How to Clean Tarnished Jewelry: 5 Best Ways

You are getting ready for that special event that you’ve been looking forward to for weeks and you are finishing up getting ready. That special outfit that you picked out looks great and just needs the finishing touch: the jewelry piece that you keep tucked away for special occasions.

However, when you pull the piece that will complete your look out of your jewelry box, your heart drops. It is covered in tarnish and does not look presentable! No need to worry though, we have you covered!

What Causes Tarnish on my Favorite Jewelry?

The most common cause of jewelry tarnishing is simply exposure to oxygen and moisture in the air. As air particles react with the metal in the jewelry, a chemical reaction takes place that causes the metal to darken and dull. 

UV radiation from the sun can also cause metals to tarnish, as well as chemicals in water, air pollutants, and even skin oils. Exposure to chlorine, acidity and temperature changes can also speed up the tarnishing process. Some jewelry can also tarnish from contact with certain substances, such as perfumes, lotions, and hair sprays.

In general, the more frequently the jewelry is worn and exposed to the elements, the more quickly it will tarnish. Jewelry should be stored and kept away from extreme temperatures, humidity, and direct sunlight in order to minimize the amount of tarnish that occurs. Cleaning your jewelry regularly can also help keep it looking shiny and new.

Related: What Are The Best Ways To Clean My Earrings?

5 Best Ways to Clean Tarnish Off Your Jewelry

Here are the best ways to clean tarnish off your jewelry.

Soap and Water Method

Cleaning tarnish off jewelry with soap and water is a simple, cost-effective way to get your jewelry looking sparkly and new again. All you need is a few drops of mild dish soap, warm water and a soft cloth.

First, grab a bowl and fill it with warm water. Add a little bit of gentle dish soap and stir to combine. Next, take your jewelry and place it in soapy water for a few minutes. Gently rub the jewelry with a soft cloth to remove the tarnish. 

If the tarnish is particularly stubborn, you can use a toothbrush with a soft bristle to help scrub it away. Rinse the jewelry with warm water and dry it off with a soft cloth.

Using soap and water is a safe and effective way to remove tarnish from your jewelry, but it is important to note that some materials may be damaged by the soap and water. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions or a jewelry guide to ensure that your jewelry is safe to clean with soap and water.

Are you searching for the right piece to complement your jewelry collection? At LaCkore Couture, we have a large selection of handcrafted items that will elevate your look to the next level. 


a vintage locket covered in tarnish



Vinegar and Water Method

If you have jewelry that has become tarnished over time, you can restore its shine with a simple vinegar and water solution. To clean tarnish off of jewelry, simply mix one part white vinegar with two parts warm water in a bowl. Soak the jewelry in the solution for approximately 15 minutes. 

Afterward, take the jewelry out of the solution and use a soft cloth to rub it gently. If the tarnish has not gone away, repeat the soaking process. 

Once the jewelry is clean and shining again, you should rinse it off with cool water and dry it with a soft cloth. It is important that you do not use any abrasive cloths or cleansers when cleaning your jewelry, as these can scratch it or damage it further. 

When cleaning jewelry with vinegar and water, it is important to remember that this solution should not be used on jewelry that contains pearls, opals, or other soft stones. Additionally, this method is not suitable for gold jewelry that has been plated in another metal such as silver or brass, as the acid in the vinegar can strip away the plating. 

Related: How to Clean Beaded Jewelry 

Baking Soda and Salt Method

To clean tarnish off jewelry with baking soda and salt, begin by combining 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Make sure to add just enough water to make a thick paste. 

Now, use a soft cloth to rub the paste onto the tarnished jewelry. Allow the paste to sit for about 5 minutes, then rinse the jewelry in cool water and dry it using a soft cloth. Repeat the process if needed.

Baking soda and salt are a gentle and effective method to remove tarnish from jewelry. The baking soda acts as a mild abrasive, while the salt helps to break down the tarnish. 

This method is safe for most types of jewelry and can be used to clean silver, gold, brass, and other metals. However, it is not recommended for soft stones or pearls. Additionally, be sure to take care when using this method to avoid scratching the surface of the jewelry.

Related Link: Sterling Silver vs. Regular Silver: Here’s What You Need to Know

Toothpaste Method

Cleaning tarnish off jewelry with toothpaste is a great way to clean your jewelry without using harsh chemicals. It's an easy, inexpensive way to restore shine to your silver, gold, and other jewelry pieces.

To start, you'll need a few basic materials: a soft-bristled toothbrush, a bowl, toothpaste, and a rag. First, place your jewelry in the bowl and cover it with a generous amount of toothpaste. 

Then, use the toothbrush to gently scrub the jewelry, paying special attention to areas with heavy tarnish. Once you've finished scrubbing, rinse the jewelry with warm water and pat it dry with the rag.

Our handcrafted jewelry is built to last. Contact us today to enjoy beautiful necklaces, bangles, and bracelets made with you in mind.


a tarnished and rusted pair of pendants


Shampoo Method

To clean tarnish off jewelry with shampoo, you will need a mild liquid dishwashing detergent or shampoo, a soft cloth, and some warm water. 

Begin by filling a bowl with warm water and adding a few drops of the detergent or shampoo. Place the jewelry in the water and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Then, using a soft cloth, gently rub the jewelry to remove any dirt and tarnish. 

Rinse the jewelry in clean water, and then dry it with a soft cloth. Be sure not to use any harsh chemicals or abrasive tools as they may damage the jewelry. After the jewelry is clean and dry, you can apply a polishing cloth to give it a final shine.