What you need to know about cleaning costume jewelry

The interesting thing about costume jewelry is that even though it is less expensive than the “real” thing, it is far more fragile.  In truth, it requires a bit of thought and care if you want it to last and look good for longer than just one use.  But with a bit of planning on your part, you will be able to keep your costume jewelry look brand new for the next generation!

Let’s start with how you clean the jewelry.  Forget about those commercial jewelry cleaning solutions, they are intended for genuine stones and precious metals.  Even if your piece is silver or gold plated, that is still a very thin layer that has been applied using electroplating.  I’m talking 0.013mm.  An average human hair is .06mm thick!  So forget about anything abrasive or containing chemicals.

Gather your tools:

  • A child’s toothbrush or cotton swab (or both)
  • Baby shampoo
  • Distilled water
  • A microfiber cloth
  • A small dish
  • A bowl large enough to contain the piece you are cleaning

Explanation of the tools:

The child’s toothbrush is soft and yielding.  You do not want anything that is stiff when cleaning your costume jewelry.  Same goes for the cotton swab.  You can even get those swabs that are intended for makeup because they have a pointed (but soft) tip. 

Baby shampoo is gentle enough to use on babies and children and therefore will be gentle enough for your costume jewelry.  

Distilled water.  YES, DISTILLED WATER.  Let me tell you just a little bit about what’s in your tap water… Chlorine – chlorine is added to drinking water as a purification technique.  Fluoride – fluoride has been added to tap water for decades to fight tooth decay.  Lead – lead may be present in your tap water depending upon the type and age of the pipes of your house.  These are just 3 of the many chemicals lurking in your water.  If you are on a well, you could also find herbicides, nitrates, and other pollutants which have been dumped on the soil and have leached into the water system.  So believe me when I say you do NOT want tap water near your jewelry. 

Okay, moving on…a microfiber cloth.  Microfiber cloths are super soft, super absorbent, and do not leave any lint behind. 

A small dish for the cleaning solution.

And finally, a bowl you will fill with distilled water.  The bowl should be of the size to completely fit the piece you are cleaning with plenty of room to spare.

now for the process:

In the bowl, pour in distilled water until about ½ full.  You will use this to rinse your piece in later. In the small dish put a couple of drops of the baby shampoo and an equally small amount of water, just enough to dab the toothbrush or cotton swab into.  Then lightly brush the jewelry in small, circular motions to clean the area.  If cleaning the entire piece, work quickly so as to limit the amount of exposure to the solution as possible.

time to rinse and dry:

Once clean, dunk your piece into the bowl with the distilled water and swish it around to rinse it thoroughly.  Then lay it down on the microfiber cloth and gently pat it dry.

Let it thoroughly air dry a few hours or overnight just to ensure that ALL moisture has been evaporated.  Your jewelry is now ready to be worn again or put away.

The best source of costume jewelry ever to be found is the Paparazzi Accessories that we sell in our boutique.  Stop on in and take a look and feed your $5.00 habit!

For the highest quality micro fiber cloths you cannot miss with H2O At Home Chiffonettes.  We use them exclusively at our boutique.  Find them HERE and mention you saw them in our blog for a free gift!

The bling sisters
100 N Summit Ave
prescott, AZ 86301