How To Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry at Home: 6 Of The Best Methods

by   |  in Men's Jewelry » Jewelry Basics

Although they’re able to take a good beating, stainless steel jewelry can easily get tarnished after weeks or months of consistent wear. So if you want to know how to clean stainless steel jewelry at home, keep reading.

Regularly cleaning and buffing your jewelry will ensure that you can enjoy your pieces for years to come. Best of all, you can shine your stainless steel jewelry using a few common household ingredients. It’s pretty easy when you know how!

Here are the most common methods of cleaning stainless steel jewelry at home. 

silver rings stacked
Photo by Antonio Uquiche

Store-bought Polishing Cloth 

You can actually buy a polishing cloth designed for cleaning metal. The cloth usually comes with an inner and an outer layer and you have to use both layers. 

When polishing your stainless steel jewelry, you’ll notice black stains left behind on the cloth. This is basically the tarnish and contaminants removed coming off of the metal and it’s totally normal. 

While jewelry polishing cloths do have a pre-tarnishing substance on the inner layer that helps to remove tarnish, it helps to moisten the surface before rubbing it with the polishing cloth, especially when cleaning heavily tarnished jewelry.

silver watch
Photo by Pixabay

Then you can wipe it off with the outer layer to give it a nice polish. 

You can use this method to clean gold, silver, and platinum jewelry as well. 

Compared to other methods on this list, it’s pretty easy to carry out. All you need to do is to thoroughly wipe your jewelry with the cloth and you’re done.

However, you’ll need some serious elbow grease to get your jewelry as clean as it would be if you washed it with soap and water or a dedicated stainless steel cleaner. 

Liquid Cleaner 

Alright, you’re going to want to use gloves for this one. 

Apply liquid toilet cleaner to the piece of jewelry you want to clean and coat it thoroughly with your hands. Leave it to set in a bowl for about 5 minutes. Then, use a toothbrush to clean the surface of the jewelry. 

Warning: If you’re cleaning a stainless steel watch, make sure it’s waterproof before you attempt this cleaning method, because you will have to immerse it in water to rinse it off.

Also, if the watch case isn’t waterproof, you can still remove the bracelet and clean it separately using this method.

Finally, rinse it off with clean water in a separate bowl. Preferably, you should use a mild, non-toxic liquid cleaner for this and avoid anything with bleach. 

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Make a paste using baking soda and vinegar. You don’t have to measure it out perfectly, just make a little paste of the same consistency as toothpaste.

Generally, a 2 to 1 ratio should maintain the toothpaste-like consistency you need. 

silver bracelet
Photo by Christian Lucas

Then, scrub the surface of the jewelry using a soft-bristled toothbrush. While stainless steel is practically impossible to damage, you should consider other parts of the jewelry that you don’t want to damage, such as any gems that are inlaid to it. 

Rinse it off thoroughly under some running water and dry it off with a soft cloth towel and let it dry in a paper towel for a few minutes before you put it away. 

Is Baking Soda and Vinegar Safe?

Truth is, baking soda is slightly abrasive and it can scratch softer stones, especially when combined with vinegar. Luckily, durable metals can handle baking soda so you can definitely use it to clean stainless steel because it’s a tough metal. 

However, you should avoid using boiling water in the rinse solution because it can crack pressure stones. Rather use warm or cold water to rinse your stainless steel jewelry especially if it’s inlaid with stones or gems. 

Stainless steel is a much better metal than brass and it’s more accessible when compared to silver. It won’t tarnish the way that brass will, and it won’t go green or turn your neck green.

Although it doesn’t shine like real silver, it doesn’t look too different and as you can see, it’s easy to clean at home.

Store-bought Stainless Steel Cleaner

If you don’t want to go through all the trouble of making your own cleaning solution, there are stainless steel jewelry cleaners that you can buy, such as Scotchgard.

It comes in a spray bottle, so all you have to do is spray it onto your jewelry, making sure to coat the entire piece.

Then, let the jewelry sit for about a minute before immersing it in a bowl of hot water. Swish it around the water and then rinse it off under running warm water to remove any residue. Dry it off with a soft cloth and then leave it to dry. 

If you like, you can even use silver wipes to shine and polish your stainless steel jewelry to give it that luster. 

The Toothbrush Method

With this method, you start by taking an old toothbrush. Dip it in some water and use it to clean the dust off the jewelry.

Take your time with this and try and get into all the tiny crevices that make up the details of your jewelry. 

Then, get a cleansing agent, i.e. your toothpaste and use it to thoroughly clean every inch of your stainless steel jewelry. You should see it foaming up as you brush through the crevices and this means that it’s working to remove the tarnish. 

person holding toothbrush with toothpaste
Photo by cottonbro 

Now, rinse your brush thoroughly and use it to clean the jewelry piece with water. Use distilled water if possible; otherwise, the jewelry might react if you use regular tap water.

That’s because the water coming from your faucet contains certain minerals that can dry up and leave watermarks behind, causing your jewelry to turn green. 

Next, dry the jewelry using a clean cloth. Then, brush it with clean water once more and dry it again using a clean cloth, preferably cotton. After this, your jewelry should be back to that like-new sparkle. 

When using this method, any type of toothpaste will do and you can use your typical cleaning toothbrush or just buy a new cheap one. 

Soap and Water

For this method, you’ll want to start by filling two small bowls with warm water. Add 2 to 3 drops of mild dish soap into the first bowl. 

Dip the corner of a soft, non-abrasive lint-free cloth into the soapy water. Rub the cloth along the jewelry. 

green soap dispenser
Photo by Anastasia Nelen

Then, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub any grime from detailed areas. 

Dip your jewelry in the second bowl of water to rinse it. 

Use a dry cloth to wipe away the water and polish the jewelry with jewelry polish or polishing cloth. 

Now You Know How To Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry at Home… Easy!

Stainless steel jewelry is incredibly durable, stylish and long-lasting, especially if you know how to take care of it.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of methods that you could use to clean and maintain your stainless steel jewelry at home. And there’s a good chance you already have all the supplies you need to do so.

If you want a quick clean, then a store-bought polishing cloth or stainless steel cleaner is the way to go. The great thing about the polishing cloth is that it’ll clean and polish your jewelry at the same time.

But if you want a more intense cleaning, use a liquid cleaner, soap and water, or opt for the toothbrush method to get every crack and crevice clean.

What’s your favorite method? Which ones are you interested in trying? Let us know by hitting us up on Instagram.

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