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You're here because you want to learn how to clean earrings at home and avoid taking them to a jeweller – because that takes up your time, and usually your money too.
I'm sure with your rings and other jewellery pieces you use a jewellery cloth and give them a good rub and that works wonderfully, but what you've found with your earrings is that it's impossible get into all those nooks and crannies with the cloth and so you need answers - you need our how to clean earrings at home jewellers secrets!
This guide is for pure metal earrings (not gemstone), so that includes silver, gold and copper.
Why Do Earrings Get Dull And Dirty?
There are a range of dirts that accumulate on your earrings while wearing them including shampoo residue, hair products and just general dirt and dust collected from the air and off your skin.
It's actually very easy to remove general dirt and residue from your earrings at home by soaking and cleaning them in warm soapy water which I'm sure you've already done … but now you're wondering why your earring still look dull and lifeless even after you've done that.
The reason your earrings look dull and dirty is that the metal has oxidised.
Cleaning dirt off your earrings isn't enough to restore them to their former glory because of a natural process called oxidisation of metal, which happens with all metals and that includes gold and sterling silver.
Oxidisation refers to the process that happens when metal is exposed to oxygen, and this is the cause of the tarnish you see on your earrings. Simply cleaning your earrings with soap will not remove this tarnish.
Below we've described how to clean earrings at home, using every day household products.
How To Clean Earrings At Home
A lot of guides out there are talking mumbo jumbo about convoluted methods with tin foil or creating some sort of barely effective paste using baking soda.
Those will give you some effect yes but we're going to tell you how jewellers ACTUALLY clean jewellery, in the jewellery studio professionally. They do it with something we call 'jewellery pickle'.
Jewellery pickle is an acidic solution and removes tarnish from metal. Often jewellers use a chemical solution that they buy as their cleaning 'pickle', but we don't like using chemicals when it's avoidable because we care about the environment (read our eco policies) and so we're going to teach you how to do it using all natural ingredients, an entirely natural jewellery pickle.
First clean all product and dirt residue off your earrings using soapy water and scrubbing with a toothbrush/similar, thoroughly rinse with clean water afterwards. Place them into a small bowl or cup (you will be pouring pickle into this and the pickle solution must be sufficient volume to cover your jewellery entirely).
IMPORTANT NOTE: Jewellery pickle is acidic and can damage pots/cups, it's highly unlikely to damage a ceramic cup or pot however if it say for instance has paintwork on it, this could potentially become stripped off. Probably best to use a pot/cup you don't care about just in case.
SAFETY: Do not worry about touching the jewellery pickle solution with your own hands, it is made up of natural ingredients and it cannot harm your skin during just brief encounters (rinse off your skin after touching the pickle solution). I will say though, if you have a cut on your hand and that cut gets near the pickle, it's going to sting to hell and back :D
We make the pickle solution now. Pour into a metal sauce pan enough vinegar (any sort of vinegar) to fully immerse the earrings you intend to clean. Add to this cup at least two table spoons of salt.
Now heat this solution (and stir a little bit) it until it's so hot it's almost boiling, but do not actually boil it, but get it quite hot.
Carefully pour your hot pickle solution into the ceramic bowl that contains your earrings, don't touch the pickle solution at this stage, not because the pickle itself can harm your skin but because it's hot and can burn you!
Now take a tablespoon of salt and pour it over the top of the jewellery that is sitting in the pickle solution.
Place a lid over the pickle pot just to help it retain it's heat as long as it can, and leave your earrings soaking in the pot for at least 2 hours. Try not exceed 6 hours ideally because pickle is acidic and you just want the tarnish removed, not for the pickle to begin to eat away at the actual metal.
Rinse your sauce pan thoroughly with water, as any residue pickle solution can eat away at the metal over night because the mix of vinegar and salt is very acidic. We once got a hole in a metal saucepan by leaving some pickle sitting in the saucepan overnight.
Take your earrings out of the pickle solution with your hands after at least 2 hours have passed, and thoroughly rinse your hands and earrings in water to remove all acidic residue that may continue to eat at the metal if you do not clean it off. CAREFUL: this is where you can accidentally lose jewellery down the plug hole, be sure it's fully and securely covered before you start.
Thoroughly dry your earrings, because wet metal in itself accelerates the oxidisation (tarnishing) process and so use cotton wool buds to get into the nooks as best as you can.
Now polish your earrings using a jewellery polishing cloth, go over it many times until the cloth no longer comes up with any black marks (the black marks are the tarnish being removed). Use a new cloth when a current cloth has become very dirty and keep gently rubbing and rubbing until all black is removed and you have a high shine.
What Are Jewellery Polishing Clothes?
It's possible you've never used them, but they're incredibly effective at removing tarnish and can bring your jewellery up to a beautiful shine. They're readily available to purchase online in affordable packs of say 25 or 50 and they look like this.
I hope this has been a useful guide to how you can clean earrings at home and you now know how to professionally clean not only earrings but rings, necklaces and more. Now go and check out our handmade jewellery ranges at www.taylortwo.co.uk