Many people ask how they can clean their gold ring, when what they really mean to ask is how they can clean their gold ring cheaply. They have become accustomed to the fact that going to a jewelers can mean having to dig deeply into their pockets. This is, of course, true if you are going in to buy something. If you just want a piece of jewelry polished though, it can be very cheap indeed to get a professional to do it for you. Sometimes they’ll even polish up that gold ring for free if you go to the same place you bought it from!
Disclaimer: here are a few ways you can try out, if you are determined to polish your gold rings, or in fact any kind of precious metal jewelry. Personally, I always go to the jewelers so somebody can be held to account if the item is ruined. In other words, consider the value of your own rings and other items, both in terms of their cash value but also their sentimental value. Is it worth risking a cheap method rather than seeing a pro? So try these cleaning methods at your own risk!
If your gold ring has scratches on it or has gone dull and you want to polish it up like new, you can use a relatively high tech method – most homes probably don’t have a buffing wheel. The jewelers have buffing wheels and use a polishing compound for gold, called red rouge. But you can buy red rouge polishing cloths, which are two-sided. One side has the abrasive impregnated into it for polishing. The other side is for final buffing. Here’s a quick click showing one being used:
Grab yourself a polishing cloth here.
You can try using this type of compound and a lot of elbow grease to rub your jewelry to the glossy shine that you want. Most of the polishing compounds you can buy though are mildly abrasive. This means they wear away the surface layer of the ring during the process. For gold rings this is not a problem; just make sure your ring is gold rather than gold plated. Otherwise, eventually, after a few polishes, you will have to get it re-plated at substantial cost. This will be the only decent method for removing scratches; if you opt for a cleaning solution, it will shine up the gold but leave scratches untouched.
There are some very low tech methods for cleaning your gold ring which shouldn’t cause too much damage – be careful though!
For general cleaning, in between professional polishes, you can use toothpaste and an old toothbrush. Make sure the bristles are worn and soft so they don’t leave scratches on the surface of the ring. Then rinse in water and buff dry thoroughly using a clean soft cloth. Note: many toothpastes contain abrasives to help whiten and remove stubborn stains from teeth. So you are well-advised to use a little caution with toothpaste. Many experts will advise against using toothpaste at all, like in the following clip. He suggests regular household cleaner, but still with a toothbrush (rather than soaking in dish soap – see number 3 below).
2. Baking soda
Mix some baking soda and water into a paste, and then use the trusty old toothbrush again, carefully to prevent scratches. Then rinse the gold ring with clean water and dry using a jewelers polishing cloth.
3. Dish soap
This method is good for de-greasing. Soak the gold ring in warm water containing a little dish soap. Leave it soaking for an hour or so. Then brush it with an old toothbrush, rinse with clean water and dry on a soft cloth.
And now on to some of the oddball cleaning ideas, which do allegedly work – can’t vouch for them myself though.
4. Coca cola
I’m sure if this works, then any brand of cola will do the trick. Just soak the ring in it for an hour, brush and rinse, then dry it carefully. (This idea is based on the observation that coke can give coins their original shine. But of course, coins are not made of 18K gold!)
Yeah, I said vodka. Use this (like dish soap) as a detergent to de-grease and remove dirt and grime from your gold ring. The same method applies: brush using an old toothbrush, rinse off with clean water and dry the ring thoroughly.
Some of these methods will be safe enough to use at home, but they will not provide you with that brand new look gold ring. You will need to get it professionally cleaned for that, especially if you want minor scratches removed. Your local jewelers will have all the necessary kit available to them, including buffing wheels and ultrasonic cleaning equipment. If you are at all worried about damaging your jewelry, then save yourself any hassle and go there.