Jewelry Guide

How to Clean a Gold Chain

A gold chain is often a staple in a jewelry collection and is worn quite regularly. It is a versatile item to have and complements almost any occasion and outfit. A clean gold chain has a beautiful shine and if maintained, you can keep it this way.

While not as difficult to maintain as silver, over time gold chains can lose their luster and become dull. This happens if there is dirt and grime build up on the chain, contributed by body oils, make up, body lotions and other pollutants.

However, cleaning a gold chain and restoring its shine is not too difficult to do. Also, because a gold chain does not contain gemstones or other components, cleaning it is quite straightforward and easy to do.

Here are some ways that you can go about this:

Method 1 – Soap and Water

It might seem a little obvious, but sometimes keeping it simple really works. Choose a mild liquid soap and pour into a container along with warm water. Soak your gold chain in the sudsy water for several minutes and then rub gently with a soft cloth or very soft toothbrush. Clean the gold chain down its entire length.

Once you’re satisfied, rinse the gold chain thoroughly and pat dry. You can use a jewelry polishing cloth or even just a soft cloth, to buff the gold chain and enhance its shine. When polishing your gold chain, make sure that the cloth is not abrasive as this can scratch the gold.

Method 2 – Ultrasonic Cleaner

If warm water and soap isn’t able to restore the shine of your gold chain, try using an ultrasonic cleaner to do the job. An ultrasonic cleaner works by emitting high frequency sound waves, that creates bubbles and ultrasonic vibrations in the water. This agitation effectively removes any pollutants adhering to your gold chain.

You can use a commercial cleaning solution in the ultrasonic cleaner or make your own. Follow the instructions and don’t overload the ultrasonic cleaner. After a few minutes, your gold chains should be free of pollutants and be squeaky clean.

Ultrasonic cleaners can be bought for around $25. Check our review on the best ultrasonic cleaners for home use.

Method 3 – Boil Your Gold

Using boiling water to clean gold chains is an easy and effective way to remove pollutants such as oils, grease and wax. Because a gold chain is solid gold, this method is not harmful. Gold can handle boiling water well and is not damaged at all by this.

To clean your gold chain in this way, first heat water until it boils. Put the gold chain in a glass or metal container (take care with soft plastic containers as they can melt) and cover with boiling water. Leave the gold chain in the water until it is safe to handle. Rinse the gold and dry thoroughly. 

Caring for Your Gold Chain

If your gold still does not exhibit any luster after you have cleaned it, you may have to have the chain professionally cleaned by a jeweler. If your gold chain is gold plated, then you may need to have it replated to restore its shine. Take care when using ultrasonic cleaners or polishing cloths on gold plated chains, as these can cause the gold plating to flake and peel.

When storing your gold chain, ensure that it is stored separately, ideally in a fabric lined box or velvet pouch. This keeps it free from dust and from being scratched by other items. Don’t store gold with a harder metal such as platinum, as the gold can easily be scratched by it.

Because gold chains easily tangle, one way to avoid this is by using a straw to thread your gold chain through. This will ensure that the chain remains tangle free, and is especially perfect when travelling with jewelry. Cut the straw in half so you can fold the chain into a smaller size, making it easier for storage.

necklace in straw to Prevent Tangled Necklaces

Thread your chain through a straw before you store away

Always ensure that your gold chain is thoroughly dried before you store it away. Although gold does not tarnish like silver, moisture can create a patina.

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