Before we understand how to clean gold, we have to learn the reasons why it gets tarnished in the first place. Gold is inert in nature and does not react with other elements easily. Therefore, there is no chance of pure gold getting tarnished. However, as gold in its purest form (24 carats) is very soft, it is combined with other metals like silver and copper to make it durable. These elements react with atmospheric oxygen, moisture, etc. and end up tarnishing the piece. There are other substances like sweat, natural skin oils, skin care products, makeup, perfumes, etc. which come into contact with gold and discolor it. You must have noticed that the pieces of jewelry made from 18 carat gold do not get tarnished. Jewelry made using 9 to 14 carat gold is more susceptible to tarnishing.
How to Clean Tarnished Gold
Gold is a precious metal. You cannot afford to use the wrong cleaning techniques and cause damage to it. Therefore, do exercise caution while you restore the natural shine of the yellow metal.
You can clean your jewelry with the help of mild dish washing liquid and warm water. Prepare a soapy solution by mixing up one quart of liquid soap in one bowl of warm water. Soak the jewelry in this solution for about 5 minutes. Then rub the surface of the jewelry gently with your fingers. If the dirt is stubborn, then you can use a soft bristled brush to scrub it thoroughly. Once all the dirt and debris is removed, rinse it off with warm water. Wipe off excess water with a soft cotton cloth. Then let it air dry for the next 24 hours and place it into the jewelry box. Here, I would like to mention that do not use any kind of harsh or abrasive cleaning agents or a stiff brush for cleaning. As gold is soft, these materials can leave scratches on the piece.
Alternatively, you can use a more aggressive method of cleaning with the help of ultrasonic machines. You can purchase a machine for cleaning up tarnished gold jewelry at home. These machines release ultrasonic sound waves for removal of dirt and debris from gold. You have to first pour some cleansing liquid into the machine. Use a mixture of liquid dish washing soap and 95% ammonia for this purpose. Place the jewelry into the machine and switch it on. The ultrasonic sound waves radiated from the machine will break down the dirt present on the jewelry piece and make it clean and shiny without any scratches.
If none of the remedies prove helpful, you ought to seek professional help. Jewelers are more experienced, and they can rightly suggest how to clean gold jewelry which is in a bad condition. If there are some scratches, then it may require polishing with special abrasive papers available with jewelers.
You can prevent any further tarnishing by taking proper care of gold jewelry. Gold jewelry must be stored in protected jewelry box to prevent exposure to dust. Keep each piece of jewelry in separate cases so that they do not scratch each other.