How to Test Gold with Baking Soda at Home: Fast DIY Method

Spot fake gold quickly and conveniently

Jane Pardo | Updated January 8, 2024

Baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, is a household staple used in baked goods and almost everyone has it in his house. But did you know you can also use it to determine gold authenticity?

As an expert in the field of gold, I know professional methods of testing the gold. But don’t worry, I also use many natural ways to verify gold authenticity that you can try at home without damaging your gold jewelry or accessories.

Different people follow different methods of homemade gold authenticity checks. Some prefer the vinegar test, while others say the best method is the magnet test. There are also many alternative home gold tests: the nitric acid test, the water test, and many others.

All these methods have pros and cons. But for me, the bicarbonate test seems the simplest and most realistic gold authenticity test. Many of my friends also know this method and often try it.

I remember a story about a friend of mine, who received a gold pendant as a gift. Being a skeptic of his own, he decided to see if it was real gold. He decided to try testing with baking soda.

The result surprised him, it showed that was pure gold. Then he began to appreciate the gift more and told everyone about the homemade gold authenticity checks.

So, let’s learn how to test gold with baking soda and why these DIY gold testing methods could work.

What will happen if you use baking soda on authentic gold items

Baking soda, this chemical compound, comes in the form of an alkaline granular white powder that can damage fake gold, on the other hand, there is no danger to pure gold. If the gold is genuine, nothing will happen when you use baking soda.

In other words, baking soda will not damage the surface of the gold. Genuine gold is a long-lasting metal that is non-magnetic because it is: Oxidation-resistant – it does not tarnish or rust. What you see on the surface is what you will find inside the gold.

How to spot fake gold using baking soda

First, create a soft baking soda paste by mixing baking soda with water in a bowl. Rub the mixture onto a small area of your gold. Leave the paste on your gold for 30 minutes. Rinse under tap water afterward. Baking soda causes a chemical reaction leading to discoloration on fake gold, whether testing a gold coin, bar, or jewelry piece.

It’s a good idea to rinse your gold over a glass bowl or a fine mesh strainer so it doesn’t accidentally wash down the drain. You can also plug your sink to prevent mishaps.

Rinse your gold piece thoroughly to remove all traces of bicarbonate. Dried particles can leave an unsightly film on gold. Dry your gold with a soft, clean cloth after.

Why testing gold with baking soda could work

Bicarbonate is an abrasive compound.

This alkaline substance is harsh on fake gold, particularly those with lightly sealed surfaces or low-quality metals.

  • It can permanently change the color of fake gold items, usually crafted from copper, zinc, bronze, and brass.
  • Additionally, rubbing bicarbonate on plated items can cause deep scratches and expose the metal underneath. Plated pieces generally have a thin overlay over a base metal.

Fake gold may have a genuine gold plating or a gold-like metal upper layer. Either way, baking soda could help confirm whether your gold is plated.

Baking soda for cleaning gold items

If your gold jewelry is genuine, bicarbonate will not affect it in any way. Moreover, it can help in maintaining gold. Bicarbonate revives the brilliance of gold jewelry and cleans and makes gold more lustrous by removing dirt and grime.

What other methods you can use for testing your gold

We did some experiments, testing several methods to be able to explain the effect of each test in more detail.

Testing the gold with a magnet

Gold is a non-magnetic metal. To test for gold, bring a magnet close to the piece you want to test. If it is pure gold, it will not be attracted to the magnet. It is a very easy test, but it is not always foolproof.

The bad side is that your piece of gold can contain ferromagnetic materials and still pass the test with the magnet if the magnet is not strong enough to detect the material.

For instance, jewelry made from aluminum or copper, will also not be attracted to a neodymium magnet. 

It is important to remember that gold, in its pure form, will not be attracted to a magnet, but we never have gold accessories in its pure form, it is always in alloy with other metals.


It’s important always to use a strong neodymium magnet for testing the gold for authenticity.

The Float Test

Take a bowl with water and put your gold in it. The real gold is a dense metal (19.32 g/ ml) and will sink to the bottom. If the piece is made of lighter metals, it will float in the water.


Also, the Float test is not 100% foolproof because the item we are testing may also contain heavy metals that sink. You must remember that gold properties make it resistant to corrosion and not rust or discolor in water.

For the veracity of the test, note any changes might mean that you have counterfeit items.

The Makeup Test

For this test, you will need a small amount of liquid foundation. Blend it on your hand. Then set the powder over and let it dry. Start rubbing your gold item back and forth against your hand’s skin with a previously applied liquid foundation or powder. If the gold is real, it will leave a black streak on your skin.


On clean, dry skin the gold should not leave any kind of traces after rubbing. In the case of green or black marks on clean skin, the gold may be not real. Test your accessories on both clean, dry skin and skin with the foundation to see if there is any difference.

Readers Tips

Glad to see our readers appreciate the baking soda method too. Many have shared their experience and told how they did this test.

One user said that adding a drop of lemon juice improves the reaction and another recommended testing in natural sunlight for more accurate results. This crowded information increases the effectiveness of the baking soda method.

Frequent Asked Questions

Can I use baking soda to test 24k gold?

Avoid using baking soda to test 24k gold, which is the form of purest gold. Gold of this fineness level is a very soft metal and thus prone to scratching. Apply a baking soda paste on a small area only if you want to use it on solid gold.

Should I use baking soda to test gold at home?

Test gold at home with baking soda if you want a simple authentication method. However, It’s best to have a professional appraiser or jeweler inspect your gold to confirm its authenticity.

What is the easiest way to test gold?

The easiest way to check gold at home is to look
markings and stamps on gold. Also called the Hallmark test. Genuine gold pieces are usually marked with letters or numbers that provide basic information about the gold piece. There is usually a hallmark that indicates what kind of gold you have.

How do you manually test gold?

Compared to other metals, gold is a metal that is resistant to change by corrosion, oxidation, or acid. To test a piece of gold, you can use a nitric acid test. Rub the item you want to test against a black stone (which you can find at a jeweler).
On this stone, usually, the piece of gold leaves a small mark. Gold is tested by applying Aqua Regia (nitric acid and hydrochloric acid), which dissolves traces of other metals but not gold.

Final thoughts

Baking soda is a quick and convenient DIY testing method that can help you get an idea of the authenticity of your precious metal. Baking soda is also a good gold-cleaning item.

Please, don’t forget to write in commentaries if you like this method and what other methods you use for testing the gold accessories.

Remember to use more reliable and proven methods. Check out our guide on how to tell real gold.

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.