Learn how to keep your heirlooms sparkling and in good shape with these tips from a diamonds expert.

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Credit: Stephen Johnson

Jewelry that we wear every day will often tarnish from makeup, moisturizer, contact with our skin, and the outdoor elements. But how often you need to clean your jewelry depends on how often you wear it, according to Andrew Brown, a celebrated diamond expert and CEO of WP Diamonds. "For instance, an engagement ring that is worn on a daily basis will need more regular cleaning than a pendant that is infrequently worn," he says. Pendants generally don't get very dirty, but earrings and rings come into contact with all kinds of substances and germs, collecting grime over time. In general, experts like Brown recommend that you take your jewelry off when putting on makeup, sunscreen, or moisturizer.

Here, we explain when to clean your jewelry, how to do it, and how adhering to a cleaning schedule for your jewelry will make a difference in their state of cleanliness for years to come.

Your Cleaning Schedule

Brown recommends that you clean your jewelry box at a minimum of once a month. Pieces that get dirtier more often, like earrings, can be cleaned as needed or bi-weekly, depending on how dirty they get. Not cleaning your jewelry at all can have consequences both for your jewelry and maybe even your health. That's because jewelry "becomes dirty, which, in turn, means that the jewelry becomes darker, less colorful, loses its luster and sparkle—and ultimately it's less hygienic," says Brown.

Tips for Cleaning

Once you have determined your regular cleaning schedule, you want to make sure to clean your jewelry properly so as not to damage the materials. Some of the ways that you can clean jewelry, according to Brown, include the following: For heavy-duty cleaning, opt for an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. The Magnasonic Professional Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner with Digital Timer ($39.99, amazon.com) is highly rated online and offers a safe way to clean your jewelry, eyeglasses, and even coins with steam and sound waves. For diamonds, you can specially clean them using a small brush like the Connoisseurs 1050 Diamond Dazzle Stik ($7.70, amazon.com); micro-fine cleansers and polymers in the brush work like magic on diamonds and precious stones to make them shine like new.

You can also use a gentle jewelry washing liquid and a toothbrush to clean your jewelry. For example, Brilliant Jewelry Cleaner ($7.95, amazon.com) is a non-toxic solution that works for almost any type of jewelry. It also comes with a brush for more detailed cleaning, but you never want to harshly scrub your fine jewelry pieces. Delicate cleaning can still remove dirt, especially if you have soaked the pieces in the solution first. But if you are not sure, you can also go to a jeweler that offers cleaning services and have your jewelry professionally treated for a fee.

Comments (1)

Martha Stewart Member
April 10, 2021
Never use jewelry cleaners on pearls. It will ruin them. Wipe off sweat and cosmetics with a very soft damp cloth, gently, and gave them restrung once a year if you wear them often.