How to clean stainless steel jewelry?

How to clean stainless steel jewelry?

Over time, even stainless steel jewelry can lose its luster and appear dull or tarnished. Learning how to properly clean stainless steel jewelry allows you to restore its original shine and keep your pieces looking like new. This comprehensive guide covers simple, effective cleaning methods using common household items.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry with Dish Soap

One of the easiest ways to clean stainless steel jewelry at home is by using dish soap and warm water. Here is a step-by-step guide:

What You Need

  • Mild dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Soft cloth or toothbrush

Step 1: Make a Soapy Solution

Fill a bowl or sink with warm water. Add a small squirt of mild dish soap and swish the water around to create suds.

Step 2: Soak the Jewelry

Place your stainless steel jewelry pieces into the soapy water. Allow them to soak for 5-10 minutes so the soap can break down dirt and grease.

Step 3: Gently Scrub

Use a soft cloth or toothbrush to gently scrub each jewelry piece while it's submerged. This helps lift away grime and restore shine. Focus on scrubbing crevices and engraved areas.

Step 4: Rinse Thoroughly

Once finished scrubbing, rinse each piece under warm running water. Make sure to rinse away all soap residue.

Step 5: Dry and Polish

Blot jewelry dry with a clean, soft cloth. For an extra shine boost, polish gently with a microfiber jewelry cloth.

Dish soap contains degreasing agents that dissolve oil, dirt, and grease built up on stainless steel jewelry. The warm water helps loosen debris further. Scrubbing dislodges grime so rinsing can wash it away. This leaves jewelry clean and sparkling.

Stainless steel butterfly necklace

Cleaning Stainless Steel Jewelry with Baking Soda

For jewelry that needs heavy-duty cleaning, baking soda is an effective and inexpensive option. Here's how to use it:

What You Need

  • Baking soda
  • Bowl of warm water
  • Soft cloth or toothbrush

Step 1: Make a Baking Soda Paste

Put a tablespoon of baking soda into a small bowl. Add just enough warm water to form a spreadable paste.

Step 2: Apply the Paste

Use a soft cloth or toothbrush to apply the paste liberally over stainless steel jewelry. Ensure all surfaces are covered.

Step 3: Let It Sit

Allow the baking soda paste to sit on the jewelry for 2-3 minutes. This gives the baking soda time to break down tarnish and buildup.

Step 4: Gently Scrub

After letting it sit, gently scrub each piece with a soft brush or cloth to remove the paste. This lifts away grime.

Step 5: Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse all jewelry pieces under warm running water. Rinse away all baking soda paste residue.

Step 6: Dry and Polish

Blot dry with a clean, soft cloth. Use a microfiber cloth to buff jewelry and make it shine.

Baking soda is a mild abrasive that also neutralizes acids that can cause tarnish. Together with warm water, it cleans stainless steel jewelry effectively and naturally.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Jewelry with Vinegar

For jewelry with heavy tarnish, vinegar's acetic acid can help dissolve buildup and restore shine. Here is how to use it:

What You Need

  • White vinegar
  • Small bowl
  • Soft cloth or toothbrush

Step 1: Soak in Vinegar

Fill a small bowl with undiluted white vinegar. Place tarnished stainless steel jewelry in the bowl to soak for 2-3 hours.

Step 2: Gently Scrub

After soaking, use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub each jewelry piece while still submerged in vinegar.

Step 3: Rinse Thoroughly

Remove jewelry from the vinegar and rinse very thoroughly under warm running water. This washes away all vinegar.

Step 4: Dry and Polish

Blot dry with a clean, soft cloth. For shine, buff gently with a microfiber jewelry polishing cloth.

The acetic acid in vinegar dissolves stubborn tarnish on stainless steel jewelry. Soaking allows it to fully penetrate and break down buildup. Scrubbing then lifts grime away so rinsing can wash it off completely.

Best Practices for Cleaning Stainless Steel Jewelry

Follow these best practices when cleaning your stainless steel jewelry:

  • Avoid immersing in bleach or hydrogen peroxide, which can damage the finish.
  • Use soft brushes and cloths to avoid scratches.
  • Thoroughly rinse away all soap or cleaning solutions after scrubbing.
  • Blot dry with a soft cloth and polish with a clean microfiber cloth.
  • For rings, pay close attention to cleaning the underside of the band.
  • Store jewelry in soft cloth pouches to prevent tarnish between wears.
  • Clean regularly before buildup accumulates and becomes harder to remove.

Butterfly necklace stainless steel

How Often Should You Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry?

How often you should clean stainless steel jewelry depends on how frequently you wear it and the conditions it's exposed to:

  • Jewelry worn daily or often: Clean once a week or biweekly.
  • Jewelry worn occasionally: Clean every 1-2 months.
  • Jewelry worn in salty, chlorinated or contaminated water: Clean after each wear.
  • Jewelry handled frequently or exposed to dirt, grease, lotions: Clean every 2-4 weeks.

More frequent cleaning keeps stainless steel shiny and prevents stubborn tarnish from taking hold. But avoid over-cleaning, which can gradually damage the finish. When in doubt, clean as needed to restore shine and remove buildup.

FAQs About Cleaning Stainless Steel Jewelry

Still have questions about the best ways to clean your stainless steel jewelry at home? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How do you remove tarnish from stainless steel jewelry?

To remove tarnish, soak jewelry in undiluted white vinegar for 2-3 hours. Gently scrub with a soft brush or cloth, then rinse thoroughly. Baking soda paste also effectively lifts away tarnish.

What is the easiest way to clean stainless steel jewelry?

The easiest method is to soak jewelry in warm water with a small amount of mild dish soap for 5-10 minutes. Gently scrub with a soft cloth or brush, then rinse thoroughly.

Can I use toothpaste to clean stainless steel jewelry?

Yes, toothpaste can be used to gently polish and remove tarnish from stainless steel. Use a non-whitening and non-gel toothpaste. Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.

Should stainless steel jewelry be cleaned professionally?

Most stainless steel jewelry can be cleaned effectively at home using methods like dish soap, baking soda or vinegar. Professional cleaning is usually not required but may be needed for valuable pieces with heavy tarnish or grime buildup.

Can I put stainless steel jewelry in the dishwasher?

It's best to clean stainless steel jewelry by hand. The heat and harsh detergents in a dishwasher can damage the finish over time. Handwashing allows for gentle scrubbing.


With its sleek, durable finish, stainless steel jewelry is designed to last. But with regular wear, it can lose its original shine and take on a dingy, tarnished appearance. By learning proper at-home cleaning methods using common household items, you can keep your stainless steel jewelry looking like new for longer. Dish soap, baking soda, vinegar and a soft brush are inexpensive yet effective tools for dissolving dirt, grease and tarnish so it can be washed away. With proper care, your cherished stainless steel jewelry will maintain its beautiful, lustrous finish for years of enjoyment.

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