Your jewelry may be some of the most expensive things you own. Jewelry is also some of the most meaningful pieces when you consider your wedding band and gifts from your loved ones.

People like to buy jewelry to show they care. This is why consumers spend nearly $4.6 billion on jewelry for Mother’s Day alone.

Are you taking care of your precious jewelry? When you clean it, does it shine like it used to?

To get that shine, you need to avoid these common jewelry cleaning mistakes.

1. Don’t Wear Jewelry in the Shower

You may be getting clean in the shower, but your gold and fine jewelry are not. Some metals or okay in water like titanium, 14K gold, and certain grades of steel, but not all jewelry does.

Hard water damages your jewelry. If you like a hot shower, the heat can also damage the adhesives holding your jewelry together. This is why it’s best to take all jewelry off when you shower and wash your jewelry separately.

If you leave your jewelry on in the shower occasionally, it’s okay. It’s best not to make it a habit.

After your shower, you should leave your jewelry off while you apply other beauty products like lotion, perfume, and hairspray. These products contain harmful chemicals.

2. Reconsider Boiling Your Jewelry

Thinking that sticking your jewelry in boiling water is a good way to clean it without all those harmful chemicals and acids, right? Well, not really.

Brief periods of hot water are ok for some kinds of jewelry and steam is good as long as there is no glue. The real issue is the bottom of the glass or metal of a pot. When the jewelry comes in contact with your pot, it can get warped or turn an odd shape.

If you dip it quickly in boiling water, it shouldn’t cause much damage unless they are soft metals. Avoid boiling water with soft metal jewelry such as pure silver and gold.

3. Avoid Toothbrush and Toothpaste

You may see this cleaning hack all over the place. You can clean your jewelry with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Sounds good right?

A toothbrush has soft bristles and toothpaste helps your teeth get shiny. Well, there’s more to it than that!

Like we said above, some metals are soft and can damage easily. Some stones are also soft and get scratched. Toothpaste is abrasive to get those stains off your teeth, which means it can actually scratch your jewelry.

4. Bleach Is Not Good for Jewelry

Bleach gets the stains out of a lot of things, but you should never use it on your jewelry. It causes metal alloys and gold to breakdown, which will damage your jewelry beyond repair.

You should also avoid wearing jewelry while swimming or using a hot tub because chlorine will also damage your bracelets and necklaces.

Bleach is still ar too alkaline even when diluted. You don’t want to use things that are too alkaline as a cleaner just like you don’t want to use things that are too acidic like lemon juice. It’s best to find a jewelry cleaning kit that is balanced between the two.

5. Same Is True With Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another popular DIY solution. It can also brighten. Think about your hair.

However, it brightens your jewelry at a cost. It is incredibly acidic as we mentioned. This means it’s too abrasive for your soft and plated jewelry. Lemon juice can discolor, scratch, and chip your jewelry.

So when cleaning your earrings or other jewelry, it’s best to avoid weakening them with lemon juice.

6. Avoid Other Harmful Chemicals

When looking at cleaning agents, avoid those with acetone, ammonia, denatured alcohol, and other harsh agents. Ammonia can be effective in small concentrations; it can be hard to find the right balance to avoid harming your jewelry.

Vinegar is like lemon juice. It can be a great cleaning agent for things other than jewelry. Vinegar is extremely acidic and so is alcohol—stay away from using those on your jewelry.

Baking soda is also too alkaline. It can be just as damaging as chemicals that are too acidic.

7. Don’t Use Saline Solution on Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a common jewelry metal. Using a saline solution to clean this jewelry can damage it. This is because saline has salt that is corrosive, and salt is not kind to jewelry.

Be careful touching jewelry after using your contact solution. In addition, avoid wearing jewelry in the ocean because of the salt.

8. Leave Cleaning to the Professionals

It’s probably in your best interest to leave the cleaning to the professionals or buying professional cleaning kits instead of going the DIY method. You may save money, but this could ultimately damage your expensive jewelry.

Your jeweler can also give your recommendations on the best and safest cleaning products to use at home.

It’s best to protect your jewelry and make sure you have it cleaned the right way. Protect your jewelry even further by purchasing jewelry insurance in case something horrible happens.

Avoid These Jewelry Cleaning Mistakes

As you can see, most of these jewelry cleaning mistakes come from trying the DIY methods. Don’t use harmful chemicals even if they are natural. You don’t want anything too alkaline or acidic to clean jewelry.

Keep your jewelry shining bright. Consider only using professional solutions or taking them to the jeweler. Your jewelry is exposed to elements every day, so it’s important to keep up with regular cleanings.

Check out other tips and advice to help you look your best in our Fashion section. Find out what outfits look good with your sparkly, clean jewelry.

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