How To Care For & Clean Your Jewelry
How do I clean and care for my aluminum, anodized aluminum, niobium, and titanium jewelry?
The best way to care for your anodized jewelry is to gently wipe your piece down with a very soft cloth after wear and place it in a plastic bag to reduce exposure to the elements. If this is done regularly, you should not need to thoroughly clean your piece but twice a year.
Anodized jewelry requires special care because abrasives can remove the colored oxide layer. You certainly don't want your piece scraping against hard surfaces. When cleaning, never use polishes or cloths that contain abrasives such as Brasso or silver polishing cloths. The abrasives in these types of cleaning products will scratch and wear away the colored oxide layer. Do not place anodized pieces in ultrasonic cleaners. Any harsh chemicals like hairsprays, perfumes, bleach, chlorinated water and even your sweat can deteriorate the oxide layer over time, so try to avoid contact with these substances and rinse your pieces as soon as possible after exposure.
The safest method of thoroughly cleaning all anodized metal pieces is to bathe the piece in warm, soapy water for a few minutes. Use a mild soap such as Dawn dish soap (not a harsh detergent) to help remove any dirt and oils that have accumulated. Afterwards, rinse well and pat or air dry. Once completely dry, it is best to store the piece in a plastic bag to reduce exposure to the elements.
How do I clean and care for my sterling silver jewelry?
Avoid exposing your sterling silver jewelry to harsh chemicals such as chlorine, cosmetics, hair spray, and perfume.
To avoid tarnishing, periodically wash with mild soap, not detergent, and water. Dry thoroughly before storing.
You may also polish gently with a polishing cloth. To clean away excessive tarnish, use a silver polishing dip cleaner.
How do I clean and care for my brass jewelry?
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and will naturally tarnish when exposed to oxygen. Some people like the patina of tarnished brass and the tarnish is actually a protective layer for the brass, but if you want to get the shine of the new brass it's pretty easy to do with some typical household products.
If the tarnish isn't too pervasive take about 2 tablespoons of baking soda and add drops of lemon juice - from concentrate is fine - until you have a nice paste. The lemon juice will bubble and fizz as you add, don't worry it'll stop after a second or two. Take an old toothbrush and apply the paste to your piece and scrub. Let it sit in the paste for about 30 minutes and then rinse it with water and dry it thoroughly.
If the piece is heavily tarnished or the above doesn't work, you can place the piece in vinegar and let it soak for 30-60 minutes and then scrub it with an old toothbrush. Once clean, rinse it with water. This cleaning method is more aggressive and may leave the piece more "raw" looking - it won't have as warm of color until the patina rebuilds.
Oils from your skin and the oxygen in the air are what accelerate tarnishing. If you want to slow the tarnish process, wipe the piece with a soft cotton rag after wearing and store in a plastic bag with an anti-tarnishing strip. You should have received one of these with your piece.
How do I clean and care for my bronze jewelry?
Bronze is an alloy of copper and, usually, tin. Like brass, bronze will natually tarnish over time. Follow the cleaning and prevention instructions of brass.
How do I clean and care for my stainless steel jewelry?
Stainless steel is an alloy of iron and chromium and does not tarnish and will not rust. However, over time it may lose its luster. To restore the shine to your stainless steel you can follow the cleaning instructions for brass and bronze.
Chlorine can pit stainless steel, so avoid exposing your stainless steel piece to chlorinated products such as chlorine bleach and chlorinated swimming pools. If your piece does come in to contact with chlorinated products, rinse throughly and dry it off as soon as possible.
How do I clean and care for my rubber (EPDM) jewelry?
Proper care will prevent EPDM from drying out and cracking.
Keep away from corrosive chemicals, perfumes, heat, and direct sunlight (unless being worn). Rinse after being in saltwater.
To clean, wash with a gentle dish soap, like Dawn (not a harsh detergent), and water and pat dry with a clean cloth. Also it is recommended you wipe down the jewelry after wearing with a clean cloth and store in a plastic bag when not in use.