“The technique that I’ve always used is simple,” she tells mbg. “Just a little bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad to clean the post and the backing.” Simple, sure, but effective: Rubbing alcohol is a cleaner, a solvent (meaning it can dissolve buildup), and a disinfectant, making it a quick and easy way to remove all that gunk and sanitize the metal.
If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol on hand, Maker suggests another product-free route: Simply boil some hot water in a kettle and hold your jewelry up to the steam. “That steam will help to loosen any dirt,” she explains. Then you can lay your pieces in a microfiber cloth to gently buff them shiny. Keeping your jewels sparkling is yet another reason to clean them regularly, no?
When it comes to ornamental or costume earrings, Maker advises using a dry toothbrush to gently loosen any dirt or dust. If they’re really looking drab, you can use a little drop of gentle soap (like this baby soap) and water on your toothbrush to give it a better clean. If you do add water to costume earrings, just be sure to dry those pieces super well. “If costume jewelry remains wet, it’ll discolor,” Maker says.