The Easy Way To Clean Your Gold, Silver, Pearl, And Diamond Earrings At Home

Ariane Cooley LittleThings writer by Ariane Cooley
Ariane is a freelance writer for LittleThings.

Whether it is your favorite pair of silver hoops, or a beautiful pair of diamonds, nothing completes an outfit like some stunning earrings. Finding the perfect pair can be so thrilling, but collecting earrings is definitely an investment, financially and emotionally, so you want to take care of them and make them last a lifetime.

An essential part of caring for your earrings is knowing how to clean them safely. They can easily build up dirt and lose their shine after multiple wears, which is both unflattering and unsanitary. Many people may not know how to clean their own collection of precious metals, and going to a jeweler can cost a fortune over time. You may be surprised to learn how easy it is to clean earrings on your own. In fact, you probably already have these materials at home.

Whether they’re diamond, silver, gold, or pearl, simply follow these easy step-by-step instructions to safely clean earrings on your own and have them looking like new in no time.

1. Diamond Earrings
How To Clean Diamond Earrings

Using liquid detergent to clean earrings
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings
  1. Soak your diamond earrings in a mild liquid detergent cut with water for half an hour or so.
  2. After soaking, you can gently brush your diamond earrings with a small, soft bristle brush, such as a toothbrush reserved only for this purpose, as Piercing Shops recommends. Pay special attention to the back of the diamond where dirt and oils are most likely to collect. If you have an antique setting or a pressure setting, be extra careful not to vigorously scrub there.
  3. Rinse your earrings thoroughly with water and dry gently with a lint-free cloth.  If you are working over a sink, be sure to plug it up first so that you do not lose an earring down the drain!

You can repeat this process two times a week.

Other Diamond Earring Tips

What to avoid with diamond earrings
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Never use abrasive solutions, such as toothpaste or cleaners that contain bleach, to clean your diamond earrings.

The Gemological Institute of America warns that ultrasonic cleaners can be great at removing encrusted dirt, but use extra caution when diamonds are involved, as ultrasonic cleaners can cause diamonds to knock against one another and chip.

2. Silver Earrings
How To Clean Silver Earrings

<u> 2. Silver Earrings </u> <br/> How To Clean Silver Earrings
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Before deciding to clean your silver using the methods below, make sure that the item is sterling silver and not silver plated. You can use the below methods to clean silver plate, but beware that excessive polishing can remove it entirely.

If your silver jewelry contains stones, especially soft stones like pearls, turquoise, or opals, be sure to use the gentlest cleaning technique first. Do not expose the above stones to any harsh cleaning chemicals or scrub them.

A silver polishing cloth is ideal for gently wiping away tarnish on silver earrings while easily avoiding intentional oxidation. When polishing with a cloth, Novica suggests making long back and forth motions that mimic the grain of the silver, and avoiding circular motions because this may enlarge small scratches.

Harsh, commercial silver products are best avoided when cleaning delicate silver jewelry. They can actually harm it by removing anti-tarnish coating or desirable patina. Some of these cleaners also give off dangerous fumes.

Homemade Silver Cleaners

What to use to clean silver earrings
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

If a polish cloth doesn’t work, here are some alternate ways to clean your silver earrings.  Start with the first and work your way down.

Baking Soda And Water: According to Readers’s Digest, you can make a silver-cleaning paste by combing baking soda and a little water. You can then polish the item with a lint-free, nonabrasive cloth. Use a Q-tip or a soft bristled toothbrush and dilute the paste with additional water to get into small, hard to reach areas. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a clean cloth.

Olive Oil And Lemon Juice: To clean tarnished silver, suggests mixing ½ cup of lemon juice and 1 tsp of olive oil in a bowl. Dip a microfiber cloth into the solution and gently polish the silver, rinse and dry.

White Vinegar And Baking Soda: praises white vinegar as an easy and effective household jewelry cleaner. Carefully make a solution of ½ cup of white vinegar and 2 tbsp. of baking soda (this causes a chemical reaction so mix together carefully!) and soak your earrings for two to three hours. Rinse with water and pat dry with a clean cloth.

Baking Soda, Salt, Aluminum Foil, And Boiling Water: This is a favorite method of mine, from — it will also delight your inner chemist! Line a pot, glass casserole dish, or the kitchen sink with aluminum foil, dull side down. Pour in two tbsp. each of salt and baking soda. Pour bowling water into the bowl and mix the baking soda and salt in until dissolved. Gently place your silver items into the water and wait ten to fifteen minutes.  The tarnish from the earrings will be transferred onto the aluminum foil like magic!  Simply remove, rinse, and pat dry.

3. Gold Earrings
How To Clean Gold Earrings

Gold earrings
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

There are several good homemade cleaners you can use to clean your gold earrings. Gold is a very soft metal, so keep the cleaning techniques below, from Mathews Jewelers in mind. 

Homemade Gold Cleaners

Scrubbing gold earrings with dish soap
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Soap And Water: Once again, dish soap and water is one of the easiest and most effective cleaners!  Soak your gold earrings for half an hour or so. After soaking you can gently brush your gold earrings with a small, soft, brush — try reserving a toothbrush only for this purpose! Gold is very soft, so only do this if you have hard to reach places and if you absolutely need to. Rinse your earrings thoroughly with water and dry gently with a lint free cloth.

Ammonia: A solution of six parts water to one part ammonia can be very effective in cleaning gold earrings. The key is to not leave your jewelry in the solution for longer than one minute to avoid damaging it, and to make sure to rinse thoroughly with water immediately to ensure that all of the solution is off. The use of ammonia should be considered an occasional cleaning method and not your regular go-to for cleaning your gold earrings, as the repeated use of ammonia can damage it.

Rubbing Alcohol: Submerging gold earrings in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes can dissolve dirt, oils, and grime, and also is a great disinfectant agent.  Do not use this method if your gold earrings have stones that are held in place with any sort of adhesive, as this may dissolve it.

4. Pearl Earrings
How To Clean Pearl Earrings

<u> 4. Pearl Earrings </u> <br/> How To Clean Pearl Earrings
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Pearls are very delicate and need to be cleaned with great caution and care.  The best way to keep your pearls immaculate is to clean them after every wear.

Homemade Pearl Cleaners

Homemade Pearl Cleaners
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings recommends the method below:

  1. Dampen a soft washcloth slightly.
  2. Gently run the washcloth over every pearl.
  3. Pat off any excess water, and store in a box with tissue.

If your pearls need deeper cleaning than the light, everyday cleaning, here is another method you can use from

  1. Fill a small bowl with lukewarm water.
  2. Add a single drop of a very mild detergent.
  3. Using a soft washcloth dipped in the detergent solution, gently wipe down the pearls. Submerging them in water can weaken the thread.
  4. Using a chamois leather or a microfiber cloth, gently buff and shine the pearls.  A lot of time, when you buy nice pearls, they come with one of these cloths.
  5. Let the pearl earrings dry for at least twenty minutes so that the string can dry out completely.

There you have it! All of the knowledge that you need to keep your gorgeous earring collection shining, sparkling, and looking like new! If you found this article useful for keeping your earrings clean, please SHARE it with a friend who will enjoy it, too.