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How to clean gold jewelry with vinegar: Top 5 Pro Tips

Did you know that you can clean your gold jewelry with vinegar? If not, that’s fine.

A lot of people seem to think they have to buy jewelry cleaning kits or go to a jeweler, but it turns out you have all the tools you need at home!

gold jewelry

So, grab your dirty gold pieces, and keep reading to find out how to clean gold jewelry with vinegar!


Gold is a beautiful and classic metal. For millennia, people have prized and even gone to war over it.

Gold holds its value over years and has always been a symbol of wealth and fortune.

No wonder people have passed gold jewelry and pieces down as family heirlooms for centuries.

Its highly desirable nature is only one factor that makes gold so special.

Gold jewelry can last a lifetime without getting out of shape or tarnishing.

Gold is also believed to have healing properties. When in direct contact with the body, it is believed to loosen blood vessels to improve overall blood flow, healing everything from physical wounds to wounded minds.

Types of gold

You’ll notice that some gold pieces of jewelry are more expensive than others.

Besides merchant variations, there are certain aspects of the gold itself that make some pieces more valuable than others.

The first thing you should know is that pure gold isn’t great for making jewelry.

It’s too soft, so it will deform easily and won’t hold gemstones in place.

Alloys are added to remedy this. So, what most people have is gold mixed with another metal to make it strong enough.

These alloys are carefully selected so as to not change the beautiful color (though it is intentional in some instances to get things like white gold, green gold, pink gold, etc).

The wrong mixture can even make gold brittle.

24k gold is pure gold and the most expensive. When alloys are added, the value decreases, and we get:

  • 22k- 92% pure gold
  • 18k- 75% pure gold
  • 14k- 58% pure gold
  • 12k- 50% pure gold
  • 10k- 41% pure gold

Gold can even be added to jewelry in smaller quantities. Different processes get us gold-plated (less than 1%), gold-filled (about 5%) and gold-electroplate jewelry.

At the smallest quantities, base metals receive a thin coating of gold and are named gold-wash or gold-flashed.

You may know one example of this where sterling silver with a thin coat of gold becomes vermeil.

Why do I need to clean gold jewelry?

Despite all these benefits, there is one thing no metal, not even gold, can escape.

That’s getting dirty.

Over time, gold is subjected to accumulations from different sources. Gold gets dirty from dust carried in the air, dead skin cells and oils from contact with the body, and particles and bacteria from the area it is held in.

This is the reason why jewelry, earrings in particular, can get a bad odor when it goes a long time before cleaning.

Unless you have special equipment, there’s no real way to keep gold sterile all the time.

So, it will need regular cleanings to remove build-up and restore shine.

And, when gold jewelry has gemstones, there is even more reason to keep it clean.

These gemstones can become dull and will need some work to make them sparkle!

How To Clean Gold Jewelry With Vinegar Only

Most people already have vinegar in their cupboards. A lot of us use it to clean meat, deodorize our pet areas, and for health purposes, especially in the case of apple cider vinegar.

Now you can use it to clean your gold jewelry to keep it looking good and smelling fresh.

You can even use this method to clean stainless steel jewelry!

Here are 5 simple steps for cleaning gold jewelry with vinegar:

What you will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • A bowl
  • Soft, lint-free cloth

Step 1: Place your gold jewelry into the bowl. Pour enough vinegar to cover the jewelry.

Step 2: Let the jewelry sit in the bowl for 5-10 minutes, depending on how dirty it is.

Step 3: Use the soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub the jewelry until clean.

Step 4: Rinse thoroughly under water and dry with your soft, lint-free cloth.

Step 5: Repeat the process if there is still dirt and grime.


  • Cheap cleaner
  • Easy-to-follow technique
  • Doesn’t hurt real gold jewelry


  • Vinegar can be harmful to certain gemstones, for example, pearls. Always research your gemstone before attempting this process.

Warning: Do not use pure or raw vinegar when cleaning fake gold jewelry. This will cause a reaction that can ruin the appearance of the jewelry.

Alternative 1: Clean Gold Jewelry with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Stubborn pieces of dirt and grime may require a boost. You can do this by mixing vinegar with baking soda.

You will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A bowl
  • Cotton ball
  • Soft cloth

Step 1: Start by mixing your baking soda with water at a ratio of 3:1. This should create a paste.

Step 2: Use your cotton ball to gently apply the paste to the jewelry, then place it into the bowl.

Step 3: Cover the jewelry with vinegar, and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Next, rinse your jewelry under warm running water until all the paste is gone.

Step 5: Dry with soft cloth and inspect. If not completely clean, repeat the process.


  • Cheap ingredients
  • Easy-to-make paste
  • Clean more stubborn pieces


  • May degrade certain gemstones. Do a quick internet search before attempting.

Alternative 2: Use Baking Soda and Boiling Water to Clean Gold Jewelry

If you’re out of vinegar, you can clean your jewelry with baking soda and a bit of boiling water.

You will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Boiling water
  • Baking pan
  • Aluminum foil
  • Soft cloth

Step 1: Line your baking pan with some aluminum foil, then place your jewelry on top of it.

Step 2: Coat the jewelry with baking soda, ensuring all parts are covered.

Step 3: Pour the boiling water on top of the jewelry, eventually submerging it.

Step 4: Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinse under cool running water.

Step 5: Pat dry with soft cloth, then allow to finish air-drying.



  • Can get scalded by boiling water if not careful. Proceed with caution.

Alternative 3: Using Baking Soda, Water and Dishwashing Soap to Clean Gold Jewelry

If you’re worried about germs and other bacteria, you can make your cleaning solution tougher on them without harming the jewelry.

Use baking soda, water and dishwashing liquid for a deeper clean.

You will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Mild dishwashing liquid
  • Water
  • A bowl
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Soft cloth

Step 1: In your bowl, mix about 1 cup of water with a few drops of the dishwashing liquid and a teaspoon of baking soda. Adjust as needed for the amount of jewelry.

Step 2: Allow the jewelry to soak in the bowl for 15-20 minutes.

Step 3: Gently scrub the jewelry with the soft-bristled toothbrush. Use a very light hand.

Step 4: Rinse thoroughly under water and dry with soft cloth.

Step 5: Inspect thoroughly. If satisfied, allow to air dry. Otherwise, repeat the process.


  • Cheap
  • Simple process
  • Smells great


  • Aggressive scrubbing can cause abrasion. 

Other methods to clean gold jewelry

There are other methods for cleaning gold jewelry that you may find suit you better than these recommendations.

For example, mild dishwashing soap and water works well enough for gold jewelry that isn’t very dirty.

Similarly, you can rinse it off with plain water if you’re in a pinch and can’t get the other ingredients.

Some people boil their gold jewelry, but we don’t advise this if you have glued in gemstones.

This can cause them to loosen, and over time, fall out.

There are also jewelry cleaning kits for gold jewelry. Make sure the one you choose explicitly says “for gold jewelry”.

Ultrasonic cleaners also do a great job, especially if there are gemstones.

Professionals generally use this equipment, but there are some affordable models suitable for home-cleaning gold jewelry.

The most expensive option is going to a professional. It is also the safest and will guarantee a thorough clean.

Simple Tips For Maintaining Gold Jewelry

After giving your gold jewelry a much-needed clean, there are still some things you need to do.

You must put the following in practice so they last a lifetime:

  • Don’t wear your gold jewelry while doing anything that involves sweating like working out or cooking. This contributes to grime and diminishes its appearance. 
  • Store your jewelry in an area that is free of any sharp object that may cause scratches. Ideally, wrap it in a soft cloth made of silk-like material.
  • Avoid using an ultrasonic cleaner on rose gold. Stick with soap and water. 
  • Though gold holds up well against water, we don’t advise taking showers with your jewelry on. Over time, the chlorine in the water may tarnish it.
  • Do not use a hard-bristled brush to clean your gold jewelry, nor any abrasive cloths or sponges.
  • Don’t apply hand sanitizer or anything with alcohol to your hands while wearing a gold ring, bracelet/s or other forms of gold jewelry such as a watch.

Last words

As a jewelry owner, you must know how to clean gold jewelry properly so that it will last a long time, and look good when worn.

Luckily, you can clean your gold jewelry at home using a few pantry items that most people buy.

All you need is some vinegar, and you’re set.


Does vinegar hurt gold jewelry?

No. Gold is a stable metal and does not react with oxygen, so vinegar will not hurt it.

This is actually a common method to test if it’s real.

How can I make my gold ring shiny again?

Give it a clean, allow it to dry, then use a polishing cloth. That should do the trick!

What is the best way to clean gold jewelry at home?

There are many different methods you can try. These include:

  • Vinegar + Water
  • Vinegar + Baking soda
  • Baking soda + Boiling Water
  • Mild dishwashing liquid + water
  • Baking soda + mild dishwashing liquid + water

Can I use baking soda and vinegar to clean jewelry?

Yes. Add water to the baking soda to create a coat for the jewelry, then soak it in vinegar.

Can you clean gold with toothpaste?

Do not use toothpaste to clean your gold jewelry. It is too abrasive for gold because it has a Mohs hardness rating of 2.5-3 and can get damaged in the process.