Jewelry cleaning is an absolute necessity due to the amount of grime, hair spray, perspiration, dust, dried skin, hand lotions and perfume that can coat the jewelry in each wearing. This build up of daily life can be cleaned away with any one of a bevy of commercial jewelry cleaners but just as effective at no cost are a few household items that will clean your jewelry and leave it with a gleam.
Household Ammonia Solution
The active ingredient in most commercial jewelery cleaners is ammonia, which is diluted with water and has a few drops of colorant as well. Create your own ammonia cleaning solution by mixing 1 part of plain household ammonia and 1 part cool tap water in a glass bowl or cup. Soak the jewelry for at least 30 minutes, longer for heavily soiled pieces. Scrub off any grime caught in the detail work or under-mounting with a soft child size toothbrush dipped in the solution. Rinse the piece well in cool water and allow to air dry on clean absorbent cloth. Ammonia can be used to clean all precious metals and hard stones such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires and topaz.
Unflavored Vodka Wash
Soak your metal and stone jewelry in an undiluted plain clear unflavored vodka for thirty minutes to overnight to clean off build-up and restore shine. Use whatever brand you have on hand or buy a small bottle of inexpensive vodka to use just for cleaning jewelry. Use a soft small toothbrush to dislodge any dirt or build up in mounting or detail work of the piece. Dip once more in the vodka and set to air dry on a clean absorbent cloth. Skip the rinse cycle as plain vodka has no sugar, flavoring or colorants and therefore will not leave a residue on the jewelry, just a shine.
Pearls & Porous Stones
Never subject pearls and other porous jewelry stones to cleansers or large amounts of liquid as they can stain, degrade the finish and even cause cracking. Clean delicate jewelry pieces containing materials such as turquoise, jade, chalcedony, jasper, tiger eye, onyx, coral, malachite and opal by wiping down the pieces with a clean damp cloth wrung nearly dry. Use a microfiber low-lint dry cloth to buff the finish to a shine and remove any last bit of build up or tarnish.