How to clean your jewellery using every day household products without harsh chemicals

by Robin Wells

Spring is not that far away, so I thought you might like some cleaning tips on sprucing up your jewellery as we start to go out more and come out of winter (and COVID, depending on where you are) hibernation.

Read below to learn how to easily remove tarnish from sterling silver jewellery using what you've got at home, without nasty chemicals.

What you need:
1. Your tarnished silver jewellery
2. Ceramic or glass dish, safe for hot water
2. Bi-Carb Soda (Baking Soda)
3. Aluminum foil
4. Very hot water
5. Soft cloth for drying thoroughly

What to do:
1. Line the base of the dish with aluminium foil
2. Sprinkle baking soda over the foil
3. Place your silver jewellery on the aluminum and soda
4. Pour hot water over bicarb to cover all the jewellery
5. Rock the pan gently until all the pieces are tarnish free
6. Rinse well in clean water and dry thoroughly.
7. To prevent jewellery becoming as tarnished in the future, store in an airtight container

Did you know that oxygen and moisture cause tarnish to develop much more rapidly? After cleaning, dry the jewellery well and store it in air tight containers to keep moisture and oxygen out, when you aren't wearing it.

This method is best for chains and plain silver pieces without stones.

Don't use this method with jewellery that has a blackened finish or patina, as you'll remove the effect. In this case, use a silver polishing cloth to clean the areas you'd like to shine and keep the patina where you want it.

Tip for satin finished silver:

Over time, satin finished or matte silver may become polished due to day to day wear. You can recover the satin finish by rubbing the surface of the silver with fine 0000 grade steel wool, available at most hardware stores. This will give it a soft matte finish. 



Stainless steel jewellery

Raw stainless steel jewellery can sometimes darken and get covered with fingerprints. Clean the steel with cotton wool dipped in methylated spirits, rubbing surface gently.

Gold Jewellery

Vinegar is a natural cleaner. You can safely use it to clean your gold jewellery, however avoid using it if set with gemstones. Pour some into a bowl and then place your gold jewelry in it. 

Allow it to soak for about 20 minutes, then take the jewellery out and scrub any stubborn spots with a soft bristle brush. Don’t let it sit for longer than 20 minutes as vinegar can damage the gold. Rinse the gold afterwards with lukewarm water. Finish off by drying with a cloth.


Things like dirt, bacteria, or hand lotion can become trapped in the tiny gaps in diamond jewellery and detract from their sparkle. Use an eco friendly dish soap with warm water to wrinse the jewellery. You can enhance the cleaning effects of the mild soap by using a brush that has soft bristles on it. This helps you reach any hidden places where dirt has accumulated over time.


Dip your pearls in mild soapy water for literally about 10 seconds, then rub gently with a soft cloth to remove any dirt, makeup etc and dry them thoroughly.

Fresh water pearl and steel earrings

Gemstone jewellery

Ornamental gemstones, such as jade, lapis, opal, malachite, and turquoise, are porous and can absorb the liquid. You need to be careful when cleaning jewellery with these gems. Wipe stones with a damp soft cloth.

Most gemstones set jewellery such as sapphire, ruby, peridot and tourmaline can be cleaned with warm soapy water. Be very careful when cleaning emeralds as they are usually treated by filling fractures. Make sure the water is not hot and only briefly immerse, cleaning with a very soft brush or cloth.