How to Remove Discoloration on Jewelry

Discoloration forms on jewelry because of body oils, cosmetics transferring from your skin to the jewelry and from normal wear. You don’t have to immediately head to a professional jeweler when your gold or silver jewelry becomes discolored. Try cleaning it at home first to remove the discoloration and restore the original appearance of the jewelry.

Restore the appearance of your discolored jewelry with a quick cleaning. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Gold

Step 1

Fill a small bowl with warm water. Add a few drops of mild dishwashing soap and mix it up well so the water is sudsy.

Step 2

Place the jewelry into the bowl of soapy water. Rub the jewelry around gently with your fingers.

Step 3

Dip a soft baby toothbrush into the soapy water. Use the brush to gently scrub the jewelry to remove the discoloration. Avoid scrubbing too hard, as the gold can become scratched.

Step 4

Rinse the jewelry with warm water to remove the soap residue. Dry thoroughly with a soft cotton cloth.

Silver

Step 1

Fill a small bowl with warm water and mild dishwashing soap. Mix it up well so the water is sudsy.

Step 2

Dip a soft cotton cloth into the soapy water. Use the cloth and soapy water to gently scrub the discolored areas of the jewelry.

Step 3

Rinse the jewelry with cool water. Wipe it thoroughly with a clean cloth until it’s completely dry.

Step 4

Mix one part warm water and three parts baking soda if the discoloration is still there. Wet the jewelry with water, then scrub gently with the baking soda mixture and a clean cloth until the discoloration is gone. If the jewelry has stones, do not scrub the stones with the baking soda. Rinse with clean water, then buff with a cloth to dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Small bowl

  • Mild dishwashing soap

  • Soft baby toothbrush

  • Soft cotton cloths

  • Baking soda

Tip

If your gold jewelry has stones attached, avoid soaking or submerging it in liquid for any length of time. Soaking the jewelry may loosen the glue holding the stone in place. Use the same cleaning products to remove the discoloration, but instead of submerging the jewelry, use a cotton swab or soft brush to clean away the discoloration. Rinse the jewelry with a clean, damp cloth, then dry thoroughly.

Wipe over your jewelry with a jewelry polishing cloth once all the discoloration is removed to restore shine to the piece.

If cleaning doesn't remove the discoloration from your jewelry, take it to a professional jeweler for a more thorough cleaning.

Warning

Avoid soaking silver jewelry in water, as this will speed up the tarnishing process. Gold jewelry is easily scratched, so don’t use baking soda for removing discoloration.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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