Some gold jewelry fanatics prefer gold-plated jewelry due to its practicality and its availability in different styles and designs. Furthermore, since gold-plated jewelry is affordable, many people opt for gold-plated jewelry to achieve a classy fashion style at a reasonable cost.
Gold plating is the process of placing a thin gold layer on another metal to give it a gold appearance. Although the layer may tarnish with time, you may choose to contact a jewelry expert and replate the jewelry. This article provides different methods a person can use to clean gold-plated jewelry.
1. Cleaning Gold-plated Jewelry After Wearing
Gold-plated jewelry accessories should be wiped down using a microfiber ball or a wet cotton ball after wearing it to get rid of surface soil and smudges. However, you should opt for thorough cleaning if the jewelry is exposed to acids, chlorine, alcohol, and sulfur compounds to prevent tarnishing.
Before you start the cleaning process, you should ensure you have warm water, a dishwashing liquid, a small bowl, a jewelry cloth, a cotton ball, and a microfiber cloth. Then, you should follow the following cleaning process:
Wipe Down the Jewelry After Each Wearing
Typically, jewelry may have soil and body oils after wearing it. Therefore, you should use a microfiber cloth, jewelry cloth, or a damp cotton ball to wipe the gold-plated jewelry. Then, allow it to dry completely before storing.
Mix a Cleaning Solution
If the gold-plated jewelry feels sticky or contains visible soil, you should clean it using a warm and soapy solution. Using a small bowl, mix a cup of water with around two dishwashing liquid drops.
Soak the Jewelry
Unless the gold-plated jewelry contains embellishments such as pearls, gemstones, or enamel, put the jewelry in the solution and soak it for approximately ten minutes. You should clean only one or two pieces at a time to avoid scratches.
Deal with Embedded Soil
If the jewelry has complexly carved parts, remove soil and dirt from the small crevices using a cotton swab. You should avoid using a sharp object such as a paper clip or a knife to get rid of the dirt, since it may scratch the gold plating.
Rinse, Dry, and Buff
When your jewelry is clean, rinse it using warm water. Then, dry it with soft, lint-free clothing and buff moderately to restore the shine.
2. Cleaning Gold Plated Jewelry Using Dish Soap
Place some drops of liquid dish cleaner in a bowl of lukewarm water and mix gently.
Although typical tap water is okay to use, consider using sodium-free seltzer water or club soda. The carbonation in these fluids can enhance the loosening of the accrued dirt and debris.
Immerse the gold-plated jewelry in the mixture
Let the jewelry settle in the water for approximately fifteen to thirty minutes. While it soaks, the warm and soapy waterworks on its cracks and gaps. This loosens the inaccessible dirt build-ups.
Softly scrub the gold-plated jewelry using a lenient-bristled toothbrush
Scrub each part of the jewelry separately as you concentrate on the crannies and nooks containing unseen dirt. Remember to use a very lenient brush. The use of inflexible bristles may scratch the plated gold of your jewelry or even eradicate it.
However, if a specific crevice is not cleaning up, pick a Q-Tip and scrub it gently along the cracks. Although specific brushes are made for this purpose, you can also have tiny and lenient brushes, such as eyebrow brushes.
Rinse each part of the jewelry in warm running water
An intense rinsing helps to take away lingering dirt that has been slackened by using the brush. Do not use hot water, particularly if the jewelry has fragile stones. Prevent the water from flowing in a strong stream since it dispenses a lot of vigor on the jewel.
If you are rinsing the item in a sink, you should cover or plug the drain to prevent losing pieces of jewelry accidentally when it slips from the hand. You can also use a metal coffee filter or a pasta strainer to rinse the jewelry.
Blot dry the jewelry with soft clothing
Lastly, place the jewelry on a towel to allow it to air dry fully before wearing or storing it. If the jewelry is still wet, you may develop some skin irritation caused by trapped moisture in the skin.
3. Cleaning Gold Plated Jewelry Using Ammonia
Understand when to use ammonia to clean
Although ammonia is an effective cleaner, it can be somehow corrosive chemically. It would help if you only used ammonia as your cleaner occasionally to prevent the jewelry, especially the gold plate.
Ammonia can destroy some materials such as frequently used jewelry. Avoid using ammonia when cleaning jewelry pieces with pearls or platinum.
Add one portion of ammonia to six pieces of water
Stir the mixture gently to ensure it remains even.
Soak the gold-plated jewelry in the mix for at most one minute.
Ensure that the jewelry stays in the ammonia mix for a short time. Since ammonia is a strong base chemically, it is corrosive. You can consider using a kitchen filter to remove the jewelry from the mix at once, like the one applied when cooking pasta.
Either overturn the bowl into a bigger strainer or pick the jewelry with a hand-held filter.
Rinse the gold-plated jewelry exhaustively under running water.
Cove or plug the sink drain to avoid losing any part of the item if it slips from your hands. You can also use the filter you used earlier.
Plug or cover the sink’s drain to prevent losing any precious jewelry that slips out of your hand.
Gently dry the gold-plated jewelry using soft polished clothing
Put the jewelry on a towel to allow it to dry wholly before wearing or storing it.
4. Cleaning Jewelry which includes Glued-In Gemstone
Understand which kinds of jewelry should remain dry
Jewelry pieces that contain gemstones glued into their structure, such as in most earrings, should not be plunged into the water. Eventually, this may lead to the fall out of the gemstones, especially when you brush the jewelry thoroughly.
It would help if you considered using a distinct cleaning process that doesn’t entail total submission in water.
Dab the gold-plated jewelry with a wet and soapy clothing
Create a small amount of dish soap solution.
Rinse the jewelry with a cloth dampened using plain water
Moderately dab wet material onto the jewelry, and ensure you soak up any residue soap suds.
Hang or lay the jewelry upside down after you clean them
Allow the gold-plated jewelry to dry in this manner. This allows the residual moisture to drip out and prevents it from soaking into the jewelry parts.
5. Using Boiling Water
Know when boiling is applicable
Although boiling solid gold is okay, delicate gemstones like pearls, coral, moonstones, and opals can cause damage or crack. This is quite common when the jewelry is cold prior to boiling it.
You should also avoid boiling when dealing with glued-in gemstones because this may lead to the loosening of the glue. However, boiling is ideal for cleaning deeply soiled gold-plated jewelry made of solid gold.
Boil the water
You only need a small amount of water which is sufficient to plunge the jewelry. Then, place your gold jewelry in a strong bowl or any other container that cannot be destroyed by boiling water.
Arrange the jewelry in a bowl or dish in a way that no jewelry piece covers the other piece. Water must reach every jewelry piece.
Cautiously dispense the water on the jewelry
It would help if you did not splash or spill the boiled water since this may cause severe burns.
Let the water cool down
If you can lay your hands in the water, you can take away your jewelry. After removing the piece, scrub each part of the jewelry using a soft brush. Then try dab it with a lenient towel and allow it to settle and air-dry fully.
If your water looks dirty, this may indicate that the jewelry is thoroughly cleaned, since boiling water slackens wax, dirt, or grime, and it may float on the water surface.
How to Correct Cleaning Mistakes on Gold Plated Jewelry
If, after using silver polish, toothpaste, or another cleaner, the jewelry remains dull, mixes the water solution and the dishwashing liquid, and submerges the jewelry for about five minutes.
Use soft cotton clothing to wipe the film left by the cleaner. It would help if you rubbed the jewelry smoothly to prevent getting rid of the gold.
If significant damage happens and the metal becomes exposed after the gold plating has been worn away, you may consider replating the gold. You should consult a jeweler about the feasibility and the costs of replating the accessory.
The best action that can help you keep the luster of your gold-plated jewelry is taking preventive measures to minimize damage. Some of these preventative measures include:
- Ensure that your hands are free of make-up, lotions, or soil before handling your jewelry
- Avoid applying perfumes, make-ups, or hairspray when wearing your jewelry
- Remove your jewelry when preparing acidic meals
- Do not swim in salty or chlorinated pools when wearing gold-plated jewelry
- Store your jewelry separately in tiny boxes
- Remove your jewelry when sweating a lot or when exercising
- Avoid carrying your jewelry tossed in a purse or together with other accessories to prevent scratching
Regardless of the method you use to clean your gold-plated jewelry, you should apply it cautiously to avoid scratching the gold plate. Besides, you should use intensive methods occasionally. If you have a query or a question, you can leave a comment. Additionally, you should keep your jewelry away from:
- Salty and chlorinated water
- Oils and sweat
- Dirty hands