You bought a piece of jewellery years ago. You’ve worn it a lot and it means a great deal to you. But, over time it has gotten dirty, scratched, old and almost unwearable. While we encourage you to buy as much as jewellery as you can wear, jewellery is sentimental and you don’t want to get rid of items that mean a lot to you, just because they’re dirty or rusty.

While it is best to use a professional jewellery cleaner, there are a few home remedies that you can use to bring your jewellery back to life! There are a lot of myths surrounding jewellery cleaning techniques. Does toothpaste really clean jewellery? Does bleach remove dirt? Does wearing my jewellery in the shower ruin it? I’m here to debunk these jewellery cleaning myths and tell you how to do it properly.

Myth: Toothpaste cleans jewellery

What to use instead: Soap and water

Little Joy Jewellery Gold Handcrafted Aurora Earrings | £170.00

Every forum or article seems to recommend toothpaste as a way to clean jewellery. This is the worst piece of advice ever and makes professional jewellery cleaners everywhere wince. Toothpaste damages diamonds, gold and other gemstones due to its hardness. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness determines that toothpaste is at a higher rating than most gemstones. It can easily scratch pieces, remove colour and is especially damaging to pearls, turquoise, coral and non-sterling silver. Get back to the basics and look towards soap and water. You can soak most jewellery materials in soapy water and it’ll remove the majority of stains and give the jewellery its shine back. If you have a really rusty item, use a soft bristled toothbrush to rub the soap and water into the jewels. The soft bristles won’t scratch or leave abrasions and you’re able to get into the nooks and crannies of the jewellery. Remember to rinse and dry thoroughly so no soap stays behind.

Myth: Bleach can clean away scratches

What to use instead: Baking soda

Nadia Minkoff Gold Hamsa Hoop Cluster Earrings | £69.00

Bleach is one of the harshest chemicals, yet people look to it to clean their precious jewellery items. Keep in mind - if it’s harsh on your skin, don’t apply it to your jewellery which you’re going to wear against your skin! Bleach is too harsh a chemical to use on jewellery, as it will wear it away and can stay underneath metals and gemstones and lead them to crack and scratch. Baking soda is a handy product that is especially good at cleaning silver jewellery. Mix it with water to make a paste and apply using a cloth. The cloth should come away with dirt and other tarnishes. Then rinse the jewellery well so the baking soda doesn’t linger. Baking soda restores silver jewellery back to its original shine, clean and look which you initially purchased!

Quick Tip! Don’t wear jewellery in the swimming pool or in the shower!

While it’s not the end of the world if you forget once or twice, hot water and steam from the shower and chlorine in the pool will have a lasting effect on your jewellery. Hot water and chlorine wears away jewels and leaves scum and residue on them. Steam from the shower or pool can loosen glue that holds pieces together and can lead to them breaking or falling apart. So remember, always take you jewellery off when you shower or go swimming!

Myth: Toilet paper or a dish cloth cleans away dirt

What to use instead: Microfiber cloth

Tiny-Om Rose Gold Anahata Ring | £389.00

Countless professional jewellery cleaners are greeted with jewellery that is covered in dirt, lotions, perfume and makeup. These are all things that can be prevented and that you can fix at home. Always remember to regularly clean your jewellery and to use a specially designed cloth to do so. While toilet paper or dish cloths are easily accessible, they aren’t the right material to deal with delicate jewellery. A microfiber cloth is the best way to clean away dirt and buff some shine back into your jewels. Most designers send their pieces with this cloth provided, along with a leaflet explaining how to clean it. Don’t throw this away! Keep hold of it and use it whenever your jewels are starting to look less shiny or a bit grimy!

Myth: Pearls are too fragile to clean

What to use instead: Proper pearl maintenance hacks

Sharon Mills London Boho Pearl Twist Gold Ring | £155.00

Pearls are the most fragile gemstone and due to this, people avoid cleaning them so as not to accidentally break or damage them. But, this is the exact opposite to what you should be doing. Pearls lose their colour and lustre very easily so they need proper cleaning methods. Avoid harsh chemicals as they will wear down the gem and can even crack them. Instead use warm water with a little soap or shampoo (a little goes a long way!). Spread the pearls out on a cloth and use a similar cloth or a small makeup brush to clean around the pearl or in between them if you’re cleaning a string of pearls. After this, rinse the pearls with a slightly damp cloth and leave the pearls to dry.

Quick Tip! The 3 Golden Rules of Pearl Maintenance

1. NEVER soak them. Pearls are too fragile for any kind of soaking and will lose their shine and colour. Use the above method which is a great no-rinse technique!

2. Store them out in the open, rather than in a bag. Lots of people want to reserve their pearls’ beauty by keeping them in a bag, but this damages them. Instead, let them sit out and let them breathe.

3. Put your pearls on last. The best time to put on pearls is after you’ve finished getting ready. Pearls are delicate and don’t do well when mixed with perfumes, lotions or hairspray. This is a good hack for any jewellery item and material. Always wait until the last minute to put on your jewellery!