Cleaning gold jewelry is something that most of do not think about.  We want our jewelry to look nice, but we normally do not look at it closely.  We just accept that it is there.  So, since we do not clean the gold jewelry very often, we really are not sure how to clean it when we decide to. 

However, your jewelry can collect dirt in the crevasses and oils from your body and makeup, and that will cause it to lose its shine.  Also, while gold does not tarnish like silver does, cheaper gold jewelry, though, may tarnish.  The purity of the gold is signified by the number of carats it is.  So, 24k gold is pure gold, while 14k gold is gold mixed with silver or another metal.   So the less expensive gold jewelry will need cleaned for it to keeps its shine.

Plain Gold Jewelry

For your plain gold jewelry, meaning the jewelry with no decorative stones or gems, just break out the soap and water.  Use warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap.  Let it soak for 20-30 minutes, and then wipe with a cloth.  Let it dry completely before putting it back on or away in the jewelry box.

Decorative Gold Jewelry

For the pieces of your gold jewelry that has gemstones, mix up your soap and water, but this time, use a cloth dipped in the water to wipe down the jewelry.  Use another cloth dipped in plain water to rinse.  The lay the pieces upside down so the water will run out of any spots it might be hiding.

If there are any spots that look like they need cleaning that the cloth does not reach, but a new toothbrush with the softest bristles you can find and use that.  Be careful not to scrub at it. Remember, gold is a very soft metal and can be easily scratched.   If the toothbrush does not get it, it is time to take it to a professional.

You may have heard of recommendations to use toothpaste or baking powder.  Do not use these materials.  They are way to abrasive and will only scratch your gold jewelry.  Another often mentioned method is to use ammonia mixed with water.  This is another to avoid.  If you have pearls in the jewelry, this will definitely hurt pearls and there are some other gems it will ruin.  The ammonia will also discolor the gold over time.  If you the water and soap does not work, take it to a professional.  You will be much happier.

Professional Cleaning

Professional cleaning will usually involve the use of an ultrasonic, Ionic or steam cleaning machine.  Not all of these are intended for use on all gold jewelry, so it is better to take your jewelry to a professional, instead of buying any home version. 

Extreme cleaning may be done by the professional to clear up any abuse of the jewelry by the wearer.  This will involve polishing with special cloths.

Most of the time is easy to do a decent job of cleaning gold jewelry.  Just take your time and be careful.