How to Clean Earrings Safely & Easily - Public Goods

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How to Clean Earrings Safely & Easily

Jewelry can help make an outfit look more put together, but not if the jewelry is tarnished and dull. Time, beauty products, and exposure to the elements can all leave your favorite earrings and other jewelry looking lackluster. Your best pieces of jewelry may have lost some of their sparkle, but fear not, you can easily restore them in a jiff.

Tackling dull jewelry, especially pieces that may be vintage or have sentimental value, can be nerve-wracking. No one wants to accidentally scratch Grandma’s wedding band with the wrong cleaner. We’ve compiled some tips and tricks to get the jewelry you love looking new again safely and simply.

When your jewelry has lost its “wow”, try these go-to fixes for restoring your favorite accessories using just a few simple supplies.


Supplies Needed to Clean Earrings

You can easily clean your earrings using simple ingredients you already have in your home. This is a simple and inexpensive alternative to purchasing jewelry cleaning solutions. To prepare a DIY cleaning solution at home you’ll need the following:

Hydrogen peroxide- hydrogen peroxide can be used as a gentle disinfectant.

Toothbrush– a soft bristle toothbrush can be used for certain stones to gently scrub away dirt and residue.

Dish soap– mild dish soap is a great way to clean and remove oils from jewelry.

Baking soda– baking soda can be used as a paste to scrub buildup off of delicate jewelry.

Toothpick– toothpicks are a great tool to remove any gunk or grime from around stones or any nook and cranny.

How to Clean Earrings With a DIY Solution

Here are a few simple recipes to effectively clean your earrings using cheap ingredients readily available at any retail store.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean and disinfect your earrings, and it is something most people already have in their bathrooms. It’s very simple to use hydrogen peroxide to give your earrings a good sterilization and only requires a few steps. You can simply dip a cotton ball in hydrogen peroxide and gently wipe it over the earrings. To achieve an even deeper clean and remove buildup, you can soak the earrings in a shallow bowl of hydrogen peroxide and then put them in a cup of hot water to rinse. After a minute of being placed in the hot water, use a Q-tip to clean out any gunk that’s still present.

Hydrogen peroxide is a great cleaning agent for jewelry because it will eventually evaporate into water once exposed to air.

Mild dish soap and warm water

The best homemade solution for cleaning earrings is simply dish soap and warm water. Mild dish soap can help wash away dirt and buildup while also helping sanitize the earrings. To use this DIY solution, you will need a mild dish soap, a soft bristle toothbrush, a bowl of warm water, and a microfiber cloth.

How to clean earrings with dish soap:

  1. Put a few drops of dish soap into the bowl of warm water.
  2. Allow the earrings to soak in the mixture for 10-30 minutes depending on the condition of the earrings.
  3. Gently scrub the earrings with a soft-bristle toothbrush to remove any debris from around the stones.
  4. Use a toothpick to get into crevices and remove grime that may have collected.
  5. Rinse the earrings with warm water.
  6. Dry the earrings with a microfiber cloth.
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Baking soda paste

To clean dirty jewelry with tarnish or grime, a simple baking soda and water paste is a great method to use. To make the paste, you will need a small mixing bowl with water, baking soda, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and a lint-free cloth.

How to clean earrings with a baking soda paste:

  1. Mix baking soda with a small amount of water to create a paste.
  2. Apply a small amount of baking soda paste onto the earrings and rub with your fingers or a soft toothbrush.
  3. Rinse off the paste from the earrings with warm running water.
  4. Dry with a microfiber or lint-free cloth.

Aluminum foil soak

Another easy DIY jewelry cleaner for your diamond and silver pieces is an aluminum foil soak. This type of soak uses a chemical process called ion transfer to remove tarnish from silver jewelry. To use an aluminum foil soak for cleaning earrings you’ll need aluminum foil, baking soda, salt, dishwashing detergent, and warm water.

How to clean earrings using an aluminum foil soak:

  1. Line a baking sheet or shallow bowl with aluminum foil and place your silver earrings onto the foil.
  2. Next, sprinkle about 1tbsp baking soda and 1tbsp salt over the baking sheet and add one drop of dish or hand soap, and enough water to cover the jewelry. The concoction will fizz up when it’s ready to have the jewelry added.
  3. Soak the silver earrings for about 10 minutes, flip the pieces over and soak for an additional 5-10 minutes.
  4. Remove the jewelry from the baking sheet and rinse with warm water. Pat dry with a paper towel or lint-free cloth.

An important note: Silver jewelry is a soft metal that can be easily scratched by toothbrush bristles.

How to Clean Earrings Using Jewelry Cleaning Solutions

You can easily clean earrings with plain water and a toothbrush or cloth. However, if you have earrings with intricate designs or small stones, you would get a better result with a jewelry cleaning solution. There are many great options you can purchase and a few DIY solutions that are inexpensive and easy to make.

Some top-rated, premade solutions can be easily found at most retail box stores or online. Here are our top picks for effectively cleaning earrings:

Weiman Jewelry Cleaner

Weiman is a trusted brand for cleaning your silver, gold, diamond, and precious stone jewelry safely and effectively. Use the included basket and brush to gently remove dirt and other gunk from your earrings. It’s a simple way to breathe new life into your old earrings.

Maui Liquid Jewelry Cleaner

This multi-use cleaner is designed to clean silver and gold jewelry as well as diamonds and precious stones. Simply place the earrings or other jewelry in the provided basket to submerge into the solution for 5 to 10 minutes. The result? Shiny, sparkling earrings that look brand new.

Connoisseurs Jewelry Cleaner

This cleaner is excellent for sterling silver to remove tarnish and restore shine. The result is a shiny finish that leaves your earrings looking new. Connoisseurs’ jewelry cleaner is not intended for use on gemstone jewelry, so stick to a homemade or gentler cleaner for your favorite gemstone earrings.

Once you choose the best jewelry cleaning solution, you can quickly put them to work with just a few simple steps:

Gather the earrings you want to clean, and check if the solution is safe to be used on that particular jewelry. Some gemstones can be damaged when exposed to cleaning solutions or hot water.

Place the earrings into the provided basket or use a small container, plastic cup, or another small vessel you can submerge your earrings into with the cleaning solution.

Keep the earrings soaking in the container for at least 5 minutes, making sure to follow the directions on the solution label.

Gently scrub your earrings with a toothbrush to remove any debris on the jewelry. Be careful to use light pressure when you are cleaning earrings with a toothbrush as it can cause damage to the jewelry.

In order to get the best result, you may need to repeat the process several times if your earrings are tarnished or dirty.

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How to Clean Earrings Featuring Gemstones

If you’re trying to clean your grandmother’s favorite earrings, be sure to note that some gemstones and metals react poorly to certain chemicals. Specifically, when soaking some gemstones, the core of the stone can potentially be dissolved.

Which gemstones cannot be exposed to cleaning chemicals?

As a general rule, stones such as a Diamond, Sapphire, Ruby, Amethyst, and Tourmaline can safely be exposed to jewelry cleaning chemicals and hot water. However, some gemstones can be damaged by using cleaning chemicals. Avoid using cleaning chemicals and hot water on these gemstones:

  • Emerald
  • Aquamarine
  • Pearls
  • Peridot
  • Onyx
  • Garnet
  • Kunzite
  • Turquoise

How to clean gemstone earrings:

Avoid soaking gemstones in any solution, instead use a cloth dipped in a gentle dish soap and water mixture and dab lightly.

You can also purchase cleaning cloths at most jewelers that are safe for almost any kind of stone.

According to a test study done by Good Housekeeping, using seltzer water and mild dish soap was an effective way to safely clean gemstone jewelry. The carbonation from the seltzer water helped free some of the debris from the jewelry to be easily wiped away.

Tips for Keeping Your Jewelry Looking New

When you get new earrings, you want to keep them looking new for as long as possible. There are a few simple ways to maintain the shine of new jewelry.

Avoid using hairspray or lotions while wearing jewelry. Oils, hairspray, and soap residue can cause tarnish and a film on your jewelry and inside any crevices.

Remove jewelry before you take a shower. It’s important to remove jewelry before taking a shower, washing dishes, going swimming, or any other activity with prolonged water exposure. Even plain water can cause damage to certain stones and metals over time.

Apply clear nail polish on your favorite pieces. A thin layer of clear nail polish can act as a protective barrier against dirt, grime, and residue. It can also help prevent discoloration and chipping of your costume and inexpensive jewelry.

Keep your earrings and other jewelry in a ziplock bag. Storing your silver jewelry in a ziplock bag helps ward off tarnish of silver jewelry pieces.

Wipe off pearl earrings with a soft microfiber cloth after each wear to prevent the yellow stains that can occur from exposure to oils from the skin.

Why Cleaning Earrings Regularly Is Important

Since earrings are touching your ears for a period of time, they are more prone to infection and harboring bacteria. Jewelry that goes into a part of your body needs to be regularly cleaned and disinfected to keep the skin healthy and free from infection.

Board-certified dermatologist Shari Sperling recommends you clean both the ear lobe and piercing hole on your lobe at least once per week to remove any bacteria. She also advises cleaning earrings worn regularly about once a week, and all the earrings in your jewelry box about once per month.


Cleaning your favorite earrings can be a daunting task, but it’s nothing to fear. Using a gentle cleaning solution you make yourself or purchase can help easily restore the luster your earrings are missing.

If you have expensive jewelry or pieces that are priceless to you such as an heirloom, you can always take your jewelry to a jeweler to have it steam cleaned professionally.

Enjoy more DIY cleaning tips and tricks on our blog.

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