Custom jewelry is a thoughtful gift with meaning that lasts a lifetime, but what do you do when your favorite piece begins to lose its shine? In-home jewelry cleaners can be pricey, and a trip to your local jewelers may cost more time and money than you’re willing to commit on a regular basis.
Rather than leaving your custom jewelry to rest in peace in the back of your jewelry box, follow these few tips to restore beauty and shine.
From relieving symptoms of the common cold to getting rid of indigestion, Alka-Seltzer has a multitude of uses, and now you have one more reason to keep it around. Turns out, the fizzing action effectively removes oils, dirt, dust, and grease from sterling silver, chrome, and titanium. Simply place your jewelry in a bowl filled with warm water and drop in a couple tablets. Allow the jewelry to sit for about twenty minutes, and then rinse them thoroughly.
Nope, not for you; for your jewelry. Vodka is another hardworking household item that can tackle jobs big and small. To clean your chrome or silver jewelry, immerse the pieces in a shallow bowl of vodka for a few minutes. After they have finished soaking, grab a microfiber cloth and gently buffer until they shine.
Aluminum and Baking Soda
When oxygen and the sulfur in household cleaners, perspiration and rubber come into contact with sterling silver pendants, they chemically bond to the surface of the jewelry, creating a dull, tarnished surface. If your silver jewelry has lost its luster, there is a quick and fascinating fix.
A simple chemical reaction created with baking soda, salt, aluminum foil and boiling water can clean your sterling silver. Line your kitchen sink or a glass roasting pan with aluminum foil, shiny side facing down. Lay your jewelry on top of the foil, and then pour enough boiling water over them to ensure that they are completely submerged. Stir in two tablespoons each of baking soda and salt, being sure to dissolve them completely.
Within 5-10 minutes, the tarnish will transfer from your silver to the foil. The process doesn’t smell especially great, as the sulfide tarnish that is released from the jewelry smells like rotten eggs, but your silver will shine once more.
And you thought you’d never actually use chemistry.
For a quick fix, look no further than your medicine cabinet. A dab of toothpaste on a toothbrush with soft bristles gently sweeps away dirt and grime while polishing your jewelry to a bright sheen.
Brighten your jewelry by allowing pieces to soak in a mixture that is 2 parts water and 1 part ammonia. The acidity of the ammonia breaks down oils and dirt, allowing your sterling silver, chrome and titanium jewelry to sparkle anew.
This pantry staple has enough acidity to transform dull jewelry. Simply submerge the piece in a bowl of ketchup and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. Be sure to watch the clock; the acid from the tomatoes and vinegar can damage the piece if it’s left for too long. After a few minutes, remove the jewelry, use an old toothbrush to clean any grooves in the piece and rinse well. As an added bonus, ketchup is effective in preventing tarnish.
Keeping your custom jewelry looking new is simple and inexpensive. By using what you already have on hand, you can keep your sterling silver sparkling, your chrome shining and your titanium gleaming.
Sarah is a contributor to Soundwave Art™, a unique company that creates art and jewelry from sound.