Avoid Home Jewelry Cleaning Methods That May Do Harm

Posted on: 11 August 2020

Every jewelry owner wants to keep their collection bright and sparkly and in great condition. But taking everything to a professional jewelry cleaner is an expensive proposition. Would you rather clean your pieces at home for a fraction of the cost? If so, one of the most important things you can do is avoid unsafe methods to clean jewelry. Here are three of the biggest cleaning dangers you face.

Ultrasonic Cleaners

Ultrasonic cleaning devices are popular for home use. But while they look simple and effective, these devices can be dangerous for some items. The use of high-frequency sound waves to loosen dirt and debris can also loosen fragile or unstable gems and older metallic parts.

Other pieces that you may not want to put into an ultrasonic cleaner include organic stones like amber, ivory, and pearl. Soft or porous stones can also be damaged by heat, waves, or bubbling. This generally includes gems like opals, onyx, and emeralds. Finally, heat-treated or synthetic gems may be damaged if the heat and motion in the ultrasonic device accentuates cracks and discoloration already in the gem. 

Harsh Chemicals

Many commercially available jewelry cleaners have chemicals that work as solvents but could do more damage than good. Some, for instance, include ammonium hydroxide or sodium metasilicate (usually in small doses as a base) — both of which can damage skin and the metal of your jewelry. Similarly, perchloroethylene in some cleaners is carcinogenic to humans.

Even something as mild as water could have the wrong pH and damage metal and stones over time. The alkaline and acidity content in various liquids have a cumulative effect on metal and stones. Damage isn't immediately visible, but it will build up over time. 

Hand Manipulation

When you attempt to clean jewelry with unsuitable cleaning methods, you're likely to end up handling it less carefully and for longer periods than is ideal. The more you manipulate the item by hand and try different cleansers, the higher the risk that something will come loose or break. This is particularly risky with heirloom pieces that are both aged and have one-of-a-kind sentimental value. 

As you choose the best way to care for your jewelry, safety  — for you and for the jewelry — should always come first. Fortunately, modern jewelry cleaning techniques are available to allow you to keep things like-new while protecting them from unexpected harm. Contact a company near you to see if they have a safe jewelry cleaner for sale.