Gemstone jewelry cleaner – simple, frugal, and effective

Did you know that there is an extremely inexpensive and simple jewelry cleaner, for cleaning gemstones? It keeps them looking sparkling new, takes about a minute, and costs just pennies! The secret? Baking soda!

package of 5 extra soft bristly kids toothbrushes and a jar of baking soda, with text "gemstone jewelry cleaner - simple, frugal, and effective"

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What I use as a jewelry cleaner for my gemstone jewelry

I have never purchased a jewelry cleaner kit. I know they exist, but that is honestly all I know about them. Baking soda and a toothbrush is all I have ever used to clean my gemstone jewelry.

The tool (toothbrush)

My jewelry cleaner tool is a toothbrush. My toothbrush of choice is a children’s toothbrush with the softest bristles possible. The toothbrush does not need to be new. I like to save my old toothbrushes for dirty jobs around the house. If I was using an old toothbrush that had been used for tooth brushing, I would just soak the toothbrush bristles in a water/sodium perbarbonate (oxiclean) solution like #9 in my uses of sodium percarbonate list, just to kill any bacteria that may have lingered on the toothbrush, before using it on my jewelry. However, I don’t have kids and didn’t have any extra soft toothbrushes laying around. I was able to find this 5-pack for $1.00 at Walmart.

package of 5 extra soft bristly kids toothbrushes

The cleaner (baking soda & water)

The “cleaning agent” that I use as my gemstone jewelry cleaner is simply baking soda and water. I always have baking soda on hand, using it frequently for baking as well as cleaning, such as my castile soap scum cleaner, in my laundry soap, in a solution for removing sweat stains from clothing, and even in my toothpaste.

Baking soda is quite inexpensive, typically about $1.00 per pound, and I use a small pinch for each gemstone I clean.

How I clean my gemstone jewelry

I use this jewelry cleaner for the gemstones only – not the metal. However, for the jewelry I have cleaned, I had no adverse affect of the baking soda-water solution contacting the metal (sterling silver, 14kt gold) setting.

  1. If the gemstone is a removable pendant on a necklace, bracelet, hoop earrings, etc., I remove the gemstone from the chain, since I will be focusing on cleaning the gemstone and not the chain.
  2. I wet the bristles of the toothbrush, and dip the tip of the toothbrush bristles in the baking soda (see photo below).
  3. Next I place the baking soda covered toothbrush bristles on the gemstone and very gently brush all over the gemstone, carefully brushing between all prongs of the setting, and ensuring that I brush all surfaces of the stone.
  4. Finally, I rinse the stone and toothbrush, and pat dry the stone using a soft, absorbent towel. Now I have a beautiful gemstone that sparkles like new!
extra soft bristle toothbrush with a tiny bit of baking soda on the tip, with a jar of baking soda in the background.
Step 2. This is all the baking soda I need to fully clean my solitaire gemstone ring
hand holding a ring, cleaning gemstone on a ring with baking soda and extra soft toothbrush
Step 3. gently brushing all over the gemstones in the ring
cleaned gemstone ring
step 4. my ring sparkles like when it was new!

Cautions about my gemstone jewelry cleaner

I personally have never had any issues scratching or damaging my gemstones or settings by cleaning my gemstone jewelry in this way, however I cannot guarantee the same for anyone else. If you choose to try this jewelry cleaning method, you are doing so at your own risk, and I am not responsible for any damage that occurs to your jewelry.

I have only used this jewelry cleaning technique on precious or semi-precious gems, set in sterling silver or 14 karat gold. I do NOT recommend this for fashion jewelry, as I have no idea how this will work.

Gemselect lists the Mohs hardness value of many gemstones. I personally have used this on harder gemstones like sapphire, amethyst, and diamond. Personally, I would try it on gemstones with a Mohs hardenss value of 7 or higher. I would NOT use it on opals or pearls, which are very “soft”. I typically just wipe those with a microfiber cloth.

Cost to use my gemstone jewelry cleaner

Extra soft toothbrush pack of 5: $1.07

Baking soda costs $0.99 for 1 lb on Amazon and in grocery stores.  The amount used to clean each gemstone is just a pinch – far less than 1/16th teaspoon, the smallest measuring spoon I own. I guess I use about 1/8 of that 1/16 tsp.

($0.99/1 lb)x(1 lb/454 g)x(4.8g/1 tsp)x(1/16 tsp)x(1/8)=$0.0000818: tiny fractions of pennies.

I only clean 3 gemstones, each monthly. $0.0000818 x 12 x 3 = $0.0029. Less than 1/3 of 1 cent in cleaning supplies annually to clean my jewelry (Plus the upfront cost of the toothbrush, which will probably last forever).

4 thoughts on “Gemstone jewelry cleaner – simple, frugal, and effective”

  1. I clean my gold jewelry with or without gemstones with aabout 1/4-1/2 teaspoon laundry detergent and boiling water. Drop in the jewelry and swish with a folk or table knife. Remove and rinse in clear water after about 2 minutes. No scrubbing needed. Beautiful results every time. I clean silver with aluminum foil and baking soda and boiling water. Also no scrubbing needed.

    1. That sounds so quick and easy! What type of laundry detergent do you use? I am going to try this next time I clean my jewelry. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Nothing special, whatever I have on hand. Thanks for you website. Very informative and useful.

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