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Cleaning Pearls – Avoid Problems

Friday, May 15th, 2009

When cleaning your pearls, use only jewelry cleaners that are safe for pearls. In fact, avoid commercial jewelry cleaners altogether unless they have been specially formulated for pearl cleaning.

Do not clean your pearls using jewelry cleaners made for gold or silver. They contain an ammonia base that is harmful to your pearls. Do not use bleaching agents, baking sodas or powdered cleaners. Some liquid soap can damage pearls. Use only a mild soap and water solution.

Use soft, lint-free cloth to get rid of accumulated dirt, perfume, makeup, body oils or perspiration. Do not use a toothbrush or abrasive cloth to clean your pearls. They can scratch the surface and they can also wear away the pearls’ coating, leaving you with marked and plain-looking beads. For more thorough cleaning, use soft soapy cloth. Then using another damp cloth, gently wipe the pearls to remove all soap residue.

Clean the drill holes where the dirt particularly collects. If your pearls are especially old, you could try washing them with water and very mild liquid soap. Wipe them with detergent-free damp cloth and leave them flat on a kitchen paper to dry. Once dry, coat them with olive oil to try and restore their sheen.

After the olive oil treatment, lay the pearls on wash cloths or a moist kitchen towel to dry. Do not hang your pearls. When the wash cloth becomes dry, the pearls will usually be dry as well.

However you clean your pearls and whatever cleaning agent you use, you should remember to be very careful as you may be doing your pearls more harm than good.

If your pearls have not been properly maintained and they are now full of dirt and grime, you should bring your pearls to a trustworthy jeweler or a professional jewelry cleaner for professional care.