We all want our earrings to look as good as the day we bought them. How can we do this without having to take them to a professional all the time? What cleaning methods should we use? Are there different methods for different types of earrings?
Classic Cleaning Method for Earrings
Most of us are familiar with the general cleaning method for earrings:
1. Place your earrings into a small plastic container and fill it halfway with peroxide.
2. Let the earrings soak in the peroxide for ten to twenty minutes. Soak them overnight if they are especially dirty.
3. Take the earrings out of the container and use a small jewelry brush or toothpicks to scour away any remaining dirt and debris.
4. Set the cleaned earrings on a paper towel and let them air dry completely before wearing or storing them.
It seems pretty straightforward, right? This method works for most earrings.
For example, your typical flashy and fun “junk jewelry” style of earrings can usually be cleaned this way – just make sure to clean them on a weekly basis or the metal will turn dull and give them an aged look.
However, some types of earrings cannot be washed using the general method because the gemstones or the settings could be ruined.
Cleaning Earrings with Gemstones
The more expensive type of earrings, with gold or silver settings and pricy gemstones such as diamonds, should be cleaned using the following method:
1. Fill a medium-sized bowl with a cup of warm water. Pour 1/4 cup of ammonia into the water. Put the diamond earrings into the solution and let them sit for about twenty minutes.
2. Make sure to put on rubber gloves before removing the earrings from the ammonia solution. Put the earrings into a second bowl containing fresh warm water. Add about a teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Swish the earrings around in the bowl.
3. Scrub the diamond earrings gently with a soft toothbrush or a jewelry brush. Try to get into the crevices, where dirt and debris are most likely to accumulate. Scrub the earrings until they take on a shine.
4. Rinse the earrings in a third bowl of warm water. Soap residue can give the diamonds a cloudy appearance, so rinse them thoroughly! Lay the earrings on a soft cloth. Microfiber hand towels are soft and absorbent. When the earrings are dry, lightly polish them with the fabric.
Cleaning Silver Earrings
Some metals, if not cleaned properly, lose their shine and begin to appear dull and old. Cleaning silver earrings using the standard cleaning method is not recommended. Use this method instead:
1. Line a small glass baking pan with tinfoil. Make sure the shiny side is up.
2. Put the earrings on the aluminum foil. You can clean several pairs at a time with this method.
3. Fill the pan with warm water. Make sure that the earrings are completely immersed in the water.
4. Sprinkle a handful of baking soda over the top of the hot water. Keep adding baking soda until a chemical reaction occurs on the earrings.
5. Keep the earrings in the baking soda/water mixture for a full hour.
6. Rinse the earrings in plain water and towel them dry with a soft cloth.
Additional Cleaning Tips
The following tips will help you prolong the life of your earrings:
- If your silver earrings have settings with jewels glued to them, do not use the silver cleaning method. Instead use jewelry cleaner and a soft cloth to shine the earrings up. Here’s a popular cleaner that works for most metals in jewelry.
- Pearl jewelry should never be cleaned with harsh chemicals. A solution of mild soap and warm water should be enough to keep them clean. Allow the pearls to air dry before putting them away.
- Never wash your earrings over a sink. Using a bowl to clean your earrings will prevent them from getting lost down the drain.
- Avoid wearing earrings to bed, during a shower or while swimming.