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. Thank you for this great tip. :-)

  2. Does this work with jewelry with some wooden pieces? Or is it best to try to avoid the wooden parts entirely?

  3. Damez,
    Wood jewelry is tricky because different types of wood react differently to various situations, and the wood could be sealed or unsealed, etc. What you could do is test a cleaning solution on the back of the wood piece first to look for any damage, such as a dulling of the shine due to sealant removal or a swelling of the wood due to water/liquid exposure, etc. If in doubt, it would be best to avoid cleaning the wood.
    If the wood smells, there is something else you could try instead: odor absorbers, such as baking soda. Pour baking soda in the bottom of a container, such as a box or plastic tub. Set a baking rack over the baking soda and lay the piece of jewelry on the rack. Close the box and let the jewelry sit in the box overnight. Repeat this process with fresh baking soda until the odor has been absorbed.
    Source: BookThink – How to Remove Odors from Books

  4. Samantha says:

    I just tried this and it didn’t get rid of the smell.

  5. Use extra virgin cold pressed (refined) coconut oil. Just rub it on and use a soft dry towel to wipe/polish it off.

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