How To Clean Gold
Although gold does not tarnish, it does get dirty, and so it is always wise to know how to clean gold. Oil from your body can dull gold. Cosmetics and other health and beauty aids can dull gold's luster.
To clean gold, you will need:
- Mild dish detergent
- Surgical or carpenter's facemask
- Rubber gloves
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton swabs
- Paper towels
- Dry cloth
- Glass or ceramic mixing bowl
- Access to warm and hot water
Follow these steps for the removal of oils or cosmetics:
- Rinsing off body oils or even residue from lotions or cosmetics in warm water and mild dish detergent often is enough to clean gold. Do not scrub gold with an abrasive material. This will only scratch or gouge the gold.
- Put the gold pieces into a bath of hot tap water before drying them off with paper towels or a dry cloth. Keep a strainer in place to ensure that you don't lose your clean gold pieces down the drain.
- A light residue of body oil can be removed from gold by simply rinsing it in a glass or ceramic bowl partially filled with rubbing alcohol. You can employ a soft toothbrush to facilitate this process.
- An old toothbrush can also assist in getting any dirt from around stones or incised areas in the gold setting. Avoid gouging or scaring the stones or the gold when you clean gold.
- A cotton swab or toothpick can also be used to get really embedded dirt out of a gold setting, especially from around gem stones. Swabs are also good for getting off oils or lotions left clinging to chains or like gold material.
For a more thorough general cleaning:
- Put on a facemask to protect your lungs and eyes when you attempt to clean gold in toxic solutions. You can a mask in a department or hardware store.
- Put warm or cold water with an equal amount of ammonia into a glass or ceramic bowl to clean gold that requires more extensive cleaning. Do not use a metal bowl because of a reaction between the metal and the ammonia. Do not submerge stones that are glued into a setting. Ammonia or even warm water will penetrate the glue and your stones will fall out. Do not use ammonia around turquoise or any dyed, painted, or lacquered material. Research your gem stones before putting them into any cleaning solution.
- Use gloves. Although rubber gloves are not necessary, you may want to use them to protect your hands from drying and from retaining an ammonia smell after you clean gold in ammonia. Ammonia can also damage fingernail polish or the glue on false fingernails.
- Brush. After letting your pieces set for a half hour before you clean gold, brush the gold pieces with soft toothbrush. Ammonia will dissolve a portion of your gold if the gold is left too long into an ammonia solution.
- After probing around gem stones and incised area in the setting with a toothpick to remove any embedded dirt, brush the gold piece again before rinsing it in hot running water. Make sure the strainer in your sink is firmly in place so that you do not lose any clean gold down the drain.
- Wipe the clean gold dry with a dry rag or paper towels. Once you have learned how to clean gold, you can apply your knowledge anytime you find that your gold pieces are lusterless or covered with oils or other material.