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Stainless steel is a durable metal that is often used for men’s wedding bands and fashion jewelry. It is an alloy made of iron and chromium that does not corrode or tarnish and is very durable. Regardless, stainless steel can easily get scratched and over time it tends to lose its luster, becoming dull. But, you don’t have to throw out your stainless steel jewelry just because its dull. Restoring the shine is easy to do and can be done at home.
Here are some steps you can take to clean and care for your stainless steel jewelry.
Soap and Water
Simply use soap and water to clean your stainless steel jewelry when it is dull or dirty. This works well to get rid of any pollutants and grime on your jewelry.
Choose a mild liquid soap and pour into a container with warm water. Soak the stainless steel jewelry in the sudsy solution for several minutes.
Next, use a soft cloth to rub the jewelry. Remember to rub along its natural grain. For more compacted dirt or if your jewelry has engravings, grooves, stones or channels, use a soft-bristled toothbrush. This will ensure that you reach all the hard to get to places.
Once you have cleaned all parts of the jewelry, rinse with water thoroughly. Dry the pieces well using a lint-free cloth. This removes any possibility of water spots.
Using Baking Soda
Another way to clean stainless steel jewelry is by making a thick paste using baking soda and water. Once you’ve reached a toothpaste-like consistency, use a toothbrush to slowly clean the jewelry. Check out this video for details on how to do this right!
Using Toothpaste as a Cleaner
Many people swear by using toothpaste to clean their jewelry. While this can be a good method, take care about the type of toothpaste you choose. Some toothpastes, especially the kind that have whitening agents in them, are abrasive and harsh. They can scratch stainless steel, damaging rather than cleaning it. Instead, choose a gel toothpaste that is smooth and soft. Use this with a soft-bristled brush to clean the grime out of the nooks and crannies in your jewelry.
Polishing Stainless Steel
To maintain the luster of your stainless steel in between cleanings, use a jewelry polishing cloth. By buffing your jewelry, you’re keeping the dirt and oils away and restoring its luster, bringing its shine back. Always go in the direction of the grain of the metal when polishing, to avoid scratching it.
Here’s a popular polishing cloth that is suitable for cleaning stainless steel.
If your jewelry is scratched, you can take it to a jeweler to give it a professional polish. This will get rid of all scratches and restore the smoothness of the metal. However, before you do, consider whether that piece of jewelry is worth the effort. Stainless steel is very affordable and sometimes, going through all that trouble may not be worth it.
Storing Stainless Steel
Stainless steel ranks at 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale. This means that all materials with a Mohs ranking harder than this can scratch stainless steel. When storing your stainless steel jewelry, don’t allow it to come into contact with other metals and gemstones, as they could scratch it. Instead, store the stainless steel jewelry separately in a fabric-lined box or in a cloth pouch. This will also keep it free from dust and moisture.
Using Ultrasonic Cleaners
Generally, it is safe to use an ultrasonic cleaner for your stainless steel jewelry. This will make it easier for you to clean elaborate designs that are hard to reach. However, if the jewelry includes gemstones, then it is advised not to use the ultrasonic cleaner. This is because ultrasonic cleaners operate with intense vibrations and agitation. This can cause damage in the gemstones, making them crack, get loosened from their mountings or fall off altogether.
Stainless Steel and Chemicals
Keep harsh chemicals away from your stainless steel jewelry. Bleach and chlorine can pit stainless steel and damage the surface of the metal. Take off any jewelry when swimming in pools that are chlorinated.
If you wish to use a commercial jewelry cleaner, choose one that is labelled safe to use with stainless steel. Avoid using cleaners made for silver, copper or brass as these may be abrasive and can scratch stainless steel.
Restoring the luster of stainless steel jewelry is a matter of washing the dirt away and keeping it free from scratches. When clean, it is easy to maintain and remains lustrous for a long time.
When cleaning stainless steel, take care when cleaning stainless steel jewelry, as you can actually cause more scratches and damage the item if you don’t do it properly.