Nearly everyone has some odd pieces of jewelry lying around the home that you’d like to wear every once in a while but, as soon as you grab it, you realize it’s too dull and tarnished to put on and you toss it back in the drawer.

Of course, at the time you promise yourself faithfully that the next chance you get, you’ll clean it so it can be used the next time you want to use it. And, of course, you completely forget about it.

It’s time we helped you out and put together some great, easy, and affordable ways you can polish up your accessories without wasting a lot of time and effort. Plus, and there really is a PLUS here, more than likely you have everything you need in your kitchen cupboard to do the job already!

But first, a quick word of caution. If you have some favorite jewelry pieces that are family heirlooms or extremely important to you, take them to a professional who will guarantee the results and not place the blame on you if something unfortunate accidentally happens.

Check out these great ways you can clean your jewelry without leaving home:

1) Silver and Silverware

You can remove tarnish easily by soaking your silverware in hot water with a little baking soda.

  • Take a sheet of aluminum foil and press it smoothly into a bowl. Add hot water with a few spoonfuls of baking soda and swirl until thoroughly mixed.
  • Add the silver or silverware to the water mixture and wait a few minutes. Use a wooden or plastic spatula to move the items around to make sure the mixture gets to all the crevices.
  • Thanks to a process that chemists call ion exchange, the tarnish on the silver will transfer to the water without you scrubbing or even touching the items.

Use a soft lint-free cloth to wipe each piece and air dry.

2) Diamonds, Platinum, and Hard Metals

Here is a great method to clean hard stones and metals. It is similar to #1 above but adds salt to the mixture.

  • Mix up a combination of few spoonfuls of baking soda and a teaspoon of salt to a bowl full of hot water. Mix thoroughly.
  • Place your platinum, diamonds, or any other hard stones (not pearls or opals) into the bowl and leave them there for a few minutes.
  • Use a soft, lint-free cloth to clean the items and a toothbrush to get into all of the nooks and crannies.
  • Remove the items and rinse thoroughly with cold water.

Then, use a soft, lint-free cloth to dry. (Caution: Do not use the mixture for softer metals like silver and gold.)

3) Diamonds and Other Hard Stones (Alternative to #2)

  • Fill up a medium-size bowl of water and add in a couple of tablets or powder of Alka Seltzer. Wait for the fizzing to stop and give the mixture a quick stir to make sure it’s mixed in well.
  • Add the jewelry to the mixture and let it sit for about 20 minutes. If necessary, use a soft toothbrush to get any accumulated residue out of the nooks and crannies.

Remove the items from the mixture and rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. (Use regular Alka Seltzer and not a flavored version as it could contain dyes that could tint the jewelry.)

4) Pearls, turquoise, and Opals

Soft stones like pearls and opals are porous and can lose their luster over time. Whether yours are real or faux, cleaning them with care is a necessity.

The first rule to remember is that you can’t soak soft stones because the water can get the string and it will tend to break.

  • Mix up some warm water with a small amount of hair shampoo in a bowl and set it on a table.
  • Place a soft cloth next to the bowl and lay the strand on top of it.
  • Then, using a small brush (use a makeup brush or similar), dip the brush into the water mixture and brush each pearl or opal to remove dirt or grime.

5) Costume Jewelry

  • Mix up a bowl of water and dishwashing liquid and then use a lint-free cloth dipped in the mixture to wipe grime or smudges away from each piece.
  • Use a cloth dampened with clean water to wipe away any soap residue.
  • Pat dry with a lint-free clean dry cloth and lay each piece upside down so any moisture will drain away from the setting.

Remember that since costume jewelry stones are usually glued in place, never soak the pieces in water or the glue will loosen and the gems will fall out of the setting.

6) Gold

Mix us a solution of warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Place large gold pieces into the bowl. Smaller pieces should be placed into a strainer and lowered into the solution. Allow the pieces to soak for 5 or 10 minutes. Swish each of the items around and then take them out of the solution.

Lay each item separately onto a soft cloth and use a soft toothbrush to dislodge any dirt or grime. Then rinse all pieces under cold running water and buff dry using a soft lint-free cloth.

7) Brass

You’ve probably noticed that over time, even the shiniest brass will eventually become tarnished and dirty. One of the safest ways to clean brass is to use a mixture of vinegar and salt.

If your brass is new and is shiny, it’s probably lacquered. This means it has a clear sealer to help it from becoming discolored. Do not use this mixture with a lacquered surface or it will be damaged. Simply wipe the object with a damp cloth and, if necessary, use a pinch of salt as an abrasive. Then, wipe clean with a damp, clean cloth and dry.

Be sure to let us know if these ideas on making your jewelry shine have been helpful to you. If you have any thoughts or suggestions about any other home cleaning subjects you would like us to cover, please write us. And, if you live in the Chicago metro area and are interested in learning more about our home cleaning services and how we can help you maintain a safe and healthy living environment, give us a call. Our number is 708-599-7000. Or, contact us online for a free house or office cleaning consultation.