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How to Clean Fashion Jewellery

Fashion jewellery can be really pretty even if it is not made of precious gems. But keeping it beautiful can be a task. Fashion jewellery can’t take wear-and-tear the way fine jewellery can. It tarnishes from water, air exposure and even creams and lotions. So, learning how to care for your items so that they remain beautiful for as long as possible is key, especially if you want to wear them for years to come.

Pick a day and collect the jewellery that needs to be cleaned:

There’s no hard and fast rule as too when it should be cleaned. Generally, the rule of thumb is the more you wear it, the more frequently you need to clean it. Clean it about once every few months or when it starts to look dull.  Keep the following in mind:

  • Remember that fashion jewellery is not genuine gold or sterling silver and does not have precious gemstones.
  • Keep in mind that plated jewellery is considered "authentic." Since the top layer of metal is authentic silver or gold, it is considered "real" jewellery, even though it is not solid gold or silver all the way through.
  • If you’re not sure if a piece of jewellery is real or fake, have a jeweller test the metal and the gems for authenticity.

Inspect the jewellery and keep note of the following:

  • Notice if it has any gemstones on it. If it does, then you need to be careful how much liquid you apply around that area.
  • The liquid might get underneath the gemstones and loosen the glue under the gemstones, which might make them fall off later. Also, too much water could ruin the foil backing that makes fake gemstones appear sparkly.
  • Don’t let any water pool and slide under them so the glue holding them down doesn’t loosen.

Using a Q-tip or toothbrush to clean the jewellery:

  • These common products most people have in their homes and they work well to get at tough-to-clean crevices or around gemstones.
  • Your Q-tip should start to show signs of dirt and grime removal. The end of it should start to get dirty.
  • Make sure the toothbrush is new, and that it hasn't been used before. You don't want to transfer material on an old toothbrush onto the jewellery.
  • Rub the dry soft toothbrush or Q-tip on the jewellery to remove verdigris. Verdigris is the green gunk that builds up on some fashion jewellery.

Using lemon to clean fashion jewellery:

  • Lemon has been used for a long time to rid jewellery of the oxide layer that forms on metals with the passage of time. You might want to add a little baking soda to the lemon.
  • Lemon is a natural acid and rubbing a half cut lemon on jewellery can hasten the process of cleaning.
  • You could juice a lemon in a small plate, and then rub this juice over the jewellery that you intend to clean, and then use a rough cloth to rub vigorously against the jewellery.

Using hand soap and warm water:

  • This method not only increases the chances of making the jewellery look pretty, but it also makes it smell good.
  • Put as little water on the jewellery as possible, though, and limit your jewellery's exposure to the water. Water can tarnish and rust fashion jewellery if it sits for too long.
  • Use a washcloth to gently clean the jewellery.
  • Rinse the jewellery in cool water, and dry the jewellery completely with a soft cloth.

 Using baby shampoo:

  • Baby shampoo is a milder shampoo, so it can be a good cleaning agent for fashion jewellery.
  • Mix together one drop each of baby shampoo and water. Use a soft toothbrush or Q-tip to clean hard-to-reach spots. Mix it until it is about the consistency of a thick soup. If the mixture is too thick, add a few additional drops of water.
  • Rinse the baby shampoo off quickly in cool water, and dry with a clean, soft hand towel or microfibre cloth.

Other cleaning methods:

  • Cleaning fashion jewellery in vinegar can leave the chains shiny. The soft bristle toothbrush can help if the jewellery contains gems by getting in cracks. You can simply apply the vinegar to a sponge, and use it to clean the jewellery.
  • Another natural product that can be used to clean jewellery is olive oil. Olive oil will make it shine, but make sure to wash it off.

Points to remember:

  • Anything water-based can potentially tarnish your fashion jewellery, even perfume and lotions can tarnish the finish.
  • If you spray your perfume and put on your lotions first, you will reduce the chances they will coat the jewellery. Wait until your body is dry. Then, put on your fashion jewellery.
  • If you wipe your jewellery down with a clean microfibre cloth after each use, you won’t have to clean it as often.
  • Wiping it down daily also limits your jewellery’s exposure to water or anything that it might have been exposed to when you were wearing it that day.
  • You might try storing the jewellery in ziplock bags. Designate one piece per bag. Put the jewellery in. Squeeze all the air out of the bag. Then close it.
  • With the air removed, the metal cannot oxidise or turn jewellery green from exposure to the air, so it will look cleaner and newer for a longer period of time.