Proper Cleaning Is Important
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
- Cotton cloth
- A gold polishing cloth (example)
Steps to Restore the Shine:
- 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.)
- Soak the gold in the soapy water for a few minutes, just long enough to allow the solution to begin to work.
- 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.
- Lay the gold out on the cotton cloth. Allow it to dry completely before continuing.
- Restore shine with the gold polishing cloth. Be sure to turn the cloth frequently so you’re always using a clean spot.
- 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.