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How to Clean Gold-Plated Jewelry — So It Looks Brand New!

Many people love to go with gold-plated jewelry due to its affordability, practicality, and ease of availability in multiple styles. However, despite its incredible features, you might have to deal with tarnishing issues, which sometimes make its beauty fade away.

This is because the tiny gold layer might not be able to sustain its shine unless you regularly clean and take care of it. Now, you must be wondering how to clean gold-plated jewelry so it looks brand-new.

In this article, we give you 6 exclusive methods and 8 bonus tips to clean and prevent them from tarnishing. Also, we will answer some of the most common questions at the end.

So, stay tuned till the end, and let’s start!

Types of Gold-Plated Jewelry

Before we get into the actual process of cleaning your gold-plated jewelry, it’s crucial to know its types. Based on unique features, there are 3 main categories, including:

Gold Vermeil

It’s a common type of gold plating that incorporates sterling silver as the base metal, contains at least 10 karats gold, and is 2.5 microns thick. Due to its quality material and a thicker layer of gold, you will often see it in fine jewelry stores. Despite these features, the gold layer will tarnish over time. 

Gold-Filled Jewelry

Unlike solid gold jewelry, gold-filled jewelry is filled with a solid layer of gold that’s pressure-bonded to another metal, like silver or copper, to make it durable and stronger. That’s why most gold-filled jewelry can be worn for up to 20-30 years at most. But, note that the price varies with the thickness of the layer—the thicker it is, the more you need to pay for it.

Gold-Plated

This is the cheapest of all other types of gold jewelry and is plated with a thin layer of gold. The process involves a layer of gold bonded to a base metal—copper or silver—via an ionic bonding process or electricity.

Also, it’s one of the popular choices for most jewelry enthusiasts due to its low price and ease of use. However, it doesn’t last long as the thin gold layer tarnishes or fades away—if not cleaned properly.

How Long Should Gold-Plated Jewelry Last?  

We can’t precisely predict how long a piece of gold-plated jewelry will last because it depends on several factors. However, if the plating is a bit thicker, the chances are that it will last longer with you than jewelry with thin plating. 

If you intend to wear your gold-plated jewelry daily, it may tarnish or fade away more quickly. Usually, this type of jewelry can last up to 2 years or more, depending on the usage and maintenance. But longevity can be increased with proper care and measures taken beforehand, including routine cleaning and polishing it once a month.

How Often Should You Clean Your Gold-plated Jewelry?

Gold-plated jewelry should be wiped or thoroughly cleaned after every use. For this, you can use a microfiber cloth or a damp cotton ball to eliminate surface soil or marks and restore its shine. If your gold-plated jewelry has been exposed to interactive compounds, then a deep treatment is required. This is because these elements often cause a metal base to tarnish.

Why Does Gold-Plated Jewelry Tarnish?

There are several reasons why gold-plated jewelry tarnishes. One of which is its absorption or capturing ability. Gold-plated jewelry can absorb natural light and cosmetics and creams. Over time it continues to absorb until it loses its shine and becomes tarnished.

The molecules of base metals react with the thin gold layer and break it down. Or, the gold reacts with moisture, and air, leading it to oxidize. These molecules accumulate onto the gold plating, making it appear dull.

Cleaning Instructions That Make Gold-Plated Jewelry Shine

In this section, we reveal some of the best ways to clean gold-plated jewelry at home. So, let’s start!

1. Cleaning Gold-Plated Jewelry After Wearing

Cleaning Instruments of Gold-Plated Jewelry: Cotton, Earbuds, Water, Clean Cloth on a White Background
Source: Thespruce

It’s important to clean your gold-plated accessories using a microfiber cloth or a soft cotton ball to get rid of unnecessary dust and smudges to restore their shine. However, if your gold-plated jewelry has been exposed to interactive compounds such as acids, chlorine, sulphur, etc., then a deep treatment is required. This is because these elements often cause a metal base to tarnish.

So, before starting a cleaning process, make sure you have the following things:

·         Warm water

·         Dishwashing liquid

·         Jewelry cloth

·         Cotton ball  

·         A small bowl.

As soon as you’re done preparing these items, let’s begin with the actual process:

Clean Your Jewelry Using a Microfiber or Jewelry Cloth

The first step is to clean your gold-plated accessories. Gold-plated jewelry accumulates soil, body oils, or smudges. Use a microfiber or jewelry cloth to wipe the jewelry all over and leave it to dry before you store it away.

Prepare a Mixture

Mix warm water and dishwashing liquid in a small bowl to prepare a cleaning solution. Usually, you can add 2 drops of dishwashing liquid with one cup of water. This warm and soapy solution works best to treat any stuck or visible soil residues.

Time to Soak the Jewelry  

Unless your gold-plated jewelry is embellished with precious or semi-precious stones, it is best to use the soaking technique. Dip your piece of jewelry in the solution for 5-10 mins and then clean using a soft cotton cloth.

Rinse, Dry, and Buff Your Jewelry

A Human Hands Cleaning Gold-Plated Jewelry WIth A Clean Piece of Cloth
Source: Thespruce

Finally, rinse, dry, and buff your jewelry using warm water, a cotton cloth, and a jewelry cloth to bring back its shine, like it is brand-new.  

2. Deep Clean with Soap and Water

The method is similar to the previous one, but it is used to deep clean the jewelry. To restore its shine and clean it thoroughly, prepare a solution in a small bowl using mild liquid soap and warm water.

Submerge the jewelry in the water for up to 5-10 mins and don’t touch it during that time. After that, take it out and gently wipe all surface areas with the help of a soft cloth.

You can also use a child’s toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach areas. Once the dirt is removed, rinse again using warm and freshwater. 

Finally, take it out and dry it using a cloth before storing it. 

3. Use a Jewelry Polishing Cloth

This technique helps restore tarnished gold-plated accessories that need a little kick-start to get back to their original state. The jewelry polishing cloth can do wonders in treating tarnish and returning your gold-plated jewelry’s shine.

We suggest this method as it efficiently removes smudges, dust particles, and tarnish without harming the thin gold plating. Use a quality jewelry polishing cloth and gently rub it on all the sides, especially where you observe a dull color. Repeat the process whenever you see your jewelry is losing its shine. Buff it straight away, before it’s too late!

4. Use Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda for a Deep Clean

This deep-cleaning procedure is often used for heavily tarnished gold-plated jewelry. The method works well in severe cases when others fail to do so. 

The chemical reaction between the jewelry and the solution removes tarnish without damaging the thin gold plating.   

Here’s how you can follow these steps:

·         Take a glass bowl with aluminum foil.

·         Place the shiny side of the foil upwards.

·         Add a single teaspoon of baking soda along with a similar quantity of salt to the bowl.

·         Add 1-2 cups of hot water to the bowl.

·         Let the mixture dissolve partially so that you can submerge the jewelry in it.

·         Now, place your jewelry in the solution and leave for several minutes—in most cases, it’s up to 10 mins.

·         If you observe closely, you will see that the black and yellow flakes coming away from the jewelry. This is the sulfur and chlorine oxidizing. Also, these flakes will be attracted to aluminum due to their chemical nature.

·         When most of the tarnish is removed from the jewelry, take the piece from the bowl, and rub it gently with a cotton or microfiber cloth.

·         Finally, rinse in warm water, dry and buff it thoroughly before storing it in a jewelry box.

5. Cleaning Gold-Plated Jewelry Using Ammonia

Although ammonia is an effective cleaner and is often used to clean gold-plated jewelry, it can be corrosive in rare cases due to its chemical nature and properties. Only use it when there’s excessive tarnishing, as using ammonia can damage the plate. 

More specifically, never use ammonia to clean jewelry pieces with pearls or platinum, as it can damage these materials quickly.

The process to follow:

·         Add 1/6 Ammonia in a bowl filled with warm water

·         Stir the mixture to ensure it’s dissolved evenly

·         Submerge the gold-plated jewelry in the solution for no more than a minute or two, or the mixture will corrupt the thin gold plate.

·         Consider using a kitchen filter to extract jewelry from the solution. But if you don’t have one available, you can turn the bowl into a strainer or pick it up quickly by a hand

·         Rinse the piece of jewelry gently in warm water

·         Now, finally, dry the jewelry using any soft cloth or jewelry polishing cloth to buff it

·         Store your jewelry wherever you want, but we recommend that you use a soft and good quality jewelry box.

6. Let the Professionals Do Their Job!

Two People Making Natural Stone Jewelry On a Table Using Lots of Tools
Source: TTT Jewelry

If nothing works to clean your jewelry, it’s time to bring it to the professionals. Because they know their job well and specialize in cleaning and restoring gold-plated jewelry to its former glory. The best thing is that they will not only clean your jewelry but also polish and restore it (if needed).

How to Clean Embellished Gold-Plated Jewelry?

Gold Plated and Light Blue Earrings on a Transparent Background
Source: Papona

If your gold-plated jewelry is embellished with precious or semi-precious stones, it is better to avoid soaking practices. Because, in most cases, the embellishments are glued onto the jewelry, and soaking can loosen them. 

Therefore, as an alternative, you can use a cotton ball by dipping it into a dishwashing liquid to clean your jewelry piece(s). For a deeper process, rub gently and then rinse, dry, and finally, polish it.

How to Correct Cleaning Mistakes on Gold-Plated Jewelry?

If your jewelry remains dull and nothing works out, even after using silver polish, toothpaste, or another cleaner. Then prepare a water solution mixed with dishwashing liquid. As soon as you prepare it, submerge the jewelry in it for about 5-10 mins.

Now, use a cotton cloth to clean the dirt over by other methods. Rub gently to prevent removing the gold plating. But, if you end up damaging it—you may have to re-plate the jewelry. Consult your jeweler and seek the best solution! 

Tips to Prevent Gold-Plated Jewelry from Tarnishing

Here are some BONUS tips that you should keep in mind to avoid gold-plated tarnishing issues: 

·         Avoid spraying perfume or any other sprays when wearing jewelry, as the interaction of chemicals can damage it.

·         Clean your jewelry after every use or do a deep clean once every few weeks with a warm and soapy water mixture.

·         Make sure your hands are clean and free from any liquid or lotion when dealing with gold-plated jewelry.

·         Completely dry your jewelry before storing it in a jewelry box.

·         Wrap your rings, bangles, or necklaces separately with a soft cloth to keep them safe and scratches-free. Additionally, you can use silica gel packs to prevent tarnishing issues.

·         Don’t swim in a chlorinated pool while wearing gold-plated jewelry.

·         Avoid wearing your jewelry when cooking or exercising.

·         Seek professional help as soon as you see that the situation is not in your hands.

How to Store Gold-Plated Jewelry?

A White and Gold Color Modern Lacquer Jewelry Box
Source: Whowhatwear

Once you have cleaned your gold-plated jewelry, it is time to keep or store it in a safe place. An ideal solution for this is to use a jewelry box. But it is not necessary to have; you can store it anywhere you want. Make sure to keep gold-plated jewelry in a cool and dry environment, as it helps maintain its brightness and shine for years.  

FAQS

How to clean gold-filled jewelry?

Take mild soapy water and a soft child’s toothbrush, and carefully clean your gold-filled jewelry.  

Can you clean gold-plated jewelry with vinegar?

Yes, it’s a simple solution you can use to clean your jewelry. Plus, make it shine, too!

How do you remove tarnish from gold plated?

To remove tarnish from gold-plated jewelry, use a quality jewelry polishing cloth to remove the dirt and tarnish. If this solution doesn’t work, consider re-polishing the entire piece again.

How to polish gold-plated jewelry?

You can polish your gold-plated jewelry by rubbing it with a soft jewelry cloth. However, avoid using a polishing cloth as it can strip away the plating and add scratches to thin gold plating.

Conclusion

To sum up, this article was all about how you can clean your gold-plated jewelry and restore its look to brand new. But it’s advisable to keep in mind the tips mentioned above and mistakes to avoid while cleaning. Follow our effective techniques and let your jewelry shine once again! Looking for high-quality gold-plated or any other type of jewelry? Head over to our website and choose your favourite collection. If you need help deciding, depending on your unique requirements or queries, you can contact our specialists. Visit TTT Jewelry by clicking this link!

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