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by Jesus Zabala - 4 min read

How to Clean a Chain Necklace

How to clean a chain necklace is an important aspect of jewelry maintenance to keep your favorite accessory looking its best. Oftentimes, the thoughts of how to have it cleaned without damaging it, yet retaining the initial spark and shine it came in, has been a question you've been looking for answers to. 

  • It can be easy to miss that your chain necklace needs a clean, either because you wear it all the time and don't notice the changes or because it's been put away somewhere and you don't look at it too often.
  • You might be a bit alarmed when you realize just how grimy and dull some of your favorite pieces are.

The good news is that cleaning for most chain necklace pieces is pretty easy and we've outlined some steps you can try out with items you have right at home.

Ways To Clean a Chain Necklace

Ways To Clean a Chain Necklace

  1. Silvermate (shiny silver only, no black oxidized or acid washed products)
  2. Soap & water
  3. Baking Soda
  4. White vinegar
  5. Lemon juice
  6. Water and dishwashing liquid
  7. Lemon and salt bath
  8. Regular toothpaste
  9. Window cleaner

Silvermate (recommended) (use on shiny silver only, no black oxidized silver or acid washed products)

The best option on the market and the one we use to revitalize silver that’s been sitting for some time is Silvermate. You can buy a jug of this on Amazon for around $40. 

The Use of Soap & Water

This is a very effective cleaning method for silver, stainless steel, gold-plated, gold-filled chain necklaces.

  • Soak your chain for a few moments in a mixture of hot water and Marseille soap, afterwards, gently rub your jewelry with a soft cloth.
  • You can use a soft toothbrush or a cotton swab to clean the most interlocking links.
  • Then rinse with clear water and dry.

The Use of Baking Soda Only

This method is very effective for all types of chains: Silver, Stainless Steel, Gold-Plated, Gold-Filled, or Costume Jewelry Pieces.

  • Baking soda is different from baking powder used in baking.
  • This can also be a good alternative.
  • Put a tablespoon of baking soda in a bowl, add a little warm water and mix until it forms a paste.
  • Then use a soft toothbrush to clean your chain necklaces.
Use of Baking Soda

White Vinegar

This method works well on your silver big link chain necklace, however, it should not be used for gold-plated chains, gold-filled chains, or chains with a gold, silver, or other finish, because the acidity of the white vinegar may damage the plating.

  • To do this, soak your chain in a bowl filled with white vinegar.
  • After a few hours, you can rinse your jewelry and gently dry it.

The Use of Lemon Juice

Lemon juice will also work wonders. Simply wipe your jewelry with a soft cloth soaked in lemon juice. Once you've done this, rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.

But, do not use lemon juice for Gold Plated, Gold-Filled or those with a gold, silver, or other finish as they do not tolerate chemicals or products that are too acidic and aggressive, which could damage the plating.

  • This is a good idea if you want to clean a gold chain necklace that’s more heavily soiled.
  • Boil up a little water, submerge the chain in it.
  • Leave it until the water is cool enough for handling.
  • Then clean the chain gently with your fingers or a soft brush.
  • Again, leave it to dry on a tea towel when you’ve finished.
  • This method should be avoided if your chain has any stones that can’t be removed.

Water and Dishwashing Liquid

  • Mix warm water in a bowl with a few drops of washing-up liquid, leave the chain in the bowl for a few minutes.
  • Then gently massage the gold clean with your fingers.
  • Rinse the chain in clean water and lay it out on a clean tea towel to dry.

Lemon and Salt Bath

  • Squeeze a piece of lemon into a bowl with 3 tablespoons of salt and hot water and place the necklace in, to rest there for 5 minutes.
  • Remove and rub with a soft cloth.
  • Suitable for Silver Chains.

Lemon and Salt Bath

Regular Toothpaste

  • Take a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on a dish and rub it into the silver using a dishwashing sponge.
  • Rinse in warm water.

Window Cleaner

Spray the window cleaner onto a soft cloth and rub it on a silver chain necklace. 

A white "jewelry cleaning/polishing" cloth is one of the best instruments that you could have in possession for cleaning your chain necklaces

You can purchase a white "Jewelry Polishing'’ cloth from a silver-selling store, cobblers, or online stores.

  • We did not use this in the experiment as we expect that most people do not have them at home.
  • However after some of the methods were tried and tested, we used the silver cleaning cloth to see if it helped with a better cleansing.
  • Even after the best method of baking soda and aluminum, you can use the silver cleaning cloth to just give it an extra shine.

Jesús  is the founder and designer of JewelryLab. He is the Head of Design and also oversees production, quality control, and precious metal sourcing.