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by Jesus Zabala - 4 min read

How To Clean A Costume Jewelry

How to clean a costume jewelry is a common question and an affordable and fashionable option for accessorizing any outfit.. Nevertheless, many pieces of costume jewelry are still valuable, either in monetary or sentimental value or perhaps even both.


Moreover, costume stones and metals are often less durable than those found in finer jewelry, requiring the use of gentle cleaning methods. Knowing how to clean these pieces properly without damaging them will set your mind at ease.

How To Clean A Costume Jewelry

How To Clean A Costume Jewelry

  1. Doing a Dry Clean
  2. Gentle Cleansing Solution
  3. Last Resort Cleaning With Stronger Cleanser

Method 1: Doing a Dry Clean

  • The dry method is a safe way to clean old jewelry since many moist or wet cleansers can leave behind a film or even cause lasting damage.
  • Find a workspace with good lighting. Overhead lights in dark rooms are likely to cast shadows and should be avoided.
  • Look for a desk with a lamp that you can direct or a clear counter in front of a window.
  • Use a dry baby toothbrush or similarly soft brush to gently brush the piece's surface. Doing this will remove any dirt caked onto the surface.
  • Hold a can of compressed air an inch or two away from the surface of your piece of costume jewelry and spray. This loosens any dirt and dust that might be trapped in the crevices.
  • Inspect your jewelry with a magnifying glass. Look for any additional trapped dirt.
  • Use a toothpick to carefully remove any dirt you spotted with the magnifying glass. Avoid using a metal pick, since this may scratch glass beads or soft gemstones if your hand slips.
  • Polish the piece with a dry, soft cloth. Doing so removes most fingerprints and smudges while giving your jewelry back a bit of its original shine.
a tattooed man in a jewelry ring with earth tone element and off metal at the center

Method 2: Gentle Cleansing Solution

If there is grime that does not come off after the dry clean, step things up a notch with a gentle cleansing solution.

To use this method, follow the steps below:

  • Mix one part of soap with three parts of lukewarm water in a small bowl or glass: Use gentle soap, since harsher soaps may contain chemicals that will damage your jewelry.
  • Dip the soft-bristled baby toothbrush into the soap and water solution. Alternatively, you may use a cotton swab.
  • Tap the brush on the side of the glass or bowl to remove the excess solution. Use the least amount of solution possible on your jewelry.
  • Gently brush the gems, beads, and metal of your jewelry with the brush or swab: Apply light pressure to avoid loosening any glue or enameling.
  • Rinse your jewelry under lukewarm water: Try to perform this step quickly. Water can damage costume jewelry, so you must not immerse it for long
  • Gently blot excess moisture off the piece with a soft, dry cloth.
  • Lay your jewelry out on a paper towel and finish drying it with a hair dryer: Use the dryer's cool setting, since heat can damage some costume jewelry.
  • Polish the piece with a soft, dry cloth: This would leave it all sparkling 
 a jewelry rugged abstract ring made in brass

Method 3: Last Resort Cleaning With Stronger Cleanser

If both the dry and gentle cleansing methods fail to fully clean stuck-on grime, switch to a stronger cleanser.

  • Get a non-acetone nail polish remover or a gentle jewelry cleanser.
  • Always read the label on the jewelry cleanser. Many are not suitable for costume jewelry because they contain chemicals like alcohol or vinegar. Only use a cleanser when the label specifically states that it is safe for costume jewelry.
  • Pour a small amount of the nail polish remover or cleanser into a bowl or glass.
  • Dip a cotton swab into the cleanser, soaking in as little as possible.
  • Tap the swab on the side of the glass to remove the excess solution.
  • Gently scrub any gems, glass beads, or metal elements- Avoid scrubbing around the area where the gem is attached to its backing, since even a gentle cleanser may loosen the glue.
  • Quickly rinse your jewelry under lukewarm water.
  • Blot off excess moisture with a dry, soft cloth.
  • Lay your jewelry on a paper towel and dry with a hair dryer. Keep the drying on a cool setting to prevent heat damage.
  • Polish your jewelry with a soft cloth and viola you're all set
Jewelry hammered ring with earth tone element and off metal at the center


Never soak your costume jewelry in a jewelry solution, even if the solution is safe to use on costume jewelry and pinky ring for men.

This is especially important if there are gemstones or other elements glued in place since many cleansers will loosen the adhesive.

  • Avoid using water on jewelry that contains copper or mixed metals. Water will react with the copper, damaging it in the process. Stick with simple dry methods for pieces like these.
  • Put your jewelry on last and take it off first.
  • Avoid putting your jewelry into contact with perfume, hair spray, or other chemicals

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