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How to Clean Pearls WITHOUT Ruining Them

How to Clean Pearls WITHOUT Ruining Them

Pearls are beautiful and their luster adds charm to virtually any type of jewelry. However, they are organic and vulnerable to the elements. A pearl can be easily damaged by acidic or alkaline substances, extreme humidity, hair spray, perfume, and other cosmetics. Even perspiration from your skin can be harmful to a pearl. 

When cleaning pearls, extreme care must be taken. But cleansing is needed after wearing pearl jewelry or putting it away in storage. We’ll now explain how to clean pearls without diminishing their luster or causing harm to your treasured gemstones.

Wipe with a Soft Cloth

You must do this every time you wear a pearl jewelry piece. Wiping pearls gently with a soft cloth removes oils secreted from your skin, perfume, sweat, and dirt. It’s hard to avoid these as they collect throughout the day. But they can be cleaned away before storage, so your pearls continue to look beautiful.

Use a Damp Cloth Only If Necessary

Pearls that are visibly stained need a little more TLC. To start, mix lukewarm water and mild dish soap in a small bowl. Then dip a soft cleaning cloth into the solution and use it to wipe the pearls. A pearl neckless should never be submerged in water. Doing so can cause the silk thread to weaken. 

In fact, it’s never good to submerge pearls in water. This includes when swimming, showering or doing the dishes. The chlorine will damage the epoxy that keeps pearls secured to their mountings. It will also soak the silk string holding them together, which will start to stretch and can break.

Treat Your Pearl Jewelry with Care

Pearl Jewelry

In addition to cleaning, proper storage will help your pearl jewelry last longer and retain its luster and beauty. Follow these tips when storing items after you clean them:
  • Allow it to dry before putting it away, so the silk strand remains elastic.
  • Keep pearls away from other jewelry or objects that can scratch them.
  • Place pearls in a soft pouch or wrap them in soft cloth or linen for protection. 
  • Do not place pearls in a plastic bag or another airtight package, as they can crack if too dry. 
  • If storing pearls in a hot location or safety deposit box, place them near a damp cloth.
  • Don’t store them near vinegar, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, or chlorine bleach.

Get an Annual Cleaning at Your Jeweler

While pearls are delicate, you should wear them as often as possible. Frequent use prevents them from drying out. Cleaning pearls every time you wear them is considered proper care, but it’s wise to have your jeweler check out your pearl bracelet, necklace, and even ring once a year. They can do a more thorough cleaning and check the integrity of your jewelry.
You may also want to restring pearls every two or three years. If you wear them more frequently, this may be recommended every year. Each pearl should be knotted separately. This makes them easier to clean and prevents them from rubbing together. And, remember never to clean pearls with steam or an ultrasonic cleaner, which can permanently damage their outer layer.

Shop for Pearls at Jeweler’s Touch

Follow our tips on cleaning pearls, which can last a long time. At Jeweler’s Touch, you’ll find high-quality pearl rings, bracelets, necklaces, and other jewelry. We also have gemstone jewelry and diamonds in all shapes and sizes. You’ll find top brands and collections in our catalog at any price point to fit your budget. 

If you don’t find a perfect match, we can custom design a piece based on your vision and using the latest 3D CAD technology. We also provide repairs, appraisals, and financing options. Call 714-579-1616 to learn more.

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