Who doesn’t love jewelry? It allows us to accessorize, express our own tastes, and bring sparkle and shine into our outfits.
The only downside is when our jewelry begins to tarnish, discolor, or break. Then what do you do? Toss your beloved jewelry aside and replace it? Especially if you wear a lot a costume jewelry, constantly replacing it defeats the purpose of its affordability and low-maintenance ease.
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to throw out or try to sell your jewelry if it starts to tarnish or needs a quick fix. There are many easy hacks, tips, and tricks you can do at home to clean, fix, and enhance your jewelry.
Keep in mind that many of these tips are meant to be used on costume jewelry only. If you’re working with the real deal, use caution and take it to a professional jeweler or use specialized cleaner.
1. The Many Uses of Nail Polish
Have you ever gotten a weird green tint on your skin from fake jewelry? You can prevent this from happening with something as simple as a coat of clear nail polish. If you have a ring or a bracelet that’s leaving you with odd marks, just coat the side that touches your skin with clear nail polish and let it dry. Voila! No more color transfer.
Similarly, you can prevent your metal costume jewelry from chipping by spraying it with a clear gloss acrylic spray. Clean your jewelry first and then apply a light coating of the spray. Let dry, and then your jewelry is ready to go!
Nail polish can also be used to give your jewelry a boost. For example, if you have a necklace made of clear gems, try using colored nail polish to paint the gems and re-purpose the jewelry you already have. No need to buy an entirely new jewelry wardrobe! When you think creatively, it's easy to update your jewelry.
2. The Power of Household Cleaner
Are the gems on your necklace or ring not quite shining the way they used to? It’s likely that there’s buildup that’s blocking the light from properly reflecting off your jewels. The good news is there’s an easy fix: household cleaner.
You can shine faux gems with Fantastik, Mr. Clean, 409, Windex, or another similar household cleaner. Mix 1/3 cleaner with 2/3 water and let your jewelry soak in it overnight. After its’s done soaking, rinse it with water and use a cleaning brush (or even a spare toothbrush) to polish your gems and remove any gunk.
Speaking of Windex, did you know that you can also use Windex to remove a ring that’s stuck on your finger? Yup, just spray some Windex on that finger and the ring will come right off. Not only does the spray act as a lubricant, but it also has properties that make your skin shrink a bit, therefore making it easier for the ring to come off.
3. Food Can Clean Jewelry?!
Did you know that beer can clean your gold? You read that right – beer! Just dip a clean cloth into some beer and gently rub your gold jewelry with it. Clean it with a dry cloth. This will work with genuine gold as well.
Similarly, your favorite condiment isn’t only meant for food anymore. That’s right, ketchup can clean silver. Simply rub it on your silver for a few minutes, then rinse. Strange, but true.
4. Necklace Problems?
We’ve all been there – you’re unpacking from a vacation and the necklaces you've packed have tangled together into a matted mess. To prevent hours of frustration or avoid having to throw out a clump of necklaces, the next time you travel thread your necklaces through a cut piece of plastic straw. The straws will prevent multiple chains from tangling.
Or, if the chains are too large to fit through a straw, you can wrap the necklaces in cling wrap so they are all kept separate.
However, if you have tangled necklaces, there are three tricks you can try to make untangling them easier:
- Apply baby oil to the chains. Knots should come out more easily if the chains are greased.
- Insert a straight pin into the center of the knot. Use the pin to try to pull the knot apart.
- Baby powder will also act as a lubricant to loosen any knots. Sprinkle some on top of the knot and it will make it easier to pull apart.
5. Make Your Jewelry Shine
Here’s an easy way to shine your jewelry and rid it of tarnish. The best part is, this just takes a few minutes in the comfort of your own home. No professional jeweler required!
Cover a plate or the inside of a bowl with aluminum foil and pour in 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Separately (don’t put aluminum foil in the microwave!), heat 1 cup of water to where it’s hot but not boiling. Then pour it in to the baking soda and mix everything together. Add ½ cup of vinegar and watch it bubble. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Put your jewelry in the mixture. The idea here is that the salt, baking soda, and water should oxidize the tarnish off the jewelry and the aluminum in the bowl should re-plate the silver.
After 5-10 minutes, take out the jewelry and rinse it, then clean it with a soft rag to remove any extra tarnish and reveal a like-new shine!
6. Add Length
If you love a certain necklace but need it to be longer, there’s no need to take it to a jeweler or toss it aside. You can make a necklace longer at home! Attach the necklace clasp to a chain-link bracelet or anklet, and you’ll automatically add instant length to any necklace. So simple, yet so effective!
7. Resize Jewelry Yourself!
Did you know you can resize your watch on your own? If you need to make your watch smaller, it’s as simple as learning how to remove links.
If you’re watch has one screw connecting the links, loosen it and then place a very thin screwdriver or thumbtack on the other side of the hole. Lightly tap the screwdriver so you get the end of the screw to pop out on the other side. Once it pops through, grab some pliers and grab it out. Now the link is free! Just remember not to remove the link closest to the closure latch – you’ll still need that link to secure the watch.
To reassemble, line up the pinholes and slide the pin back in, put the screw back in place, and use the screwdriver to tighten it. All done!
Did you know you can also resize rings at home with silicone? Note that this is meant to be a temporary solution. Get some food grade silicone and make sure it’s the kind that will dry clear. If you’re nervous about how silicone will interact with the metal, you can always test some on the back of a spoon.
Take your ring and use a small applicator, such as a coffee stirrer or Popsicle stick, to place a small amount of silicone on the inside of your ring. The inside portion that furthest away from the stone (the “back” of the ring) should have the largest amount of silicone and the silicone should taper as it goes up the sides. Clean up any excess and allow the silicon to cure for 24 hours. You can always peel away the silicone if you need to remove it. Remember, this is a temporary solution to resizing your ring, but at least you’ll still get to wear it in the meantime!
So remember, there are always ways to fix and repurpose your jewelry. If you're nervous about trying any of these tricks out on your own jewelry pieces, it's better to feel secure and take it to a professional jeweler. But, if you're looking for some easy hacks to do at home, there's always a way if you think creatively!