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NOW READING: How to Clean 18K Gold Plated Jewelry

how to clean 18k gold plated jewelry

How to Clean 18K Gold Plated Jewelry

How to clean 18K gold plated jewelry effectively starts with preparing a gentle cleaning solution. Mix warm water with a few drops of phosphate-free dish soap. Submerge your jewelry in this solution, ensuring that the pieces do not touch each other to avoid scratches. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub away any dirt or grime. After scrubbing, rinse each piece thoroughly with lukewarm water, then pat dry using a soft, lint-free cloth. It's important to store each piece of jewelry separately in a cool, dry place to prevent scratches and tarnish. Regular, careful maintenance is crucial to keep your 18K gold plated jewelry looking its best. For additional care tips and techniques, be sure to explore our Waterproof Jewelry collection.

Gather Your Materials

To properly clean your 18K gold plated jewelry, you'll need to gather a few essential materials first. Start by selecting a soft, lint-free cloth. This will help you avoid scratches and maintain the jewelry's luster. Microfiber cloths are an excellent choice for this purpose.

Next, find a small bowl to hold your cleaning solution, making certain it's clean and free from any contaminants that might damage your jewelry. You'll also need a soft-bristled toothbrush or a gentle brush specifically designed for cleaning delicate jewelry materials. This tool will help you reach intricate details without causing harm.


Additionally, have a pair of latex or nitrile gloves on hand to protect both your skin and the jewelry from oils and residues. For safe storage, it's important to have a clean, dry place to store your cleaned jewelry afterward. Consider using a jewelry box with soft lining or individual pouches to prevent scratches and tarnish.

Make sure the storage area is free from moisture and direct sunlight, as these can degrade the gold plating over time. By preparing these materials, you'll ensure a thorough and safe cleaning process for your cherished pieces.

Prepare a Cleaning Solution

Having gathered all your materials, the next step is to prepare a cleaning solution that's both effective and gentle on your 18K gold plated jewelry.

Start by considering eco-friendly alternatives, which aren't only safe for your jewelry but also kinder to the environment. One of the most recommended homemade recipes involves using mild dish soap and warm water.


First, take a small bowl and fill it with lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water, as it can damage the gold plating. Add a few drops of mild, phosphate-free dish soap to the water. Stir the mixture gently until you see a few bubbles forming. This simple solution is enough to loosen dirt and grime while preserving the integrity of the gold plating.

For those seeking an eco-friendly alternative, consider incorporating white vinegar and baking soda. Mix one part white vinegar with three parts water in a separate bowl. Then, add a pinch of baking soda. This combination creates a natural, non-toxic cleaning agent that's equally effective.

Soak the Jewelry

You'll need to prepare a bowl of warm, soapy water to start. Carefully submerge your 18K gold plated jewelry in the solution, ensuring each piece is fully immersed.

Allow the jewelry to soak for 10-15 minutes to loosen any dirt or residue.

Prepare Warm Soapy Water

Start by filling a small bowl with warm water and adding a few drops of mild dish soap, creating a gentle cleaning solution for your 18K gold plated jewelry. Ensuring the right water temperature is essential; the water should be lukewarm, not hot, to avoid damaging the delicate plating. Aim for a temperature that's comfortable to the touch, around 100°F (38°C).

Next, select an appropriate soap type. Use a mild dish soap that's free from harsh chemicals, fragrances, and dyes. Harsh ingredients can erode the gold plating over time, reducing its luster and longevity. A gentle dish soap will effectively clean your jewelry without compromising its quality.


Stir the water and soap mixture slowly with a non-abrasive utensil, like a plastic or wooden spoon, until you see a few bubbles form. This ensures that the soap is evenly distributed throughout the solution. You don't want an overly soapy mixture, just enough to create a light sudsy effect.

Your cleaning solution is now ready. This gentle, warm soapy water will help loosen any dirt or oils clinging to your 18K gold plated jewelry, preparing it for the next cleaning steps.

Submerge Jewelry Carefully

Gently place your 18K gold plated jewelry into the soapy water, ensuring each piece is fully submerged without overcrowding the bowl. The water temperature should be warm but not hot, as excessive heat can compromise the gold plating. Carefully handle each piece to prevent any accidental scratches or damage.

When submerging your jewelry, make sure it's evenly spaced out and not touching other pieces. This will help avoid any potential abrasion that can occur from metal-to-metal contact. It's crucial to keep the pieces from bumping into each other, as 18K gold plating is delicate and can easily wear off with rough handling.

Always use your fingers or a soft cloth to place the jewelry in the water, as using metal tools can inadvertently scratch the surface. Be mindful of any intricate designs or settings, ensuring that all parts are fully submerged. This allows the soapy water to reach every nook and cranny, ensuring a thorough cleaning.

Following these handling precautions will help maintain the integrity and luster of your 18K gold plated jewelry, preparing it for the next steps in the cleaning process.

Time the Soaking Period

Allow your 18K gold plated jewelry to soak in the soapy water for approximately 10-15 minutes. This soaking duration is important for loosening dirt and grime without damaging the delicate gold plating. Use a timer to guarantee timing precision. Over-soaking can lead to the breakdown of the gold layer, while under-soaking mightn't effectively clean the jewelry.

Start by setting a reliable timer, whether it's on your phone or an actual kitchen timer. Accuracy in timing is vital. Once the timer is set, gently place each piece of jewelry into the soapy water, ensuring everything is fully submerged. Avoid any agitation or scrubbing at this stage; simply let the solution work its magic.


During this soaking period, the mild soap will break down oils and dirt accumulated on the jewelry. After the timer goes off, promptly remove the jewelry. Leaving it in longer than the recommended soaking duration can risk tarnishing or weakening the gold plating. Timing precision ensures that the cleaning process is both effective and safe.

Follow this step meticulously for the best results, preserving the beauty and longevity of your 18K gold plated pieces.

Gently Brush the Surface

After soaking, use a soft bristle brush to gently clean the surface of your 18K gold plated jewelry. Apply light pressure to avoid scratching the delicate gold layer.

Focus on intricate details and crevices where dirt often accumulates.

Use Soft Bristle Brush

A soft bristle brush, such as a toothbrush, should be used to carefully remove dirt and grime from the surface of your 18K gold plated jewelry. Brush selection is essential; choose a brush with soft, fine bristles to avoid scratching the delicate gold plating. Make sure the bristle quality is high, as cheap brushes can shed bristles that may get stuck in the intricate details of your jewelry.

Begin by dampening the soft bristle brush with lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water as it can damage the gold plating. Gently apply a small amount of mild soap or a specialized jewelry cleaning solution to the brush. Confirm the soap is free from harsh chemicals that could tarnish or wear down the gold plating.

Using the soft bristle brush, gently clean the jewelry by brushing in small, circular motions. Focus on areas where dirt and oils are likely to accumulate, such as crevices and intricate designs. Be thorough, yet gentle, to make sure you don't damage the plating.

After brushing, rinse the jewelry with lukewarm water to remove any soap residue. Pat it dry with a soft, lint-free cloth, making sure no moisture remains.

Light Pressure Technique

Use a feather-light touch to gently brush the surface of your 18K gold plated jewelry, making sure you don't exert excessive pressure that could damage the plating. Begin by selecting a soft, non-abrasive cloth or a soft-bristle brush specifically designed for delicate jewelry. Hold the piece in one hand and, using the other, apply gentle wiping strokes.

To effectively remove any accumulated dirt or oils, employ circular motions. This technique helps in evenly distributing the pressure, minimizing the risk of scratching or wearing down the gold plating. Always bear in mind, the focus is on light pressure. The goal is to clean the jewelry without affecting its delicate surface.

After completing the initial brushing, inspect the jewelry under good lighting. If you notice any stubborn spots, repeat the gentle wiping and circular motions, focusing on those areas. Avoid using excessive force, as this can strip the thin layer of gold, revealing the base metal underneath.

Once the jewelry appears clean, give it a final gentle wipe with a dry, soft cloth to remove any lingering moisture. This step ensures your 18K gold plated jewelry remains lustrous and free from potential tarnish.

Rinse Thoroughly

Thoroughly rinse your 18K gold plated jewelry under lukewarm running water to make certain all cleaning agents are completely removed. The water temperature needs to be just right—not too hot and not too cold—ideally around room temperature to avoid thermal shock, which can cause damage to the plating.

Hold each piece under the gentle flow, making sure every surface, nook, and cranny gets rinsed. Use your fingers to help guide the water over the jewelry, ensuring it reaches every part. This step is essential because any residual soap or cleaner can cause tarnishing or dullness if left on the piece. It's important to be thorough but gentle, avoiding any vigorous scrubbing that could wear down the gold plating.


Once you've finished rinsing, the drying method you choose is equally important. Although the next subtopic will cover this in detail, remember that air drying isn't recommended, as it can leave water spots on the jewelry.

Instead, prepare to use a soft, lint-free cloth to pat the jewelry dry. This method helps maintain the shine and integrity of the gold plating, ensuring it looks its best for years to come.

Dry With a Soft Cloth

Gently pat your 18K gold plated jewelry dry with a soft, lint-free cloth to prevent water spots and maintain its shine. Making sure your jewelry is dry completely is vital, as lingering moisture can lead to tarnishing and dull its appearance over time. Use a microfiber or a similar non-abrasive cloth, which is ideal for soaking up water without scratching the delicate gold plating.

Hold each piece carefully and blot gently, ensuring to reach all crevices and intricate designs where water might hide. Don't rub the cloth vigorously against the surface, as this can wear down the gold plating. Instead, use light, patting motions to absorb the moisture.

It's important to avoid moisture at all costs once you've dried your jewelry. Any remaining water can cause damage, promoting corrosion or discoloration. After patting it dry, let the piece sit in a dry, well-ventilated area for a few minutes to make certain it's completely moisture-free. This step is essential for preserving the longevity and appearance of your 18K gold plated jewelry.

Store Properly

Proper storage is crucial for maintaining the brilliance and integrity of your 18K gold plated jewelry. To start, always store each piece separately in a soft pouch or a lined jewelry box. This prevents scratches and contact with other metal pieces that might cause abrasions.

Avoid sunlight when deciding on a storage location. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause the gold plating to fade over time. Instead, opt for a cool, dry place such as a drawer or a jewelry cabinet. Humidity can also be detrimental, so if you live in a particularly humid environment, consider using a dehumidifier or silica gel packets to keep the storage area moisture-free.

To prevent tangling, especially with necklaces and bracelets, lay each piece flat or hang them individually. Jewelry organizers with hooks or compartments work well for this purpose. For delicate chains, you can thread them through a straw before storing to keep them untangled.

Additionally, keep your jewelry away from chemicals like those found in perfumes, lotions, and cleaning products, as these can tarnish the gold plating. By following these detailed instructions, you'll guarantee your 18K gold plated jewelry remains stunning and pristine.

Regular Maintenance Tips

To keep your 18K gold plated jewelry looking its best, incorporate regular maintenance into your routine. Start by gently wiping your pieces with a soft, lint-free cloth after each use to remove oils and dirt. This simple step helps maintain their shine and prevents tarnishing.

Avoid chemicals at all costs. Perfumes, lotions, and even household cleaning products can damage the gold plating. Always put on your jewelry after applying these substances and avoid wearing it while swimming or bathing. Chlorine and saltwater are particularly harmful and can lead to discoloration.

Regular inspections are essential. Examine your jewelry closely for any signs of wear or damage. Look for areas where the gold plating might be thinning or scratching. If you notice any issues, consider consulting a professional jeweler for repair or re-plating to extend the life of your pieces.

Additionally, store your gold plated jewelry in a cool, dry place, ideally in a jewelry box lined with anti-tarnish cloth or in individual pouches.


By following these steps, you'll guarantee your 18k gold plated jewelry remains in pristine condition.

Always gather your materials first and prepare a gentle cleaning solution.

Soak the jewelry briefly, then use a soft brush to clean it delicately.

Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.

Proper storage and regular maintenance will keep your pieces looking their best.

With these expert tips, your jewelry will maintain its elegance and shine for years to come.

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