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by Jesus Zabala - 4 min read

How to Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry

How to clean stainless steel jewelry is a common question asked by many jewelry enthusiasts. Stainless steel jewelry has become increasingly popular due to its durability and affordability. Steel is an alloy made of iron and carbon. This material corrodes because of its iron content.

  • To make steel stainless, alloys such as chromium, nickel, silicon, copper, sulfur molybdenum, titanium, niobium, manganese, etc. are added.
  • Chromium, in quantities between 10 and 30%, is added to create chromium oxide, which becomes a protective barrier against the elements, making it stainless steel, which is corrosion-resistant, fire-resistant, eco-friendly, and durable.
  • Stainless steel is also relatively easy to make and clean, and it has a low lifecycle cost.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry

How To Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry Using Soap And Water

Using soap and water is the simplest way to clean your stainless steel jewelry at home. It’s also great for cleaning diamond earrings, gold-plated jewelry, and most other pieces.

You will need:

  •    Warm water
  •    2 bowls
  •    2 non-abrasive, lint-free cloths
  •    Polishing cloth

Step 1

Combine two drops of your mild dish soap with warm water until sudsy. Fill the second bowl with plain warm water.

Step 2

If your stainless steel jewelry is visibly dirty, allow it to soak for 5-10 minutes. Otherwise, proceed to dip one of the lint-free cloths into the soapy water. Keep the other cloth dry.

Step 3

Gently rub the wet cloth against the grain. Avoid using an abrasive cloth that may cause minor scratching. You can also use a soft toothbrush.

Step 4

When finished, dip the stainless steel jewelry into the bowl with plain warm water to get rid of any loose particles and soap residue.

Alternative: Rinse under the faucet

Step 5

Dry with the second lint-free cloth or allow it to air dry. Use your polishing cloth afterward for the best results.

Using Soap and Water to clean your jewelry has some advantages and disadvantages which are:  It is very easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and very quickly while on the other hand, it won't effectively clean extremely dirty pieces.

hand holding a bracelet with a skull design

How To Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry With Baking Soda

Baking soda is particularly great for cleaning stainless steel jewelry because it also doubles as a polisher.

For this method, You will need:

  •    1 tbsp baking soda
  •    ½ tbsp water
  •    Bowl
  •    Soft-bristle toothbrush

Step 1

Combine baking soda with water in the bowl to create a thick paste.

Step 2

Dip the toothbrush into the mixture. Use it to gently scrub the surface of the jewelry, avoiding any gemstones as baking soda can scratch the surface of soft gemstones.

Step 3

After cleaning, rinse under running water, then pat dry. Polish as necessary.

Baking Soda Acts as a polisher, a deodorizer and also gets rid of stubborn grime but when not used with caution, can scratch gemstones.

jewelry bracelet in a cuff style in the hand

How To Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry With Vinegar

As you can see, cleaning stainless steel jewelry is possible with everyday household items. Another example of this is vinegar. It creates a simple, yet effective cleaning solution:

For this, You will need:

  •      1 cup vinegar
  •      1 cup water
  •      Bowl
  •      2 soft, lint-free cloths
  •      Spray bottle (for easy application)

Step 1

Combine vinegar with water in the bowl. Submerge stainless steel jewelry for 10-15 minutes.

Alternative: Combine vinegar and water in the spray bottle. Next, spray the mixture onto stainless steel jewelry separately.

Step 2

Dip one cloth into the mixture and spot clean the jewelry. Keep the other cloth dry.

Step 3

Rinse the jewelry under running water, then dry with the second soft lint-free cloth. Finally, use a polishing cloth for the best results. 

Using Vinegar is quite straightforward and deodorizes your piece but the downside is the strong vinegar smell it leaves afterward 

girl wearing jewelry with a rugged abstract earring design

Using Ultrasonic Cleaners For Stainless Steel Jewelry

These are another option for enhanced stainless steel jewelry cleanings at home, and they work well for the rest of your jewelry.

  • An ultrasonic cleaner can also clean multiple pieces of jewelry at once and are not only safe for delicate jewelry but also for glasses, combs, watchbands, dentures, toothbrushes, razors, and so on.
  • It all works at the click of a button, without the need to manually rub, scrub or polish your jewelry.

Busy Schedule? Take Your Jewelry To A Jewelers For Professional Cleaning

If you don’t have the time to clean your stainless steel jewelry yourself and/or have no interest in purchasing a cleaning kit or ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, your next option is to take it to a professional for an expert .

This method gives you an overall better result, it prevents unnecessary damage to metal or gemstones and the experts can make minor repairs, although it comes as an expensive service.

woman in white wearing a clean jewelry necklace having a snake and rose pendant

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