How to Remove Odors from Costume Jewelry


Gina asked: How do you remove the brassy odor from costume jewelry, a necklace in particular? I have several costume necklaces that have an odor, and I can smell it while I’m wearing it. It smells like a brass button, and it makes my hands smell that way when I put the necklace on. Even when the jewelry was new, it smelled that way. Help! Thank you!

Costume jewelry is often made of inexpensive or base metals that corrode quickly. As a result, they are prone to reacting with your body’s oils or sweat to produce an unpleasant odor. Some people are naturally more apt to pick up on the scent than others, but everyone should notice an improvement with regular use of a jewelry cleaner designated for the metal in the jewelry. If that doesn’t work, give this simple trick a try:

You Will Need:

  • Toothpaste (plain white paste)
  • Soft bristled toothbrush
  • Water
  • Dry towel

Steps to Remove the Odor:

  1. For best results, remove the jewelry before cleaning it. You don’t want to wash it while you’re wearing it… or do you?
  2. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto the toothbrush.
  3. Gently rub the bristles over the jewelry, taking care to get into the nooks and crannies.
  4. Rinse the jewelry off under running water. Use the brush if needed to help remove all of the toothpaste.
  5. Blot with a dry towel, removing as much of the moisture as possible.
  6. Allow the piece to air dry before wearing it again.
  7. Repeat as necessary. If you seldom wear the jewelry, you can clean it after each use for lasting results.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Don’t overlook a good cleaning as a solution, even if the smell was there when the jewelry was brand new. It may have been handled before you bought it, triggering the smell, or it may have been stored in a humid environment. Humidity is frequently a culprit of corrosion.
  • If you don’t want to get the jewelry wet under running water, rinse the toothbrush until the toothpaste is gone then use it to clean the paste from the jewelry. Wipe clean with a paper towel and allow it to dry.
  • An alternative method for a really intricate piece is to drop it in a cup of vinegar. The vinegar will work to help the smell, although it won’t polish like the toothpaste will.
  • An old, used toothbrush works well on more delicate pieces. Just make sure it’s clean before you begin.
  • Toothpaste is a great home remedy, but jewelry cleaners are always a good option as well. Just ensure that the cleaner is safe to use on all parts of the jewelry.


  1. Robert says:

    Thank you for this great tip. :-)

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