Wednesday, 8 July 2015

How To Clean Jewellery

natural cleaning method
Here is my confession I am not very good at taking care of my jewellery. So here is my resolution, that will change as of now. I do not have a huge collection but the pieces I have are special to me even if it is not worth a fortune the sentimental value is off the scale so I really should be better. In addition to taking better care of my jewellery I have decided to use less icky chemicals. Notice how I said icky chemicals, you see I read all over the internet "chemical free" well most things have a chemical number but yes there are ones that are more damaging than others. Here are some images to show you just how dirty my jewellery was.
chemical free cleaning
chemical free cleaning
chemical free cleaning
When I was a child/teenager I had very bad asthma, asthma that sent me to hospital many times during an attack. It did, as it often does lessen with age, but then two things happened I had a baby and my body changed and I moved to a city. These two factors resulted in my asthma returning with a vengeance and it has made me more conscious of noxious chemicals and how to avoid them whilst still being clean. For this reason I have been researching and finding cleaning solutions that work for me and my asthma. 
what you need to clean jewellery
I read sooooo many jewellery cleaning posts online and what I have ended up with is a mish mash of a few different tips that actually works. I found that the other recipes simply did not clean. I looked at the science of why your jewellery turns black, namely oxidization in order to come up with an effective recipe, and here it is.

1tbsp salt
1tbsp bicarbonate of soda
6tbsp white (clear vinegar)
1 cup hot water 
tin foil 

Line a dish with tin foil so that it goes up the sides of the dish also. Put the salt and bicarbonate of soda into the dish. Pour in the hot water and the vinegar. The trick is to place your dirty jewellery in so that it has space and not all on top of each other to allow the cleaning process to work properly.
how to clean silver with foil
Leave it in for around 10 minutes, rinse off with cold water and wipe with a lint free cloth. It is very important that you allow all of the jewellery to dry fully on tissue, leave overnight  if necessary before packing it away. When it comes to storing your jewellery it is best to keep it in its own space so a sectional box is best. I now use an acrylic box from Muji.
how to clean silver with salt and vinegar
how to clean silver with salt and vinegar
Muji perspex box

So why does it work? Well here is some pop science for you. The foil is a catalyst, salt is highly ionized. The vinegar is an acid which helps eat through the black stuff (caused by oxidization), when you mix the vinegar with bicarbonate of soda the reaction creates sodium acetate this means the carbon dioxide is free of its other chemical bonds and escapes as a gas, that is the blubbing.  This helps to agitate the dirt and aide the cleaning process. If you have very dirty jewellery you can make a second fresh solution and double dip alternatively make a paste of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda and rub onto the problem area.
how to clean silver with salt
how to clean silver with salt
I have tried this on silver, rose gold and green semi precious stones (I am unsure as to what they are). I would not recommend this on pearls as they may tarnish or on any settings that you think may become loose.

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