Swimmers–or people who are exposed to chlorine frequently, such as those who wash and sterilize things in it–should be careful to remove their gold rings as a precaution; chlorine damage usually occurs only if gold is repeatedly exposed to chlorine. If your gold jewelry does get tarnished, the best way to clean it is to take it to a jeweler who understands chemical properties and reactions as well as proper compounds. Taking your gold to a jeweler can be expensive, however, so here are a few home remedies you can try.

Things You'll Need

Research your metal.

Natural gold as it is mined from the ground is a soft metal, so it is often mixed, or “alloyed,” with other metals, which is how white gold is created. White gold is made of a mixture of nickel and palladium in addition to gold, which makes it harder. Both kinds are often coated in a rhodium plating, which is often the culprit if and when tarnish sets in. Tarnish will give white gold a slightly yellow color; gold rings with high or long exposure to chlorine may start showing signs of stress such as cracks. Rings that have been adjusted for size, a process that creates stress and increases the metal’s fragility, are particularly vulnerable.

Try polishing your jewelry with a soft cloth.

A polishing cloth and vigorous buffer might be all that is needed.

Soak your gold in isopropyl alcohol for several hours. This will remove grease and allow for easier polishing.

Rinse thoroughly in warm or cool water.

Mix a simple jewelry cleaning solution of ammonia (1/2 cup) and water (2 cups), and use a soft bristled toothbrush or other small brush to work the cleaning solution into the gems and cracks and crevasses of the gold or silver.

Thoroughly rinse the jewelry again in warm-to-cool water, and air dry.

Once the jewelry is dry, you can polish it again.