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

Spot fake gold quickly and conveniently

Jane Pardo | Updated March 5, 2023

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a household staple used in baked goods.

But did you know you can also use it to determine gold authenticity?

This chemical compound comes in the form of an alkaline granular white powder that can damage fake gold.

Learn how to test gold at home with baking soda and why this DIY method could work.

How to spot fake gold using baking soda

First, create a soft 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 baking soda. 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

Baking soda 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 imitation gold items, usually crafted from copper, zinc, bronze, and brass.
  • Additionally, rubbing baking soda 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.

If your gold is genuine, baking soda will not affect it in any way. A baking soda paste may, in fact, clean and make gold more lustrous by removing dirt and grime.


Can I use baking soda to test 24k gold?

Avoid using baking soda to test 24k gold, which is the purest form of gold. Gold of this fineness level is very soft 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 is not foolproof. It’s best to have a professional appraiser or jeweler inspect your gold to confirm its authenticity.

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.

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.