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How to clean gold jewelry

All that glitters is not gold... and sometimes, not even the gold itself! Read our advice on how to clean gold jewelry, including gold chains, rings, and earrings.


Reading Time: 2 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

Jewelry box

Key steps

  • Soak your gold item in washing-up liquid and warm water.

  • With a toothbrush, gently brush away any dirt.

  • Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

Gold is a precious metal and needs to be cleaned with care. For this reason, avoid abrasive cleaning products.

How to clean gold jewelry at home?

You can use a variety of household products to clean and polish gold but be careful – the wrong cleaning technique can damage your valuable and delicate items. Test any cleaning technique before use and gradually increase the concentration of the solution and the cleaning time if your first attempt doesn't work.

How to clean gold chains?

A gentle solution for clean gold is washing-up liquid and warm water:

  • Choose a soft but firm toothbrush. Avoid any other brush with hard bristles as this can damage your jewelry.

  • Fill a bowl with warm water and a small amount of washing-up liquid (you’ll only need a few drops for this method).

  • Let your gold chain soak in the bowl for a few minutes.

  • Then, use the toothbrush to gently remove any dirt and grime still left.

  • When you’ve finished cleaning, rinse the item in clean water and dry with a soft towel or cloth.

How to clean gold rings and earrings?

Gold rings and earrings are slightly trickier to clean than gold chains as this piece of jewelry often features other precious items, such as diamonds, pearls, emeralds and any other precious or semi-precious stones.

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If your ring or earrings contain pearls, it’s better to send them to a professional cleaner, as pearls are especially fragile. It’s also worth considering how old your golden piece of jewelry is. The older the gold, the purer it is, which means the softer it will be. If you have an antique gold ring, then avoid subjecting it to high temperatures or applied pressure as this could deform it.

If you need to be extra gentle, try using cotton buds instead of a toothbrush.

Gold jewelry cleaning tips

Have a look at these gold jewelry cleaning tips which use white vinegar and toothpaste:

  • Vinegar: Fill a cup with apple cider vinegar and place your gold jewelry inside the cup. Leave it there for 15 to 20 minutes making sure that your jewelry is completely submerged. While your jewelry soaks, make a paste with flour, salt, and half a cup of white vinegar. Brush this paste into your jewelry with a toothbrush. Rinse it all off with water.

  • Toothpaste: Scrub toothpaste gently into your gold jewelry and rinse it off with lukewarm water.

Now you know the best ways of cleaning gold at home, keep reading for more advice on how to clean other metals.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions on cleaning gold jewellery

How does apple cider vinegar work to clean gold jewellery?

Using apple cider vinegar to clean gold jewelry couldn’t be simpler. All you need is a cup of apple cider vinegar. Place your gold jewelry to the cup. Leave it to soak for 15 minutes. After this time has elapsed, remove it from the vinegar and use a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe the surface. This will remove any residue – including dead skin cells – and it will also add a little extra shine.

Does an apple cider vinegar gold test really work?

The apple cider vinegar gold test is a great choice if you want to test your jewelry at home, as it is readily available and easy to do. After all, real gold will not react when exposed to the acids in vinegar, toothpaste and more. If you notice fizzing, discoloration, or the shine fading, it is likely that the gold is not real.

Can you use apple cider vinegar to clean diamonds, too?

You can use apple cider vinegar to clean diamonds. It is non-toxic, biodegradable and also smells better than a lot of other options including white vinegar. All you need to do is add ¼ of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water. Soak your diamonds inside this solution and use a soft brush such as a toothbrush to gently brush them clean after soaking.

Are gold flakes made of real gold?

If you've found yourself wondering, “are gold flakes real gold?” the answer is yes! Whilst edible, and relatively inexpensive, gold flakes are indeed real gold. If you wish to use them in deserts and other food products like candy, always use a good quality brand as some of the cheaper options contain impurities.

How do jewelers clean gold?

A professional jeweler uses an ultrasonic cleaner to clean jewelry. These cleaners use high frequency sound waves and special chemicals to create bubbles that pull dirt away from the jewelry, bringing it to the surface and leaving each piece clean and residue-free.

How often should you clean gold jewelry?

When it comes to cleaning your jewelry to give it the best life, and help it to last longer, we recommend you clean at home a minimum of once a month. It is also a good idea to take real gold, diamonds and other precious pieces to a jeweler for cleaning every 6 months.

Originally published