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How to clean pearls

Let your jewellery shine with our tips on how to clean pearls and whiten yellowed pearls.


By Cleanipedia Team

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Key Steps

  • Wipe pearls with warm water first.

  • Make a soapy water mix to clean your pearls.

  • Always use a soft cloth to avoid damage.

  • Rinse thoroughly with plain, clean, cold water.

  • Dry using clean cotton.

  • Use nail polish remover to whiten yellowed pearls.

To keep your pearl jewellery white for as long as possible and prevent the pearls from cracking, keep it stored in a breathable container.

How do you clean pearls?

If you want to clean your pearls at home, you don’t need to spend a fortune on special products. Here’s how to clean a pearl necklace and other jewellery with what you’ve already got in your cupboards.

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What you need:

  • 1 tbsp mild hand soap such as Dove

  • 1 cup of warm water

  • Bowl

  • A soft cloth

  • Scrap of clean cotton material

Step-by-step guide to washing pearls:

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1.    Check for any damage to the jewellery before you start to clean.

2.    Dampen a soft cloth with warm water.

3.    Wipe down your pearls.

4.    Combine your mild hand soap with warm water in a bowl. Avoid washing up liquid and detergent, which could damage the pearls and affect their colour.

5.    Dip your soft cloth into the soapy mixture.

6.    Use the cloth to gently rub the surface of your pearls. Avoid scrubbing.

7.    Rinse thoroughly with cold, clean, plain water.

8.    Dry your pearls using a scrap of clean, dry cotton.

How to clean pearls that have yellowed

White pearls can yellow over time, but it is possible to brighten them up again. The acetone in nail polish remover can whiten old pearls and clean away stubborn stains. Never use this method on plastic pearl beads as it will strip away the pearly paint!

What you need:

  • Two soft cloths

  • Nail polish remover

How to whiten your pearls:

1.    First, clean your pearls using the steps above.

2.    Dampen a second cloth in nail polish remover.

3.    Wipe your pearls to revive the white of your pearls.

4.    Leave them to dry in direct sunlight for at least two hours.

You now have everything you need for cleaning pearls and keeping them in the best condition. But pearls aren’t the only kind of precious jewellery you may have at home. While you’ve got your jewellery box out, head over to our article on cleaning diamonds for more top tips.

Originally published