How to Restore Shine to Gold


Kim  asked: I accidentally cleaned my gold jewelry with silver cleaner. Now it is dull and discolored. Is there any way to get the shine back?

If gold is cleaned with an improper cleaning technique, it may lose its shine.  In most cases, the solution is as simple as “recleaning” it the proper way.  Before you take it to a professional, give this method a try.

You Will Need:

  • Warm water
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Mild dishwashing detergent
  • Bowl
  • Cotton cloth
  • A gold polishing cloth (example)

Steps to Restore the Shine:

  1. Mix mild dishwashing detergent in warm water to create a sudsy solution. (If your gold includes other gemstones, do not submerge it. Use a cleaning technique made for the type of setting you have.)
  2. Soak the gold in the soapy water for a few minutes, just long enough to allow the solution to begin to work.
  3. Rub gently with cotton balls or your fingers. Cotton swabs may be used for smaller, more intricate areas. You may not notice a difference in shine at this point, but before you finish with the polish in Step 5 you want the gold to be clean.
  4. Lay the gold out on the cotton cloth. Allow it to dry completely before continuing.
  5. Restore shine with the gold polishing cloth. Be sure to turn the cloth frequently so you’re always using a clean spot.
  6. The next step depends on what type of gold item it is. If the gold is still dull, jewelry can be machine cleaned (ultrasonic, ionic, or steam cleaners are available for purchase). If that doesn’t work or the piece is too big for such cleaner, it’s time to call in a pro for a polish.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Never clean gold with tissue. It contains small wood fibers that will scratch it.
  • Never use toothbrush, baking soda, or other abrasives on gold. They too will scratch it.
  • Store gold wrapped in anti-tarnish tissue, a clean plastic bag, or in a special setting for your particular piece.
  • If the above method does not improve the shine and luster of your gold jewelry, it will likely need to be cleaned professionally. If it is gold plated, and the plating was removed, it may need to be reapplied. This also needs to be completed by a professional jeweler.


  1. Carrline says:

    Hello, I have a gold chain and I use to clean it with alcohol until I saw the color of it begin to dull…can I bring it back to color? How, if I can…Need help ASAP!

  2. Helen says:

    I left my gold diamond wedding ring in ring cleaner solution for a couple days and my white gold diamond ring too – I had forgotten about them. The gold ring turned a real dark orange/gold color and the white gold turned a color too. I am so upset about this; what can I do – can the color of both rings be restored?

  3. Ash says:

    I had a sterling silver necklace that I left in a cleaner for too long and it turned my necklace a horrible green and nasty colors. The only thing that helped remove the gunk was with a polishing cloth. A polishing cloth immediately took it off.

  4. Andrea says:

    Please don’t leave ANY jewellery in a plastic bag. From experience, I put my hubby’s very expensive watch in a small plastic bag (needed a new strap and something wrong with the back) to keep it all together then in my handbag, to take to the jewelers next time I passed. Three weeks later, I went in and the whole back of his watch had got damp and had started to corrode. I was told by the gentleman at the jewellery shop the reason was the sealed plastic bag had caused an ideal setting, warm, which caused the dampness, which got into the back of the watch and started to corrode. Expensive lesson learned…don’t use plastic bags!! Use a piece of good quality cotton or such.

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