Though I love to browse Etsy and Pinterest and admire all the artsy jewelry, I don’t actually consider myself to be a big jewelry person.
I rarely wear anything more than my wedding rings, a pair of stud earrings, and a simple necklace. I have to admit to what some see as a bad habit, too: I sleep and shower in all of my jewelry. I know some of you are cringing at that, but if you were as talented at losing things at I am, you’d be hesitant to take off your favorite jewelry too. I’ve lost too many of my little treasures over the years, and I do not want my wedding rings to be added to the list of jewelry that I’m never going to see again.
The problem I have with wearing all of the same jewelry all the time is that it doesn’t take long for my pieces to lose their sparkle.
The rings have it the worst – I make biscuits, garden, clean out the chicken coop, change diapers (well, I used to, anyway) and do all sorts of stuff with my hands. My rings catch a lot of grime from all of that activity, so they require regular cleaning.
Since commercial cleaners can be expensive and are full of strong chemicals, I prefer to work with a natural, homemade jewelry cleaner. I’ve been using different methods for several years now, and this is what I’ve found to be most effective.
Homemade Jewelry Cleaner Ingredients
- witch hazel or white vinegar (find good quality witch hazel here or white vinegar here)
- tea tree oil (find 100% pure tea tree oil here)
- baking soda (find it in bulk here)
- an old toothbrush
Why these ingredients?
I’ve used both witch hazel and vinegar for cleaning my jewelry.
Witch hazel is slightly acidic, and vinegar much more so, but either will work for soaking your jewelry. This cleaning method is intended for high-quality jewelry and sturdy stones (I wouldn’t use it for opals or tanzanite, for example), and that is especially important to keep in mind if you’re using vinegar. Witch hazel is certainly the milder of the two, so use whichever ingredient you feel comfortable with.
Tea tree oil is a known disinfectant and anti-fungal. It isn’t completely necessary to add to your jewelry cleaner, but like I said above, my jewelry can get pretty gross. A small drop of tea-tree oil adds a real antiseptic boost to this homemade jewelry cleaner, so I’m happy to add it. Like I said – I’ve cleaned the chicken coop wearing my wedding rings. I’ll take all of the natural antiseptic power I can get. (For more information and other uses for tea tree oil, read this.)
Baking soda is a slightly abrasive, inexpensive scrubbing tool. Unlike the ingredients listed above, it’s basic rather than acidic. Baking soda is especially good for tarnished silver, but should never be used on aluminum. I find it works wonders on my diamond rings.
Directions: Swirl, Soak, Scrub
- Put the jewelry in a glass mason jar.
- Cover with ½ cup of vinegar or witch hazel. Add one drop of tea tree oil and swirl to mix.
- Allow jewelry to soak in the mixture overnight.
- The next morning, coat with baking soda and scrub with an old toothbrush, then rinse with water.
The first evidence you’re going to have that this worked will be all the stuff floating around in your vinegar/tea tree oil liquid. The last time I put my jewelry in this mixture I didn’t think it was too dirty, and it didn’t exactly need cleaning. Within just a few minutes, though, there was so much stuff floating around in the water that I was appalled.
Your jewelry will be noticeably cleaner after just the soak. It will even be disinfected, too. Adding the baking soda scrub at the end will ensure that you get everything clean, especially in all the little crevices. If your kitchen faucet has a high pressure setting, that will be the best thing to use for rinsing your jewelry. Just make sure you hold on tight, because searching for lost objects in the garbage disposal is one of the least pleasant tasks in the world. Take my word for it.
Personally, I love the feeling of wearing newly-cleaned, sparkly jewelry. If you find that you keep gazing at your rings and getting kind of lost in the sparkle, you’ll know that you’ve done a good job of cleaning them. And you’ll enjoy that look until the next time you make biscuits, put on lotion, or make your kids play-dough.
Good thing this is such a simple recipe – you’re probably going to need to use it often!
Does your jewelry get dirty, too? What’s the roughest thing you’ve put it through lately?