for and cleaned very carefully. Fill a spray bottle with a small amount of mild soap and water. Spray a soft, lint-free cloth with the solution. Take the damp cloth and gently rub over the pearl(s) to remove any dirt and oils. After cleaning, immediately pat dry with a clean, dry towel. Never submerge your pearls in liquid and avoid using abrasive cleaners that contain ammonia or other harsh ingredients.
How to Freshen Your Pearls
Due to their porous nature, pearls can lose their lustrous appeal quite quickly, and so must be cleaned with care. Lay your pearl jewellery on a soft cloth. Dip the end of a small, clean makeup brush into a mixture of warm water and a little bit of shampoo. Brush the mixture over each pearl, then using a clean, damp cloth, rinse the pearls. Lay the pearls back on the cloth to dry. This will also work for other porous materials like turquoise and amber.
One of my favourite things about these cleaners is their minimal use of toxic chemicals.
How to Clean Costume Jewellery
It’s important you find a good cleaning solution to begin with. Note: Avoid cleaners that contain acids and alcohols, like vinegar and ammonia, as they can damage the materials in the jewellery.
Place a small amount of the solution on a cotton swab, and spot clean the jewellery, gently buffing away any dirty spots. Never soak the jewellery in a liquid as the moisture will break down the glue, welding and other adhesives on the jewellery. You can use a baby toothbrush to dust the metal parts of the jewellery without leaving scratches. If you find residue in the encrusted areas, you can use a wooden toothpick to pick the residue out. Using a towel, dab the jewellery until it’s dry.
Ensure you only spot clean your costume jewellery, as soaking it in liquid can break down the glue sticking this jewellery together.
I discovered these recipes originally from Tips Bulletin
Have you made a natural jewellery cleaner before? How did you find it? Share your story below!
Lots of love,
Clark, Joan. Homemade Jewelry Cleaner. Tips Bulletin. Retrieved from https://www.tipsbulletin.com/homemade-jewelry-cleaner/
Dragani, Rachelle and Vila, Bob. 10 Smart Ways to Use Ammonia. Bob Vila. Retrieved from https://www.bobvila.com/articles/ammonia-uses/#:~:text=Pure%20chemical%20ammonia%20can%20cause,ammonia%20can%20still%20be%20harmful.&text=The%20most%20important%20safety%20rule,mix%20ammonia%20with%20chlorine%20bleach
Ammonia. ChemicalSafetyFacts.org. Retrieved from https://www.chemicalsafetyfacts.org/ammonia/#:~:text=Ammonia%20occurs%20naturally%20and%20is,soil%2C%20air%2C%20and%20water.&text=As%20a%20result%20of%20this,it%20also%20does%20not%20bioaccumulate
Ammonia CAS #7664-41-7. (September 2004). ATSDR. Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tfacts126.pdf