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Admit it: You can’t remember the last time you scrubbed your engagement ring, you’ve never washed your grandma’s string of pearls and your stack of J.Crew crystal bangles has never seen a soap sud. Don’t worry, we pulled together this handy guide on how to clean jewelry, so your collection can finally look sparkling clean again. Whether you want to invest in a fancy contraption or put in some DIY elbow grease, we’ve got you covered.

RELATED: The 3 Best Jewelry Cleaners on Amazon

how to clean jewelry silver
Georgie Hunter/Getty Images

1. How to Clean Silver

The Easy Way:
Jewelry aficionados swear by this Magnasonic Professional Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner ($34) because it scrubs their finest silver in less than ten minutes. Using only water, the small machine emits ultrasonic energy waves that “create millions of microscopic cleansing bubbles.” Cute but mighty? We’re all about that. If you want your silver to really get scrubbed, add a drop of simple hand soap or dish soap. Keep in mind, this cleaner should not be used with soft, porous gemstones (including pearls, emeralds, amber or opals) and you shouldn’t put in anything with tiny loose stones. 

1. Drop jewelry into the ultrasonic cleaner.
2. Add some hand or dish soap, if necessary.
3. Set to the setting necessary for your product.
4. Once finished, buff with a dry cloth.

The DIY Way:
1. Apply silver polish, like Weiman Silver Polish and Cleaner ($8), to a cloth and polish the metal.
2. Once you’ve covered the entire surface, rinse the jewels in water.
3. Buff with a dry cloth.
4. Repeat this process often. Silver polish will not only remove tarnish from jewelry, but also prevent the tarnish from forming again. 

If you want to make this process even easier, use a polish cloth—we prefer Connoisseurs Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloths ($15). Simply use the lighter-colored cloth to polish and remove tarnish, then follow up with the darker-colored cloth to buff. Voilà, you’ve got sparkling clean bangles and hoops.

how to clean jewelry gold
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2. How to Clean Gold

The Easy Way:
If you want something else to do the dirty work on your gold, try a steam cleaner. The GemOro Brilliant Spa Jewelry Steam Cleaner ($100) is an investment, but it comes with all the bells and whistles. By that we mean jewelry tweezers, a basket, a steam residue mat and more. And yes, you’ll actually need all those items to use this gadget. Keep in mind that you might want to presoak super dirty metal in soapy water or jewelry cleaning solution before using the steamer to make it more effective. 

1. Fill the steam cleaner with water.
2. Once the water has heated up (most feature an LED light that notifies you), use the tweezers to hold the item you’re cleaning.
3. Release the steam in one-second bursts, repeating until your jewelry is totally clean.

The DIY Way:

1. Create a soapy mix with warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
2. Soak the jewelry for 15 minutes.
3. Remove the item from the water and scrub with a soft toothbrush. Get into the nooks, crannies and little corners to get any dirt out.
4. Rinse under running water. Don’t forget to plug your sink first!
5. Blot dry with a soft cloth and buff to shine.

You could also replace the soapy mixture for a premixed jewelry cleanser, such as Connoisseurs Jewelry Cleaner ($5). It comes with a dip tray that you can use to dip your pieces into the cleaning solution, a process that takes less than 30 seconds. Replace steps one and two with this solution, then follow steps three through five.

how to clean jewelry diamond ring
Rensche Mari/EyeEm/Getty Images

3. How to Clean a Diamond Ring (Or Other Precious Stones)

The Easy Way:
While it won’t replace a true deep clean, the handy Connoisseurs Diamond Dazzle Stik ($9) is certainly the quickest and easiest way to get your cushion-cut rock to sparkle like it did the day you got it. The purse-friendly stick is equipped with bristles that are tough enough to tackle stubborn dirt without scratching your stone. 

1. Wet brush.
2. Twist the end about ten times to release the cleaning solution.
3. Brush the stone and setting, working the solution in for about a minute and allowing suds to form.
4. Rinse under running water. Don’t forget to plug your sink first!
5. Blot dry with a soft cloth and buff to shine.

The DIY Way:

1. Create a soapy mix with warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
2. Soak the jewelry for 15 minutes.
3. Remove the item from the water and scrub with a soft toothbrush. Get into the nooks, crannies and little corners to get any dirt out.
4. Rinse under running water. Don’t forget to plug your sink first!
5. Blot dry with a soft cloth and buff to shine.

If your diamond is set in gold or silver, you can presoak it in a 50/50 mix of Windex and hydrogen peroxide, instead of the soapy mixture, for 10 to 15 minutes. Then follow steps two through four for a blindingly clean finish.

how to clean jewelry semiprecious stones
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4. How to Clean Jewelry With Semiprecious Stones

To avoid the risk of losing your stones in an ultrasonic cleaner or ruining them with the heat of a steamer, your best bet with semiprecious stones is the DIY option below. 

The DIY Way:

1. Create a soapy mix with warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
2. Soak the jewelry for 15 minutes.
3. Remove the item from the water and scrub with a soft toothbrush. Get into the nooks, crannies and little corners to get any dirt out.
4. Rinse under running water. Don’t forget to plug your sink first!
5. Blot dry with a soft cloth and buff to shine.

You could also replace the soapy mixture for a pre-mixed jewelry cleanser, such as Simple Shine Gentle Jewelry Cleaner Solution ($18). It comes with a dip tray that you can use to dip your jewels into the cleaning solution, a process that takes less than 30 seconds. Replace steps one and two with this solution, then follow steps three through five.

how to clean jewelry porous stones
Kevork Djansezian/NBC/Getty Images

5. How to Clean Porous Stones (Such as Pearls, Opals and Coral)

You should never soak pearls or other porous stones, because submerging them in water will create the opposite of your intended result: It will make the stones lose their luster. You should also steer clear of most chemical cleaners, as they can damage the surface of the stone.

The DIY Way:
1. Lay the jewelry on a soft cloth.
2. Create a soapy mixture with warm water and a few drops of shampoo. Opt for baby shampoo or other delicate/unscented versions.
3. Dip a soft toothbrush into the mixture and scrub the jewelry.
4. Use a damp cloth to wipe clean.
5. Lay flat to dry, especially for strands of pearls, to keep them from stretching out.

how to clean jewelry costume jewelry
JP Yim/Getty Images

6. How to Clean Costume Jewelry

Avoid using fancy ultrasonic cleaners or harsh chemicals on your costume jewelry. Though they might be more affordable than fine gems, these brass, gold-plated and nickel pieces are actually quite delicate. If you really want to make your baubles shine, add a drop of lemon juice or white wine vinegar to the soapy soak below.

The Best Way:
1. Create a soapy mix with warm water and a few drops of mild liquid soap (this can be hand soap or unscented shampoo).
2. Soak the jewelry for 15 minutes.
3. Remove the item from the water and scrub with a soft toothbrush. Get into the nooks, crannies and little corners to get any dirt out.
4. Rinse under running water. Don’t forget to plug your sink first!
5. Blot dry with a soft cloth.

RELATED: 35 Unique Wedding Bands That Still Feel Timeless

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