How to clean gold and silver jewellery

Even gold and silver need some love from time to time to keep them shining

Thuis gouden en zilveren sieraden schoonmaken

Jewellery can lose its shine after a while, but sometimes all it takes to restore its sparkle is a quick clean at home. From how to clean gold rings to what to clean silver with, we’ll show you how to clean, dry and buff your jewellery to bring out a bright finish.

How to clean gold and silver jewellery with gemstones

If your jewellery has gemstones that are glued in, it’s important that you don’t submerge it in water. This is often the case when cleaning silver earrings. The warm water might loosen the glue.

You’ll also need to avoid submerging certain delicate gemstones that are held in place with fixings (like emerald or onyx), as they might not stand up to being in water for long. Here’s a safer cleaning method to try:

  1. Wipe the jewellery. Mix a small amount of mild washing up liquid with lukewarm water, dip a soft towel in it, and gently wipe the item.
  2. ‘Rinse’ the jewellery. Dampen a cloth with plain water and gently dab the item to soak up leftover residue.
  3. Leave to dry. Place your jewellery upside down to dry on an absorbent kitchen towel, so that any leftover water can drip out.

If your jewellery doesn’t have glued-in stones or delicate gemstones, then you can go about cleaning silver earrings and other items using the following methods.

How to clean gold the easy way

With a bit of elbow grease and a simple cleaning solution, you can get solid gold jewellery back to its original glow. Here’s how to clean gold rings and other treasures with a DIY solution:

  1. Add a few drops of mild washing up liquid to a bowl of lukewarm water. Mix them together gently. Avoid hot water, which can crack precious stones like opals. On the other hand, don’t use very cold water, as that can make the grime contract and become harder to shift. You can use tap water or sodium-free carbonated water.
  2. Soak the item. Let your jewellery sit in the solution for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Gently scrub with a very soft-bristled brush. Use up-and-down strokes. If you don’t have a specialist brush, you can use a soft, small toothbrush. Bear in mind that stiff bristles can remove gold plating, so use this method on solid gold. Delicately work your way into the nooks and crannies – you might need to use a cotton bud too.
  4. Rinse under warm running water. Ensure the water flow is slow and gentle. Remember to put the plug in, so that your jewellery doesn’t accidentally fall down the plughole! You could also place the item in a fine-mesh metal sieve.
  5. Blot dry with a paper towel and leave to air dry. Don’t wear your jewellery until it’s completely dry, as you might trap moisture against your skin and irritate it.

How to clean silver to remove tarnish

Simply exposing your silver jewellery to light and air will tarnish it. This can be fixed easily, though, by knowing how to clean silver to restore its gleam. It all comes down to knowing what to clean silver with. You could use the above method for cleaning jewellery with glued-in or delicate gemstones – gently rub the item with a warm water and mild washing up liquid solution, wipe with plain water, and leave to air dry (or buff with a kitchen towel to dry, if there are no glued-in stones).

However, you could also try a specialist silver polish. This is best used on plain silver jewellery without any settings:

  1. Add a small amount of the polish to a strong kitchen towel.
  2. Rub up and down (not in circular motions), turning the cloth to prevent the tarnish rubbing back on.
  3. Rinse with warm water.
  4. Buff with a dry kitchen towel.


To bring extra sparkle to your jewellery, buff it with kitchen roll that’s soft and strong. Plenty The Big One will hold together and do the job gently.

Now you know how to clean silver and gold jewellery, you can look forward to restoring that beautiful shine.

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