Cleaning & Caring for your Jewelry
CLEANING YOUR METAL JEWELRY
Before cleaning your brass, check to make sure it’s actually brass. The easiest way is to use a magnet: brass isn’t magnetic, so if the magnet sticks, it’s not pure brass.
Wash the piece with warm, soapy water first. This will remove any dirt, oil or buildup on the jewelry & make it easier to clean.
Pick your cleaner. You don’t need any professional cleansing tools, you can head to the kitchen and find natural products to use. Vinegar or any tomato-based product works well (tomato sauce, ketchup, etc). The acids in these products eat away at the tarnish, and will return the piece to it’s original bright shine. Cleaning can be done by soaking or gently rubbing.
Rinse well with water after use. If you forget this step, the acids will be left on your brass & will continue eating it away! Not good for your jewelry-loves.
Dry completely before wearing or storing.
To maintain a solid polish, wipe gently with a jewelry cleaning cloth or any soft rag.
Unfinished (raw) brass will continue to develop a patina as it’s exposed to air, so it is best to apply a sealer if you’d like to maintain the bright brass finish on a more longterm basis.
Copper can be easily cleaned through soaking.
Simply soak your copper pieces in lemon juice to remove tarnish & restore the original bright raw copper finish!
Rinse well after soaking, to ensure that no acid is left on the piece.
Lemon juice & salt can be mixed and used as a scrub for heavily-tarnished pieces. Be careful not to get this mixture into any cuts though; it burns! (And always remember to rinse!)
Dry the piece completely before wearing or storing.
Polished pieces can maintain their shine by wiping with a jewelry polishing cloth, or a soft rag.
Please note that copper will continue to tarnish as it is exposed to air; for longer shininess, please store your jewelry pieces in a sealing plastic bag.
Sterling silver is a soft material, and can be easily scratched if cleaned with harsh abrasive chemical cleansers.
You can clean your sterling silver using readily-available products you have around your house! Try using baking soda. Make a paste with the powder & some water. Coat your jewelry with this mixture and gently polish off, using lots of water.
After any cleaning treatment, make sure to rinse completely.
Dry fully before storing or wearing.
Maintain the fresh sterling glow by using a jewelry polishing cloth, or a soft rag.
The copper content in sterling silver is what makes it oxidize so quickly when exposed to the air. To slow down this oxidizing (tarnishing) process, store your jewelry in a sealed plastic bag.
GOLD & GOLD-FILL
The quickest way to polish up your gold jewelry is by using a toothpaste scrub.
Use a dab of toothpaste, & a soft toothbrush (if cleaning a chain or something with detailed groves) & lots of water.
Gently scrub your jewelry with this paste, while continuing to use a large amount of water.
Rinse fully & dry completely before wearing or storing.
As always, it is best to store your jewelry in a sealed plastic bag in order to slow the tarnishing process.
SURGICAL STEEL, TITANIUM & NIOBIUM
Surgical steel jewelry does not tarnish, but it may get dirty after being worn or stored for extended periods of time.
The simplest way to clean surgical steel is with warm, soapy water. Dish soap works well.
Remember to rinse well after washing & dry fully before storing.
PLATED METALS (GOLD-PLATED, SILVER-PLATED, ANTIQUE BRASS-PLATED, ANTIQUE COPPER-PLATED)
Plated metals are made by electroplating a thin coating of metal over a base metal (usually copper, brass, iron, zinc or nickel). This process creates a finish that looks great, but isn’t as durable as their pure-metal counterparts. Therefore, it’s important to take care when cleaning these metals to not remove this plated coating.
Plated metals are best cleaned with warm soapy water (dish soap is recommended).
Do not use any harsh chemical cleansers or abrasive cleansers on your plated jewelry as these cleansers may cause the plating to chip or wear off.
Rinse fully after cleaning & dry completely before wearing or storing.
Plated metals can retain their shine for longer when kept in a sealed plastic bag when not in use.
Never soak your plated jewelry for extended periods of time; doing so may weaken the electroplating finish.
Like polymer clay, stone is also a porous (hole-filled) substance. In order to preserve the unique look of your stone jewelry, it is important to clean it carefully.
I recommend wiping stone jewelry with a damp rag or soft cloth.
When using water with your stone, be careful! Wet stone is very slippery, and stone can shatter or chip if dropped.
Avoid using harsh chemical cleansers on your stone, as some may cloud the surface of the stone.
Avoid using abrasive cleansers on your stone as it may scratch the finish.
Make sure to dry completely before storing or wearing your stone jewelry.
Avoid getting your jewelry dusty by storing it in a sealed plastic bag.
WOOD & COCONUT
Wood is an organic material, and should be cleaned carefully.
Avoid submerging your wood jewelry in water, or getting wet. Wood can warp if soaked & dried.
The easiest way to restore shine to your wood jewelry is by wiping with a soft rag and/or polishing with a bit of natural wax (try beeswax).
When polishing your wood with wax, it’s important not to use any plant-based wax (jojoba, etc) as these waxes have a shelf-life & can cause your wood to become rancid eventually. Gross :(
Wood jewelry can be kept longer by storing in an air-tight plastic bag, or out of dusty areas.
Feathers can get flattened & compacted through storage & travel. They can easily retain their original fullness by following the below instructions.
Always treat feathers gently.
Blowdry or dust lightly to remove dust-buildup.
Use a soft damp cloth to wipe the feathers if necessary. Always wipe in the direction of feather-growth to maintain the shape of the feather.
Use a dry soft toothbrush to comb your feathers to maintain proper shape.
Flattened feathers can be fluffed up by steaming over tea kettle or pot of boiling water. Steam briefly until desired level of fluffiness is achieved. Feathers can be gently blowdried in the direction of growth after.
Feathers are best packed loosely, & with mothballs (if being stored).
Dyed feathers (as evident by their bright colorings) should not get wet, as this may cause their color to run.
Glass items can easily be cleaned using soapy water, or wiped with a soft damp rag.
Pure glass items can be soaked in warm soapy water to remove dirt & debris.
Be careful when mixing glass with water, as soapy glass is very slippery & can break or shatter if dropped!
Dry fully before storing or wearing.
PLASTICS & INORGANIC MATERIALS
Polymer clay is a porous substance (has microscopic holes when baked), and therefore should never be cleaned with harsh chemicals as these can be stored within the material.
The best way to clean polymer clay is by wiping with a damp cloth.
For stubborn dirt, use a soapy damp cloth. It is not advisable to soak the clay in water.
Make sure the surface is wiped clean from any soapy residues after cleaning.
Dry fully before wearing or storing.
Polymer clay is best stored covered, but not air-tight (for example, a jewelry box, drawstring bag or gift box).
Lucite jewelry is often secured using glue. It’s important to clean these jewelry pieces carefully to ensure your jewelry stays in one piece! Harsh chemicals can eat away at the glue bond & should definitely be avoided.
NEVER soak your lucite. Soaking can destroy the glue.
Wipe gently with a soft damp cloth. You may use soapy water & a rag to clean extremely dirty plastic pieces.
Avoid contact with glued areas & water, soap or any other cleansing material.
Dry off your jewelry completely before wearing or storing.
Plastic & lucite can be kept clean & dust-free by storing in a sealed plastic bag.
RECYCLED FELT & FABRIC
With these items, it’s more important to keep them clean in the first place, because they’re a little more difficult to clean once you do.
Store your felt & fabric pieces carefully, in a sealed plastic bag when not in use.
Small stained areas can be spot cleaned, using a damp rag & a gentle cleanser.