How To Clean + Care For Your Jewelry

How To Clean + Care For Your Jewelry

Brass, bronze and sterling silver jewelry has an appeal that is hard to match. The warm earthy tones, the low cost and the rustic appeal all contribute to its lovely charm. Unfortunately, over time and when not worn, these lovely metals can tarnish and turn dull. This natural oxidation process is intriguing, simply because it gives the jewelry character and builds upon its story.

However, every once in awhile, that dull finish needs a facelift and the jewelry needs a good cleaning. Besides, who wants their jewelry just sitting around, looking drab? Let’s make those beautiful handmade pieces shine so we can wear them with confidence!

At the CSB Jewelry studio, we have tested some great DIY, all-natural jewelry polishing techniques and are happy to share them with you here. Please note that these tips are geared towards cleaning CSB Jewelry pieces. If you have questions about cleaning a piece of jewelry from another independent artist, I highly recommend emailing them to ask. They will know best practices for cleaning their handmade pieces.

I do NOT recommend using chemical jewelry cleaner with the exception of Brasso {read below}. The harshness of these products can destroy the finish of the piece and potentially damage any stones.

Polishing & Cleaning Mixed Metal Jewelry (combination of Brass, Bronze & Sterling Silver)

1.) Easiest No-Fuss Option

We love using the Sunshine Polishing Cloth. This is a portable, no-fuss option that we highly recommend. The jewelry cloth will turn black as you use it. Once the entire cloth is blackened, you will need to replace it. 


2.) All-Natural Jewelry Cleaning Option


What you will need:

- White vinegar

- 1 tsp lemon juice

- Baking soda

- Old toothbrush

- Soft cloth

- Fine steel wool #0 or #000 (the more 0s, the finer)

Step 1:

  • In a small bowl, add approximately ¼ cup vinegar

  • In a second small bowl, make a baking soda paste: Use approximately 1 tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp vinegar, then add just enough baking soda to make a thick paste (be prepared for fizzing!)

Step 2:

  • Drop jewelry in the plain vinegar (first bowl) and let sit for a few minutes - be sure the piece is completely submerged

  • Remove jewelry and use an old toothbrush to gently scrub the baking soda paste (second bowl) all over the piece for another couple of minutes - this will release any dirt and oils on the piece

  • Rinse and dry jewelry with a soft cloth

Step 3:

  • Bracing the piece on a clean, non-metal surface, gently rub in tiny circles using the fine steel wool - be delicate with ear posts, ear wires and chain. Also, be aware that the steel wool will leave tiny scratches on the surface. We use this method to finish our jewelry designs, but if you are cleaning a piece that has a high polish finish, skip this step and simply use a polishing cloth.

3.) Using Brasso - Brass cleaner & polish

In case of heavier tarnish and where the above steps do not help, Brasso is your next best bet!

**This is not a natural jewelry polish. Please use in a well ventilated area & wear gloves. 

To use, squeeze a small amount of polish onto a paper towel or old rag. Rub polish over the brass sections of the piece in small circles. You will notice the color of the brass change immediately. With another clean paper towel or section of the rag, remove any lingering polish. Rinse the piece under water & dry thoroughly.

If your piece has sterling silver elements, no stress, the polish won't damage these parts, but they also won't shine them up. You can use a Sunshine Polishing Cloth on those parts. 

Polishing & Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry

If the tarnish is not too severe, using the Sunshine Polishing Cloth mentioned above is your best bet. If the polishing cloth is not enough to remove a heavy build-up of tarnish, you can make a simple solution at home to remove the excess oil & dirt that is preventing you from polishing the silver. Mix a paste of 2 tsp white vinegar & 1tsp baking soda. Using an old toothbrush, gently scrub the paste over the piece focusing on those hard to reach areas. Rinse and dry well. Follow with the Sunshine Polishing Cloth.


Polishing & Cleaning Gold Jewelry

Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid to 1 cup warm water. Submerge the piece in the soapy solution and use an old toothbrush to gently scrub the piece. This will help remove any dirt buildup in those hard to reach places. Rinse & dry well.


Keeping Your Jewelry Looking New (the Do’s and Dont’s)

  • Never shower or swim in your jewelry
  • Apply lotions and perfume before you put on your jewelry for the day

  • Avoid storing jewelry in bathroom - the humidity expedites the tarnishing process

  • When you aren’t wearing the jewelry, keep it stored in a pouch or air-tight plastic bag

  • Treat your jewelry with LOVE - a lot of care and attention was involved in making the jewelry, and it should be treated in the same fashion

Handcrafted jewelry is a great investment, and we hope these tips are helpful to keep your pieces looking new. Here at CSB Jewelry, we are dedicated to the belief that soulfully produced items can truly enrich our lives. When treated with love, we hope our jewelry will empower & engage you for many years to come!

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Back to blog

1 comment

What a fantastic and helpful post!! Sometimes I get carried away and forget to take off my jewelry when jumping into pools and bodies of water. I’ll be more careful, and I’m glad to know I can use these simple and natural cleaning techniques next time my CSB jewels need a little shining up. Thanks Claire!!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.