There are different types of costume jewelry: inexpensive modest earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, and then there are pieces that cost even more than fine jewelry. Of course, you want to keep those looking good for as long as possible, so here are some tips on how to clean your costume jewelry and make it look shiny and new.
Determining the material
The most common reason for jewelry becoming dull is its exposure to the elements, especially to humidity and high temperatures. Under those conditions the metal quickly oxidizes, gemstones fade, plating and paint wear off easily.
Before cleaning jewelry pieces at home, determine the material they are made of. Some materials are not resistant to moisture, others can be easily cleaned with water. If you clean your items incorrectly, it can lead to them getting damaged.
- Metal jewelry without any plating can be cleaned with tooth powder and a toothbrush. You can also use a mixture of baking soda, water, and chalk;
- To clean copper jewelry, use a mixture of salt and vinegar;
- If there are both metal and plastic elements in your jewelry, use liquid soap or shampoo; Dissolve some in water and put your tarnished items into the mixture. After some time, rub them with a soft cloth and rinse with water;
- Unfortunately, if there is a scratch on your jewelry, or the paint is chipped off, there is no way to fix it;
- Do not rub gold-plated or silver-plated jewelry too hard. Let the pieces sit in the warm soapy water for a few minutes, then rub them with a soft cloth, rinse with water, and wipe dry;
- Try cleaning your rhinestone jewelry with a mixture of equal parts of ammonia, detergent, and water;
- If you want to clean imitation pearls at home, make sure to only use a dry soft velvet cloth. Do not soak the pearls.
When buying expensive jewelry, you can also buy a special cleaning solution for it. This will allow you to clean your jewelry carefully, thoroughly, and quickly. Rub the items with a special brush or a wipe, applying some paste or cleaning spray to it. Be careful if your jewelry has any semiprecious stones: they can be sensitive to chemicals.
How to store
Along with the questions about cleaning costume jewelry, there is also an important matter of proper storage at home. It’s preferred to use special cases and jewelry boxes, as they have hooks, sections, and shelves that allow to keep jewelry pieces separate and prevent them from scratching and tarnishing. These cases are also very convenient to keep jewelry organized, so you don’t need to rifle through all your earrings and necklaces looking for the right one.
Store costume jewelry pieces in a dry, but not a hot place, away from direct sunlight. Take off your jewelry at the end of the day and before going to a sauna, showering, swimming, or before taking a bath. Also, make sure you touch your jewelry with clean hands.
Imitation gold and silver jewelry
Imitation gold jewelry is especially popular, because it is inexpensive, and most people cannot tell the difference. The same goes for silver-plated jewelry. When cleaning imitation jewelry pieces, it is important to remember that it is not recommended to rub them with brushes. Instead, put them in the mixture of warm water, soft hand soap, and some ammonia. Let the jewelry soak for a few minutes, then rinse with clean water and wipe completely dry.
Imitation gold jewelry can be cleaned with a sponge dipped in white wine vinegar, then rinsed with water. Allow the items to dry naturally.
Jewelry with gemstones
Be careful with jewelry pieces that include gemstones. Avoid using any chemicals, even baking soda.
If needed, try washing them with clean water, or better – polish the surface with a soft microfiber cloth.
To clean Swarovski crystals, polish them with a wipe, dampened in ammonia solution, in the same way, you clean glass items. Polished turquoise should be cleaned with a dry napkin. It is very sensitive to sweat, oil, and alkaline environment, so be careful or you risk the stone fading or turning a dirty green color.
Citrine, on the other hand, is not that sensitive. If it looks dirty, you can clean it with a toothbrush and powder detergent. To clean zirconia, use a soft brush, dampened in the soap solution.
If you care well for your costume jewelry, it will serve you for a long time. Even simple plastic pieces can look good for quite a while. Unfortunately, fashion changes constantly, and we keep wanting something new. And that is why costume jewelry was invented – so we could change it more often.