Can I Clean Jewelry With Alcohol?

Jewelry Care

Can I Clean Jewelry With Alcohol?

If you’ve recently bought some jewelry or noticed that some of your jewelry needs cleaning, then you might be asking yourself, “Can I clean jewelry with alcohol?”

As a whole, the answer is: yes, for some types, you can clean your jewelry with alcohol. These types include certain precious metals like silver and gold and other types of high-quality metals. By using the right methods, you can clean your jewelry with alcohol as well as with some alternatives.

What Kind of Jewelry Can Be Cleaned With Alcohol

If you have any jewelry that’s made from a real precious metal such as silver or gold, you can clean it safely with alcohol. As long as your jewelry is made from these metals, the jewelry won’t be damaged, whatever its karat or quality.

Note that sterling silver can also be cleaned with alcohol, as it’s made from the real precious metal silver.

Other jewelry materials you can safely clean with alcohol include tungsten, silver-plated titanium, and platinum. Because these materials are stable and solid, they should be safe to clean with alcohol.

However, remember that when it comes to these types of materials, you need to ensure that the plating is genuine before cleaning them with alcohol.

What About Gemstones?

When it comes to most gemstones, you should be able to clean them with alcohol. This is certainly the case if you have precious gemstones, because these types of gemstones are more durable and harder, which means they can handle the alcohol on their surface.

However, if you have gemstones that are semi-precious, only some of them can be cleaned with alcohol.

Stable gems, for example, topaz and amethyst, can easily be cleaned with alcohol.

What Kind of Jewelry Isn’t Safe to Clean With Alcohol

There are some types of jewelry you can’t clean with alcohol. This includes any jewelry made from plastic, acrylic, or inferior metals (for example, copper). When you clean these materials with rubbing alcohol, you can create many problems.

These problems include the corrosion, cracking, and fading of your jewelry. You could also potentially break your jewelry or give yourself an infection when you’re wearing it.

Gemstones You Can’t Clean With Alcohol

Even though you can easily clean precious and some semi-precious gemstones with alcohol, there are some that could easily be damaged if you use this chemical to clean them. These are the organic types of gemstones, pearls and opals.

These gemstones have a shiny coating, and if you were to clean them with alcohol, the alcohol could eat away at it.

The Proper Way to Clean Jewelry With Alcohol

When it comes to how to clean jewelry with alcohol, there are several steps you have to take. First, fill a non-porous, smooth bowl with alcohol. The level of alcohol should be such that, when you put your jewelry in, it will be completely submerged.

Place the jewelry in the alcohol. Then, soak it overnight so that the debris or grime on the tarnished jewelry will loosen.

Once your jewelry has been in the alcohol for eight hours or more, you should use a soft cloth or cotton swab to remove any of the debris or grime from your jewelry. Rinse it by submerging it lightly in the alcohol again.

Next, you need to wait for the jewelry to air dry. Then, buff the jewelry with a microfiber or buffing cloth.

Note that, when it comes to how to clean precious jewelry, the steps are the same—as long as this jewelry is made from materials that can be cleaned with alcohol safely.

Jewelry Cleaning Alternatives to Alcohol

If you have any jewelry that can’t be cleaned with alcohol, not to worry. There are many alternatives you can use, including everyday household substances such as aluminum foil, Alka-Seltzer, baking soda, ammonia, beer, vinegar, and more.

Aluminum Foil

To clean your jewelry with aluminum foil, place some aluminum foil inside a bowl so it lines the interior. Then, put hot water in the bowl and add a tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent that doesn’t have any bleach in it. Then, soak your jewelry for one minute.

Next, rinse it off and wait for it to air dry. Because of the ion exchange process, your jewelry will be clean.

Alka Seltzer

Another easy way to clean your jewelry is with Alka Seltzer. Simply fill up a glass with water, drop an Alka Seltzer tablet in, and put in any jewelry that’s a bit dull. Wait a couple of minutes. Then, take out your jewelry, and you’ll find that it shines and sparkles again!

Baking Soda

If you have silver jewelry that’s been tarnished, you can use baking soda to fix this issue. To create this paste, combine 2 tablespoons of water with ¼ cup of baking soda. Then, apply this solution with a damp sponge while gently rubbing.

Next, rinse off your jewelry and buff it dry. If you have gold jewelry, the process is a little different. Simply coat it with a small amount of baking soda, pour some vinegar on it, and use water to rinse it clean.

Note that this is not a gentle jewelry cleaner for gemstones or pearls. The baking soda mix could loosen glue or damage the finish.


If you want your silver and gold to shine and sparkle like they used to, you can use ammonia to clean them. Mix one cup of warm water with a half-cup of ammonia. Then, drop your jewelry in and allow it to soak the mixture in for 10 minutes.

Next, take the jewelry out and wipe it clean using a soft cloth. Then, allow it to air dry.

Note that you can’t use this method for cleaning pearls. This is because the ammonia could damage or dull the delicate surface.


Believe it or not, you can use beer to make your solid gold shiny. Keep in mind that this process only works if you’re cleaning gold alone; it doesn’t work with gemstones. Additionally, you should be using ordinary beer, nothing like a dark ale.

To use this process, pour some of your beer onto a soft cloth. Then, rub the cloth on your gold jewelry and rub gently.

Next, dry your jewelry with a different cloth or with a towel. Your gold will be glimmering in no time.


Cleaning jewelry with vinegar is also possible. To do this, find a Mason jar or other type of container that will fit the jewelry you want to clean. Then, place your jewelry in and fill the container with white vinegar so that your jewelry is completely submerged.

Depending on how much tarnish you’re going to remove, you should leave the jewelry submerged for between two and three hours.

Once you’ve completed this step, rinse the jewelry and dry it. By the way, if your jewelry is only a little bit tarnished, this process should only take around fifteen minutes.

Club Soda

Another common household substance you can use to clean your jewelry is club soda. This works best with emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and diamonds so that they glimmer like they use to. Put them into a glass, fill it with glass soda, and soak them in it overnight.


If you have tarnished silver, you can use ketchup to clean it up. If your jewelry has a smooth surface (for example, it’s a simple band), then you can dunk it into a bowl of ketchup. Do this for a few minutes. Don’t do this for too long as you don’t want to damage the silver.

If your jewelry doesn’t have a smooth surface, then you’ll need to work ketchup into its crevices by putting the ketchup on an old toothbrush.

Once you’ve done the ketchup method, rinse off your jewelry and dry it. Then it will be beautiful again.

Need More Information?

Now that you’ve learned about how to clean your jewelry with alcohol and other alternatives, you might need more information. Maybe you want to learn about products used by professionals that you can also use to clean your jewelry.

Or maybe you have some gemstones you aren’t sure can be cleaned with one of these methods, and you want to find out.

Whatever information you need, we can help. At Philophrosyne, we’re experts when it comes to jewelry. We also sell all types of jewelry. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us now.


  • Maggie

    Very useful info. Thanks

  • Shopper

    My jeweler suggests cleaning with toothpaste and a toothbrush for babies since they have soft, fine bristles.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published