How to Clean Gold-Plated Jewelry to Renew Its Radiance

Discover the 15-minute cleaning method for your gold-plated jewelry.

Jane Pardo | Updated December 30, 2023

Gold-plated accessories, also called fashion jewelry, look just as stunning as solid gold at a fraction of the cost.

But while they are very affordable, gold-plated pieces can tarnish and fade quickly when not cared for and cleaned correctly.

Fortunately, you only need simple household items to deep-clean your favorite accents and make them last a long time.

Read on to discover easy cleaning methods and renew the radiance of your gold-plated jewelry in as fast as 15 minutes.

How to clean gold-plated jewelry

Gold-plated jewelry features a thin coating of real gold covering a base metal, usually silver, nickel, stainless steel, or copper.

A deep clean will immediately freshen up the beauty of your gold-plated pieces.

Total Time: 15 minutes

  1. Put baking soda and table salt in a heat-safe bowl covered with aluminum tin foil

    Put baking soda and table salt in a heat-safe bowl covered with aluminum tin foil

    First, cover a heat-resistant bowl with tin foil. Add 1 tbsp baking soda and 1 tbsp table salt to the bowl.

  2. Add boiling water

    Add boiling water

    Pour 1 cup of hot (but not boiling) water to create your cleaning solution. Stir thoroughly.

  3. Soak your gold-plated jewelry

    Soak your gold-plated jewelry

    Next, fully immerse your gold-plated accessories in the hot cleaning solution for 10 minutes.

  4. Clean hard-to-reach areas with a soft-bristled toothbrush

    Clean hard-to-reach areas with a soft-bristled toothbrush

    Scrub your gold-plated jewelry carefully using a soft-bristled brush to remove tarnish, dirt, and oil buildup in nooks and crannies. You can also use a cotton swab to gently remove grime from the inside of a ring, earring, or bracelet.

  5. Rinse and dry thoroughly

    Rinse and dry thoroughly

    Wash your gold-plated jewelry with clean water and leave it to air-dry. You can also pat it dry with a lint-free cloth. Or use a jewelry cloth to buff and polish the surface for a more beautiful shine.

Cleaning tarnished gold-plated jewelry with gemstones

Jewelry with precious and semi-precious gemstones like pearl necklaces or sapphire rings requires extra care.

Avoid using hot water or soaking your jewelry for too long. Doing so could loosen the glue that’s holding the stones.

Add 1 tablespoon of mild dishwashing liquid to a bowl of lukewarm water. Stir until you create a bubbly soap solution. Next, dip a cotton swab into the soapy cleaning solution. Then, carefully clean your jewelry to clear away any dirt and gunk. Finally, wash in a bowl of clean water. Pat dry with a microfiber cloth or polish with a jewelry cloth.

How to maintain your gold-plated jewelry’s eye-catching shimmer

Your favorite accessories won’t lose their lovely sparkle for years if you know how to care for them.

  • Wipe down every gold-plated piece with a soft cotton or microfiber cloth after use to remove oil, sweat, dirt, and lotion residue.
  • Remove jewelry before taking a shower, going for a swim, or working out. Salty ocean water, chlorine in the pool, and sweat will tarnish your gold-plated jewelry more quickly.
  • Store jewelry separately in anti-tarnish pouches. Or wrap every accessory in a soft cloth before putting it away in your fabric-lined jewelry box.
  • Wear jewelry only after applying all cosmetics and skin care products, including lotions, sunscreens, hairspray, and makeup.
  • Deep-clean your gold-plated jewelry once in one to two weeks, depending on how often you wear it. Avoid cleaning it daily, which could strip away the outer plating and do more harm than good.
  • When using a commercial jewelry cleaner, choose one that’s safe for gold-plated jewelry. Strong jewelry cleaners designed for solid gold can be harsh on plated gold.

Final thoughts

Now that you know how to restore gold-plated jewelry, you can make your accessories sparkly clean whenever they get dull.

Bring well-loved pieces with sentimental value to a jeweler for professional cleaning if DIY methods don’t work. Replating may be necessary if the gold plating is too worn and the base metal is exposed.

Written by Jane Pardo

Jane Pardo

Jane Pardo is our senior gold & silver expert. Jane lends insight into precious metals investing, collecting, testing, and maintenance.