How To Clean Costume Jewelry?

Here are some ways to clean costume jewelry:

  1. Salt and Baking Soda Solution: Lay all of your darkened costume jewelry on a piece of aluminum foil. Mix one tablespoon salt and one tablespoon of baking soda and mix with one cup warm water. Pour into the foil-lined pan and soak for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water and dry with a soft cloth1.
  2. Dry Microfiber Towel: Start by carefully rubbing the jewelry with a dry microfiber towel. This will help to remove any dirt, oil, or buildup that may be on the jewelry2.
  3. Water and Mild Soap Solution: For a deep-clean, dampen a cotton swab in a solution of water and mild soap and use it to clear away any dirt or debris. Rinse and thoroughly dry the jewelry with a soft, lint-free cloth. If there is any dirt embedded in the crevices of the jewelry, use a cotton swab or a soft-bristled baby toothbrush to gently remove it3.
  4. Rubbing Alcohol: Rubbing alcohol is a safe and effective cleaning agent for fake jewelry. It will help extend the luster of your shiny metals and gemstones. You can apply it using a soft cloth or a cotton swab. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and dry with a soft cloth4.
  5. Warm Water and Gentle Soap Solution: Mix a solution of warm water with a few drops of gentle soap. Use a cotton swab or soft toothbrush to gently remove dirt, debris, and verdigris — the green gunk that forms on copper and brass jewelry. Rinse with cool water and dry with a soft cloth5.
  6. Hand Soap and Warm Water: Try using hand soap and warm water. This not only increases the chances of making the jewelry look pretty, but it also makes it smell good. Put as little water on the jewelry as possible, though, and limit your jewelry’s exposure to the water. Water can tarnish and rust costume jewelry if it sits for too long. Use a Q-Tip or toothbrush to get into small crevices6.

Why Clean Costume Jewelry?

Costume jewelry, also known as fashion jewelry, is a popular choice for accessorizing outfits due to its affordability and versatility. However, just like any other piece of jewelry, it requires regular cleaning and maintenance to preserve its beauty and prevent discoloration. In this article, we will guide you on how to clean costume jewelry effectively, using simple materials and methods. By following these steps, you can maintain the longevity and durability of your precious accessories.

Preserve Its Beauty

Costume jewelry is often adorned with various materials such as rhinestones, crystals, and enamel, which can lose their brilliance and charm over time if not cleaned regularly. By removing dirt, dust, and grime from your jewelry, you can restore its original shine and luster, making it the perfect accessory to enhance your outfit. Cleaning your costume jewelry will help it sparkle and shine, catching the eye of everyone around you.

Prevent Discoloration

One common issue with costume jewelry is discoloration, which occurs when the metal components react with air, water, or chemicals. This can result in the jewelry losing its original color, becoming tarnished or turning green. Regular cleaning is crucial to remove any residue that can cause discoloration and ensure that your costume jewelry retains its vibrant hues. By maintaining the cleanliness of your accessories, you can enjoy their beauty for years to come.

Maintain Durability

Proper cleaning and care also help to maintain the durability of costume jewelry. By removing dirt and debris, you prevent scratches and damage to the delicate materials. Regular cleaning also allows you to inspect each piece thoroughly, ensuring that there are no loose components or signs of wear and tear. By taking these preventive measures, you can extend the lifespan of your costume jewelry and continue to enjoy wearing it.

Materials Needed

Before we dive into the step-by-step cleaning process, let’s gather the materials needed to clean your costume jewelry effectively. These materials are easily accessible and will ensure that your cleaning process is safe and efficient.

Soft Toothbrush

A soft toothbrush is an essential tool for cleaning costume jewelry as it can reach small crevices and remove dirt effectively. Make sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid scratching the jewelry’s surface.

Mild Soap

Choose a mild soap that is gentle on the jewelry’s materials. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can cause damage. Dish soap or hand soap is usually sufficient for cleaning costume jewelry.

Warm Water

Warm water is ideal for cleaning costume jewelry as it helps to loosen dirt and grime. Make sure the water is not too hot, as some materials may be sensitive to high temperatures.

Lint-Free Cloth

A lint-free cloth is essential for drying and polishing your costume jewelry. Avoid using paper towels or tissues, as they may leave behind lint or residue.

Now that we have gathered the necessary materials, let’s move on to the step-by-step cleaning process to bring back the sparkle and shine to your costume jewelry.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Remove Excess Dirt and Dust

Before cleaning, remove any excess dirt and dust from your costume jewelry. Use a soft toothbrush or a clean, dry cloth to gently brush away any debris on the surface. This will prevent scratching during the cleaning process.

Prepare Cleaning Solution

Fill a small bowl with warm water and add a few drops of mild soap. Stir the solution gently to create a soapy mixture. Ensure that the soap is fully dissolved in the water before moving on to the next step.

Gently Clean with Toothbrush

Dip the soft toothbrush into the soapy water solution and gently brush the jewelry, paying attention to areas where dirt and grime may have accumulated. Be gentle and avoid scrubbing too hard to prevent damage to the jewelry.

Rinse and Dry Thoroughly

After brushing, rinse the jewelry under warm running water to remove any soap residue. Make sure to rinse all the crevices and hard-to-reach areas. Pat dry the jewelry using a lint-free cloth, making sure to remove all moisture.

Polish and Shine

To bring out the shine in your costume jewelry, use a lint-free cloth to gently polish the surface. Move the cloth in a circular motion, applying light pressure. This will help remove any remaining dirt or fingerprints, leaving your jewelry sparkling.

Inspect for Any Damage or Loose Components

Take this opportunity to inspect your costume jewelry for any signs of damage or loose components. Check for missing stones, loose clasps, or any other issues that may require repair. If necessary, consult a professional jeweler to ensure your jewelry remains in good condition.

Specific Cleaning Methods for Different Materials

Different materials require specific cleaning methods to ensure their longevity and avoid damage. Let’s take a look at some common materials found in costume jewelry and how to clean them effectively.

Silver Costume Jewelry

Silver jewelry can tarnish over time due to exposure to air and moisture. To clean silver costume jewelry, mix a small amount of baking soda with warm water to create a paste. Apply the paste to the jewelry using a soft cloth or toothbrush and gently rub the tarnished areas. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Gold Costume Jewelry

Gold jewelry is generally more resistant to tarnishing and discoloration. To clean gold costume jewelry, use a mixture of warm water and mild soap. Gently scrub the jewelry with a soft toothbrush or cloth, paying attention to any intricate details. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a lint-free cloth.

Gemstone Costume Jewelry

Cleaning gemstone jewelry requires extra care, as different gemstones have varying degrees of hardness and sensitivity. To clean gemstone costume jewelry, use a soft toothbrush or cloth dipped in warm soapy water. Gently brush or wipe the jewelry, making sure to avoid harsh scrubbing. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a lint-free cloth.

Pearl Costume Jewelry

Pearl jewelry is delicate and requires special care to preserve its luster. To clean pearl costume jewelry, dampen a soft cloth or sponge with a mixture of mild soap and water. Gently wipe the pearls, avoiding any harsh rubbing or soaking. Rinse the pearls under running water and pat dry with a lint-free cloth.

Beaded Costume Jewelry

Beaded jewelry can be cleaned using a soft toothbrush or cloth dipped in warm soapy water. Gently scrub the beads, focusing on any stained or dirty areas. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry with a lint-free cloth. Be careful not to tug or pull on the beads while cleaning to avoid breakage.

Proper Storage Tips

Proper storage is essential to prevent damage and maintain the beauty of your costume jewelry. Here are some tips on how to store your jewelry correctly:

Keep in a Dry Place

Ensure that your costume jewelry is stored in a dry environment, as moisture can cause damage and tarnishing. Avoid storing jewelry in the bathroom or any humid areas of your home.

Separate and Organize

Store each piece of jewelry separately to prevent tangling or scratching. Use jewelry boxes with compartments or individual pouches to keep your accessories organized and protected.

Avoid Exposure to Moisture

To protect your jewelry from moisture, consider adding silica gel packets or a moisture-absorbing product to the storage container. This will help prevent tarnishing and discoloration caused by humidity.

Protect from Sunlight and Heat

Avoid exposing your costume jewelry to direct sunlight or extreme heat, as it can cause fading or damage to certain materials. Store your jewelry in a cool, dark place to maintain its color and integrity.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While cleaning your costume jewelry, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can lead to damage or decreased longevity. Here are some mistakes to avoid:

Using Harsh Chemicals

Avoid using harsh chemicals, bleach, or abrasive cleaners to clean your costume jewelry. These can cause discoloration, metal erosion, or even damage the stones or enamel. Stick to mild soap and warm water for safe and effective cleaning.

Scrubbing Too Hard

Be gentle when cleaning your costume jewelry and avoid scrubbing too hard. Excessive scrubbing can scratch the surface, loosen stones, or bend delicate parts. Use a soft toothbrush or cloth and apply light pressure to avoid any damage.

Not Drying Properly

Properly drying your costume jewelry is crucial to prevent moisture-related damage, such as tarnishing or rusting. Make sure to dry your jewelry thoroughly using a lint-free cloth, ensuring there is no moisture left behind.

Not Storing Correctly

Improper storage can lead to tangling, scratching, or damage to your costume jewelry. Avoid tossing your jewelry in a drawer or mixed with other accessories. Invest in proper storage solutions to keep your jewelry organized and protected.

When to Seek Professional Help

In some cases, professional cleaning and repair may be necessary for certain costume jewelry pieces. Here are some instances when you should seek professional help:

Extremely Delicate or Valuable Pieces

If you have a particularly delicate or valuable piece of costume jewelry, it might be best to consult a professional jeweler. They have the expertise and specialized tools to handle fragile items without causing damage.

Severe Tarnishing or Damage

If your costume jewelry has severe tarnishing or damage that cannot be addressed with regular cleaning methods, professional help may be required. A jeweler can assess the situation and recommend appropriate cleaning and repair techniques.

Lack of Proper Cleaning Tools

If you don’t have access to the necessary cleaning tools or materials, or if you are unsure about how to clean a specific type of costume jewelry, consulting a professional can provide you with peace of mind and ensure that your jewelry receives the care it needs.

Frequency of Cleaning

The frequency of cleaning your costume jewelry depends on various factors, such as how often you wear it and the conditions it’s exposed to. Here are some general guidelines:

Regular Cleaning

For frequently worn costume jewelry, it is recommended to clean it every few weeks to remove dirt and oils that can build up. This will help maintain its shine and prevent any potential damage.

After Each Use

Certain costume jewelry pieces, such as earrings or bracelets, come into contact with the skin and sweat. It’s advisable to clean them after each use, especially if they are made of materials that may tarnish or react to body oils.

Long-Term Storage

Before storing your costume jewelry for an extended period, it’s important to clean it thoroughly to remove any dirt, oil, or residue. This will prevent tarnishing or discoloration while in storage.

DIY Homemade Cleaning Solutions

If you prefer to use homemade cleaning solutions instead of store-bought products, here are a few options you can try:

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Mix equal parts of white vinegar and baking soda to form a paste. Apply the paste to the jewelry using a soft toothbrush or cloth, then rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Aluminum Foil Method

Line a bowl with aluminum foil and fill it with warm water. Add a few tablespoons of salt and baking soda to the water. Place your jewelry in the bowl, ensuring that it is in direct contact with the aluminum foil. Leave it for a few minutes, then rinse and dry thoroughly.

Lemon Juice and Salt

Mix freshly squeezed lemon juice with a pinch of salt to form a paste. Apply the paste to the jewelry using a soft toothbrush or cloth, then rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Remember to test these homemade solutions on a small, inconspicuous area of your jewelry before applying them to the entire piece. Some materials may react differently, and it’s important to ensure compatibility before proceeding.


Cleaning costume jewelry is essential to preserve its beauty, prevent discoloration, and maintain durability. By following the step-by-step cleaning process outlined in this guide, you can effectively clean your costume jewelry using simple materials and methods. Remember to consider the specific cleaning methods for different materials and properly store your jewelry to prevent damage. Avoid common mistakes and seek professional help when needed. By investing in proper cleaning and care, you can enjoy your sparkling costume jewelry for years to come, enhancing your outfits and adding a touch of glamour to your style.

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