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How To Keep Your Earrings Sparkling Clean Without Ruining Them

Whether they’re costume earrings or are encrusted with gemstones, this guide will keep them germ-free….

Earrings by Arab designer Dina Jisr 

Since earrings are exposed to more dirt and grime than most other pieces of jewelllery (except rings), cleaning them is extremely important, whether it’s for personal hygiene or their longevity. And the focus is on cleaning, rather than disinfecting since disinfectants like bleach, chlorine or alcohol aren’t precious metal-friendly.  


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Sahar Barati, the Founder and Creative Head of Canadian jewelry brand Sahar BMD, answers some frequently asked questions about how to keep that ear candy sparkly clean without causing any damage.

How often should I clean my earrings? 


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That really depends on how often you wear them. Earrings you reach out for less frequently don't need to be cleaned so often, while earrings that are worn every day need some extra TLC from you because of everyday dirt and residue

How should I clean silver and gold earrings?


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To clean fine jewellery pieces, begin by using a little polishing cloth, rubbing it over your silver or gold earrings to get rid of any tarnish and leave them shining. You can also use a little shampoo, diluted with some warm water, to illuminate any further dirt your earrings might have picked up. Then, you need to sanitize the posts (the parts of the earring that goes through your ear.) with a simple saline solution. By taking some cotton wool, dipping it in salt water and rubbing it over the post, you will disinfect anything that you don’t want to be putting back in your ear. 

How should I clean costume earrings? 


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While cleaning your costume earrings, you need to work with a slightly lighter touch as polishing too hard can wipe away gold and silver plating or the colour on the metal of your earrings, ruining their appearance over time. 

Instead of using a polishing cloth, use a microfibre one, the kind you probably already use to clean around the house. Remove the dirt with just a bit of warm water and shampoo, ( you will be surprised by how effective this is) and then dry off with a microfibre cloth or even some kitchen roll. The important thing is to use something that just has a tiny bit of texture to get rid of superficial dirt. Finally, sanitize the earring posts with a saline solution.

How should I clean gemstones?


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With the exception of emeralds, diamonds and other gemstones tend to be very hard, meaning they can withstand a deeper clean that will keep them looking their best. All sorts of dirt collects in the metal setting that holds gemstones in place, but the good news is you can gently loosen it with an old, soft children's toothbrush and a bit of shampoo and water. 

However, if you are dealing with pearls, which can dissolve over time if they get wet, you need to avoid using soap or water entirely. Reach out for a dry polishing cloth instead in order to remove surface tarnishing and keep them looking their best. 

Another thing to keep in mind is not to use any hand sanitizers on any organic gems like pearls. The alcohol in sanitizers can dry out the gems and lead to surface damage or cracking. Avoid hand sanitizer on porous stones like turquoise too. 

When in doubt, it is always better to take your jewellery off before washing your hands. Plus,  keep your jewellery off when moisturising your hands as well, because moisturisers can easily find their way into various jewellery settings.

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