How to Clean Costume Jewelry in a Few Easy Steps

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Vera Lair/Stocksy

All that glitters is decidedly not gold (or diamonds or pearls). Somewhere between authenticity and aesthetics, costume jewelry is one of the best and most exciting ways to redefine your look without breaking the bank. Larger-than-life statement jewelry adds a new dimension to an outfit, offering you a bold look without the steep price point. But because of the intricacy of costume jewelry, keeping statement pieces looking their best is far easier said than done. Read on to find out how to clean costume jewelry in just a few simple steps.

1. Use Gentle Soap

Unlike the real deal, costume jewelry is made from affordable imitation materials. And while you shouldn’t necessarily be subjecting your real jewelry to harsh chemicals either, costume jewelry is far more susceptible to chipping, fading, and unwanted changes in color. Instead of jewelry cleaner, use a couple drops of the mildest soap you can get your hands on (baby shampoo is a great option) and mix it with just a few drops of warm water.

2. Wash With Care

Using a soft microfiber cloth, gently massage the surface of the jewelry. Depending on the shape of the item, you may also want to use a cotton swab to get in between the cracks. An old toothbrush isn’t a bad tool to utilize either, but only if the bristles are extremely soft. Many pieces of costume jewelry are plated with a thin layer of silver or gold, which is likely to wear off if you use anything abrasive.

3. Rinse and Dry

Use cool water (warm and hot water can be rough on the glue that’s often used in costume jewelry) to fully rinse the piece. Dry immediately using a clean, soft cloth. The key to cleaning costume jewelry is to avoid getting it wet for any longer than you absolutely have to since moisture can also cause damage. You can also use a blow-dryer (on the cool setting) to expedite the drying process.

Keeping It Clean

One of the best ways to clean costume jewelry is to be careful with it from the start. Remove all rings before washing your hands and applying lotions, moisturizers, and makeup. Preserve your items by storing them in individual bags inside of a jewelry box. Doing this will protect them from scratching and scraping while slowing down the oxidation process. By following these few simple tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite costume jewelry for years to come.

Up next, see seven of the best jewelry cleaners at every price point.