How to Clean Your Pearls: Gently and Effectively!

Pearl necklace

Pearls are an excellent addition to any jewelry collection. A pearl necklace is a perfect accessory for a black-tie affair. Pearls can also elevate a more casual look, as you can pair them with jeans and a blazer for a touch of elegance. 

The downside to pearls is that they can sometimes be expensive. However, if you properly take care of your pearls, they can last you for years.

Read this guide from Lackore Couture to learn how to gently and effectively clean your pearls

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Royal Jewelry 

Inspect Your Pearls 

Before you begin cleaning your pearls, it’s a good idea to give them an inspection to make sure they’re still in good condition. If you have a pearl necklace or bracelet, look at the silk strand to ensure it hasn’t stretched. Also, make sure you can still open the clasps properly.

If you own a pair of pearl earrings, check the posts' attachments to ensure they're still properly intact. 

How to Clean Your Pearls 

Pearls in a bowl

Here are the steps you need to take to clean your pearls:

Mix Dishwasher Detergent with Water 

Begin by mixing mild dishwashing detergent with water to clean your pearls. We recommend using warm, soapy water and ensuring the dish detergent is mild before you get started. Harsh dishwasher detergent can damage your pearls, as it can scratch the pearls and rub off the nacre, which is the outer coating of the pearls that keeps them protected. 

Add one teaspoon of detergent per 1 liter of warm water to dilute the detergent. While you can use a cleaning product meant specifically for jewelry, check the label beforehand to ensure it’s safe for pearls

Additionally, don’t use vinegar or lemon to clean your pearls, as these products have high pH levels that can damage your pearls. 

Soak the Pearls 

It's time to soak your pearls once you've made the cleaning solution. Submerge your pearls in the mixture, allowing them to sit there for about 10 to 15 seconds. 

If you’re not comfortable with submerging your pearls, you can dampen a dry cloth with the soapy mixture and clean your pearls by hand. 

Wipe Pearls Down with a Damp Cloth 

Once you've finished cleaning your pearls with the soapy mixture, wipe them down with a damp cloth soaked in warm water to rinse off any dirt or soap on the pearls. 

Make sure to wipe down your pearls gently, as you don’t want to cause any damage to them

Rub Your Pearls With a Smooth, Clean Towel 

After wiping your pearls down with a damp cloth, rub with down with a smooth, dry towel. Then, lay the pearls on a flat surface so they can completely dry. Don’t use hot tools (like a blow dryer) to dry your pearls, as this can cause damage. 

Air-drying is the best method to keep your pearls safe. Also, ensure your pearls are completely dry before wearing them again, as moisture can weaken the pearl necklace’s string. 

Related: How to Clean Beaded Jewelry 

Pearl Maintenance Tips 

Pearl necklace and white flowers

In addition to cleaning your pearls regularly, it’s essential to take steps to maintain your pearl jewelry. Here’s what to do:

Wear Your Pearls Often 

This one should be easy, as pearls are so beautiful! Pearls do best in slightly moist environments, so wearing them often will prevent them from drying out and ensure they last a long time. 

Wipe Your Pearls Down 

When you take your pearls off, wipe them down with a soft cloth before storing them. This will ensure dirt and grime don’t get stuck to your pearls. 

Prevent Yellowing 

Real pearls are organic, meaning their color is subject to change. Store your pearls in a non-abrasive fabric pouch to prevent them from yellowing. You can keep your pearls moist by placing them on a damp cloth from time to time. 

Are you wondering how to spot real pearls? Click here to find out

Store Pearls Separately 

Pearls shouldn’t be stored with other jewelry, as doing so can cause them to scratch. Find a special spot for your pearls in your jewelry box. Or, as we recommended above, store your pearls in a separate pouch. 

You should also store your pearls flat to prevent the silk thread from stretching. 

Last On, First Off 

You should put your pearls on last when getting dressed and take them off first when getting undressed to prevent makeup, perfume, and hairspray from coming in contact with your pearls. 

Avoid High Temperatures

While pearls pair well with nearly any outfit, you should avoid wearing your pearls on hot days. Nacre, the coating on pearls, contains a chemical called conchine. Conchine is an organic material that can dry out when it’s exposed to high temperatures for long periods. 

Fasten Pins and Clasps Before Storing Your Pearls  

Before storing your pearls, you should always fasten the pins and clasps. If you toss your pearls in the jewelry box after taking them off, there’s a chance the pins and clasps can scratch the pearls. This is why it’s important to always fasten the pins and clasps before storing your pearls. 

Be Careful When Traveling With Pearls 

If you’re traveling with pearl jewelry, place them in a cotton pouch before storing them in your suitcase. This will ensure they’re protected from dust, dirt, and scratches. Again, remember to separate your pearls from other jewelry as well. 

Related: How to Pack Jewelry for Travel

Take Care of Your Pearls! 

Knowing how to clean your pearls is essential. Follow the steps above to ensure your pearls last a long time, and you can wear them for all kinds of fun events. 

Check out this Lackore Couture guide to learn how to match and style your jewelry!