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Do's and Don'ts of Cleaning Gold Jewellery

Q Report Team
Updated on April 22, 2024
3 min read

Gold jewellery has been a favourite around the world for thousands of years, and for good reason. Not only is gold lustrous and beautiful, but it’s also malleable enough to be made into intricate and interesting designs.


Today, gold jewellery is as popular as ever, and because it’s so common, myths abound about the best ways to clean it at home. Some soaps and chemical agents can actually damage gold, so we recommend a cautionary approach to cleaning your gold jewellery.


In this post, we’ll look at some of the dos and don'ts of cleaning gold jewellery. Remember that if you have questions about specific jewellery pieces, you can always ask your jeweller for recommendations and assistance. Before we get to some cleaning techniques, let’s learn a bit about gold’s characteristics and what makes it unique.


Gold’s Unique Characteristics

Like the other noble metals (ruthenium, osmium, rhodium, palladium, iridium, silver and platinum), gold resists corrosion from moisture as well as oxidation, which is one of the reasons it’s used in jewellery. It’s low-maintenance in that it doesn’t have to be constantly polished to retain its lustre.


In fact, when it’s properly cared for, gold will last indefinitely. Because it’s a soft metal, unlike some of the other noble metals mentioned above, it can also be melted down and reused. In most cases, people aren’t interested in melting down their gold jewellery; they want beautiful pieces that will last. Pure gold, however, is so soft that it’s easily scratched or damaged. This is why jewellers often use gold alloys to create jewellery.


Golden Alloys

By combining pure gold with another metal (silver, nickel, copper, tin, zinc, iron, cadmium, titanium or manganese), jewellers can offer beautiful gold pieces that are much stronger than pieces made of pure gold.


The addition of these other metals changes the colour of the gold. White gold usually contains nickel plus copper or tin. Manganese and platinum are also sometimes used in the creation of white gold. Yellow gold usually contains copper or silver. You may also see blue gold (iron), rose gold (copper) and green gold (silver, cadmium or zinc). The cleaning instructions below are suitable for gold jewellery containing any of these other metals.


Gold Overlays

Some pieces of jewellery have a layer of gold laid on top of another metal. These pieces can be cleaned using the same method prescribed below, but they should be handled with even more care. Gold overlays wear off over time, so it’s important to avoid any kind of abrasive cleaner or rough polishing.


Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Gold Jewellery

With a clearer understanding of the nature of gold jewellery, you’re ready to start your DIY cleaning. The following tips will help you to know what you can safely do at home and what you should avoid.


The Do’s

  • DO use warm, not hot, water for cleaning your gold.
  • DO mix a few drops of mild detergent with warm water and a couple of drops of ammonia.
  • DO allow your gold jewellery to soak in your cleaning solution for a few minutes to loosen up any dirt or grime.
  • DO use a soft baby toothbrush to remove any bacteria or dirt.
  • DO rinse your gold with clear water and dry it with a soft cloth.
  • DO consider how other elements of your jewellery will be affected by the cleaning. Some gemstones are especially susceptible to certain cleaners. Pearls, for instance, need to be cleaned with great care to avoid damage.


The Don’ts

  • DON’T use any kind of cleanser that includes chlorine in its ingredients. Chlorine can permanently damage and discolour gold. For this reason, it’s wise to remove any gold rings when you’re cleaning with chlorine-based cleaners.
  • DON’T use soap with any unknown ingredients. While mild dishwashing soap is fine to use on gold, some substances can have the same kind of effect as chlorine, so steer clear of unknown ingredients.
  • DON’T use any abrasive cleaners or paper-based cleaning towels. These products can scratch gold surfaces and wear down gold overlays.


If you have any questions about your gold jewellery or you need help with cleaning, get in touch with your Q Certified Jeweller. And if your gold jewellery is currently uninsured, get an instant online quote today.

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