To clean, disinfect and sanitize your earrings, make vinegar your friend. This multipurpose solution is the cheapest and the most effective cleaning solution that will ensure your earrings are always sparking, free of grime, and not smelly.
Keep in mind that it is important for you to clean your jewelry often because cleaning reduces the risk of infections by making sure that your earrings aren’t harboring bacteria in the first place. Cleaning earrings is also important because the earrings will wear out over time as they are exposed to makeup, sweat, oils, etc., and all these would result in the discoloration of the jewelry.
Once discolored, even the best of high-end jewelry will look dingy. This is a common occurrence with sterling silver jewelry that tends to oxidize whenever exposed to substances that contain sulfur, leaving your jewelry with a black film.
In such cases, cleaning comes in handy because it not only gets rid of the tarnished silver sulfide film but also ensures that all other grime and dirt is removed.
But for this to happen, you need a jewelry cleaner that can strip the grime and layer the tarnish off the jewelry. Vinegar is one such jewelry cleaner, and it does the job well without damaging the jewelry.
As mentioned above, Vinegar is one of the most versatile cleaners. It’s also one of the natural cleaners that is used for pretty much all household applications, from killing weeds to removing grease. On top of that, it also revitalizes jewelry.
Vinegar’s cleaning power comes from acetic acid, a result of the double fermentation process. Mostly, vinegar is obtained from a food base like blends of grapes for red wine vinegar.
White vinegar, which is often used in jewelry cleaning, is made in the lab from a combination of water and acetic acid.
Note that acetic acid is a strong acid given its pH level of 2.4, which is why white vinegar is the strongest vinegar type today.
It’s thanks to its high level of acidity that vinegar is capable of eating away at any surface build-up, and what gives it immense cleaning ability.
Can you clean earrings with white vinegar?
Yes. Used alone or with baking soda white vinegar will get rid of any gunk in your earrings, without causing any damage.
Can you soak earrings in vinegar? How long?
If using plain vinegar to clean your earrings because of its power to break down grime and dirt, you could soak the jewelry in the vinegar bath for a maximum of 3 hours.
How to clean earrings with vinegar step by step guide
So, how do you use vinegar to clean your earrings?
1. Soak the jewelry in vinegar
To clean your sterling silver jewelry, this could possibly be the best option for you. It’s also the simplest method.
- Start by placing all your jewelry needing cleaning into a suitable container like a clean mason jar.
- Next, fill the container with white vinegar so that your earrings completely emerge.
- Allow to sit for between 2 and 3 hours – could be longer if the pieces are heavily tarnished,
- Once the earrings look sparkly and clean, you can take them out of the vinegar bath then rinse them.
- Pat dry the pieces individually, then store them appropriately.
Note that if the jewelry is only moderately dirty or tarnished, it should be done and out of the vinegar bath in about 15 minutes.
2. Vinegar and baking soda mix
This is the most effective and the top-recommended vinegar blend for cleaning, and it’s also recommended as the ideal solution for cleaning drains. It’s the most effective remedy if you are going for a deep clean for the earrings,
- To use it to clean your jewelry, start by mixing half a cup of white vinegar with 2 tablespoons baking soda – you could increase the ratio depending on the volume or number of items to be cleaned, but this is the basic ratio for a few small pieces.
- Set this paste in a small bowl or container, and remember that this mixture will fizz – it’s a normal chemical reaction.
- Next, drop in your silver jewelry and then let it sit for about 2-3 hours.
- Now, remove your jewelry from the vinegar-baking soda bath, then rinse them under cold water to wash out any residues. If you’re doing this in the kitchen sink, you may want to have the sink strainer in place, just in case a piece falls out.
- When satisfied, pat dry the jewelry using a piece of a soft cloth.
3. Vinegar, baking soda, and tea tree oil
This remedy is also ideal for heavily tarnished earrings and other sterling silver pieces of jewelry.
- To get started, first find a small bowl or a suitable mason jar.
- Place the dirty jewelry at the bottom, then cover up the jar or bowl with half a cup of your white vinegar along with just one drop of tea tree oil.
- Let the jewelry sit/ soak for 8 hours while you’re at work or overnight.
- With this method, you know that things are working in the right direction when you start to see debris floating around this solution.
- When you’re ready to rinse, place your skin strainer on. And if your kitchen boasts a high-pressure washer, you may use it.
- After rinsing, pat the earrings dry, then store them appropriately – airtight, and individually, if you like.
4. Cleaning gold and your gemstone jewelry using white vinegar
This is a simpler option for you if you want to clean your gold jewelry, even if the jewelry has gemstones.
- All you need to do is to pour the white vinegar into a jar or small bowl
- Drop the jewelry in for about 10-15 minutes while occasionally agitating them
- If the earrings are too dirty and you can still see grime after the 15 minutes lapse, get a soft-bristled brush and use it to scrub the earrings.
- When done, rinse the earrings in cold water a few times to make sure that all the vinegar residue is washed out, then pat dry your earrings on a soft, clean, and lint-free towel or cloth.
5. Vinegar-Aluminum Foil Method
- Line a saucepan with some aluminum foil, with the foil’s shiny side facing up.
- Once lined, place the jewelry on the lined saucepan so that each of your pieces of jewelry is in contact with the aluminum foil.
- Next, get a different bowl, and mix together one cup boiling water, a tablespoon of salt, and a tablespoon of good old baking soda on the lined saucepan. Mix and add this mixture to the lined saucepan with jewelry.
- Now, add vinegar to the mixture and jewelry in the pan. Half a cup should be enough. You will see bubbling the moment you add vinegar.
- Allow the jewelry to sit for about 10 minutes, stirring the jewelry every 2 minutes or so. Again, make sure your jewelry pieces touch the bottom of the pan.
- Take the jewelry out, and rinse them using the pressure washer for the kitchen sink to ensure that there is no residue left on the jewelry. Use the sink strainer to prevent loss of earrings.
- When done, pat dry the earrings using a soft, lint-free towel.
Note that you could also use vinegar to sanitize your earrings on the go and when you don’t have time to wait for the earrings to soak in a vinegar bath.
These are just some of the ways you could use vinegar to clean your earrings.
Note that after use for decades and by people around the world, it’s a known fact that vinegar is the magic cleaner for your jewelry.
You can use it for your sterling silver, gold, gemstone, and platinum jewelry.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.