How to Clean White Gold: 3 Easy Methods to Do at Home

If your white gold earrings look unattractive, it’s time to clean your jewelry and restore its striking shimmer.

Jane Pardo | Updated December 5, 2023

Simple household supplies like dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar can help remove dirt and gunk buildup.

Keep reading to learn easy DIY cleaning methods you can do at home.

How to clean white gold with dishwashing liquid and baking soda

White gold is an alloy containing pure yellow gold and silvery-white precious metals, such as silver, palladium, nickel, or zinc.

A rhodium coating gives it a gleaming white sheen and additional protection from dents and scratches.

Follow these simple steps to clean dirty white gold jewelry and restore its dazzling shine.

Soak in a mild soapy solution.

  • Ensure there are no loose gemstones or broken clasps, whether cleaning a white gold diamond ring or necklace.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid with 1 to 2 cups of warm water. Stir well.
  • Add 3 to 4 drops of ammonia to the cleaning solution when cleaning very dirty white gold jewelry.
  • Soak your white gold in the cleaning solution for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Avoid soaking white gold jewelry with delicate gems like pearl or onyx. You may dip a soft cloth in the soapy water and wrap the metal parts. Or gently rub your jewelry with the cleaning solution, carefully avoiding the gems.

Clean with baking soda paste.

  • Remove your white gold jewelry from the soapy water.
  • Next, mix baking soda with a small amount of water to form a thick paste.
  • Gently scrub your white gold accessory with the baking soda paste using a soft-bristled toothbrush to reach tiny nooks and crevices.
  • Finally, generously rinse with warm water. Keep washing your gold until there’s no soap or baking soda paste residue. Plug the sink when rinsing your gold under running water.
  • Pat dry and gently polish with a clean microfiber, flannel, or cotton cloth.

Note: Abrasive products can wear down your white gold jewelry’s rhodium coating more quickly. Use a gentle household cleaning product with no chlorine, bleach, or other harsh chemicals.

Clean white gold with vinegar

Vinegar is an all-around item used in various household applications, including deep-cleaning white gold jewelry.

  • Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of white vinegar to a bowl of warm water.
  • Soak your white gold jewelry for up to 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the bowl, and gently clean with a soft toothbrush to remove all dirt and debris from nooks and crannies.
  • Wash your jewelry with water. Pat dry for a minute and leave to air dry.

The vinegar gold cleaning method works for white gold jewelry with or without diamonds.

Avoid using this method for accessories with semi-precious gemstones, like white pearls, moonstones, and amethyst.

Apply a high-quality white gold cleaning product

You may want to use a professional jewelry cleaner, available online and in local jewelry stores, if the above homemade cleaning solutions didn’t work.

A jewelry cleaning kit usually includes a liquid cleaning solution, a small soft brush, and a polishing cloth.

  • Choose a jewelry cleaner specially formulated to clean white gold.
  • Some jewelry cleaning products, like sterling silver cleaning solutions, are too strong for white gold. They could erode the rhodium plating that protects the white gold alloy.

Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions to get the best results without damaging your white gold.

How to clean tarnished white gold

Does your white gold jewelry have a fading color with a yellowish tint?

That means the outer rhodium coating has worn too much, revealing the white gold alloy underneath with a natural creamy yellowish-white color.

  • Unlike yellow gold jewelry, white gold DOES NOT tarnish.
  • White gold has a special plating that provides extra shine, strength, and corrosion resistance.
  • Cleaning a yellowish-white gold accessory won’t bring back its original bright white color.

Ask your jeweler if they can recoat your white gold jewelry if it has turned yellow.

They can refresh the rhodium plating to make your white gold look new.

You may have your white gold recoated for free if your warranty still covers it.

Keep your white gold jewelry shiny at all times

Dirt and grime can build up over time and make your white gold look dull.

That’s why it’s essential to clean your jewelry every once in a while.

Monthly or bi-monthly cleanings may be necessary when using an everyday accessory, like a white gold ring.

Here are more tips to help you maintain the stunning beauty of your white gold:

Store your white gold in a soft-lined jewelry box or pouch.

  • Your jewelry box should have multiple compartments for well-organized storage, ensuring your different jewelry pieces don’t bump and scratch each other.
  • Separate expensive fine jewelry from lower karats.

Remove your white gold jewelry before showering and applying skin care products.

  • Showering products, cosmetics, perfumes, and skin care products may contain ingredients that can wear away the outer coating of white gold.
  • Also, soap and lotion can get stuck in crevices and dull the shine of your jewelry.

Remove your white gold accessories before going for a swim.

  • It’s best to put away your white gold, whether you’re showering, dipping in the hot tub, soaking in the swimming pool, or exploring the sea.

Wear gloves when cleaning, gardening, or doing laundry.

  • Doing so will help protect your white gold jewelry from scratches, dents, and damage caused by abrasive cleaning products.
  • Or you can remove all accessories, whether you’re wearing a white gold necklace, ring, or bracelet.

Final thoughts

White gold naturally loses its brilliant white color over time, especially with frequent exposure to sweat, chlorine, salt water, and other harsh elements.

But with our tips above, you can keep your white gold jewelry shiny and visually pleasing for a long time.

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.