Jewelry Cleaning Myths

cleaning jewelry myths


Are rampant and can really scare some people from keeping their jewelry looking brand new. Horror stories of well-meaning people "ruining" their expensive items abound, but it shouldn't be scary. Over the next couple of days we'll be going over some of the myths behind cleaning your own jewelry, some tips and tricks to get the job done yourself, and a few product recommendations that we use in store on a daily basis. 



"Toothpaste is a create medium to clean jewelry with." This is a very common myth that we hear often at the store and initially it makes sense - toothpaste cleans dirty things - but what people forget is that toothpaste is also a mild abrasive. It's often recommended to as an alternative to wet sanding something. Toothpaste and gold actually have an almost identical hardness rating meaning toothpaste can scratch your jewelry. 

Speaking of hardness ratings, most gemstones like emerald and tanzanite have hardness ratings a few degrees down from diamonds meaning toothpaste could cause abrasive marks to appear on your stones with regular toothpaste cleanings. Pearls and opals are so soft they should never come in contact with jewelry cleaner or toothpaste. 

If you're cleaning a loose diamond or sapphire toothpaste is an acceptable cleaner. Other than that, stay away from it.


Bleach falls into this category too. It can touch your skin without causing harm so it's got to be safe for a super hard stone right? Not quite. Chlorine and bleach both are very caustic and easily have the ability to start breaking down the metal alloys in your jewelry causing pitting in the gold. Silver actually can change color completely when it comes in to heavy contact with either. 

Chlorine and bleach will not harm your diamond but it should be avoided if possible. Swimming occasionally in a diluted chlorine pool won't have an effect but definitely store your jewelry somewhere safe if you're an avid swimmer and again, keep all semi-precious or soft stones away completely from either compound. 


This is another one that makes sense at first thought - the best water to clean something with is usually hot, soapy water. That's true for most things but not for jewelry with semi-precious or soft stones. 

Unless the jewelry you're cleaning is strictly precious metal, diamonds and/or sapphire, avoid hot or boiling water. 


Your very best bet to clean your jewelry is to take it to a professional jeweler or the place you bought if from. They know the ins and outs of your piece and will be able to identify soft or semi-precious stones that need special treatment or cleaning. 

If you heart is set on DIY Jewelry Cleaning we'll be publishing another post here soon on how to clean your jewelry yourself at home!