How to Clean Rings

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Clean Rings
Clean Rings (Image: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/315366)

Rings are made of many different metals, including copper, sterling silver, gold and platinum. Because we use lotions and soaps on our hands--and use our hands for cleaning, gardening and so much more--rings often get dirty and grimy quite quickly. They also lose their shine and tarnish over time. There are many methods of cleaning jewelry like rings; depending on the metal, you should be able to use products found in your home or a general-merchandise store.

Things You'll Need

  • Detergent
  • Ammonia
  • Brush
  • Cloth
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Aluminum foil
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Ketchup

Use a mild detergent and warm water to clean your gold and platinum rings. First soak them for a few minutes, then use a soft brush--like an eyebrow brush or one purchased in a jewelry store--to clean off all of the dirt and grime. Next, use a soft cloth--like one you might use to clean eyeglasses--and rub to bring back the rings' shine and luster. You can also do the same thing by using a mixture of 1 part ammonia and 6 parts water. Only soak for 1 minute; then scrub with a brush and shine with a soft cloth. Only do this with plain rings or with rings set with diamonds.

To clean silver rings, even from black tarnish, place aluminum foil in a pot and place your rings on top. Fill the pot with a couple of inches of water so that the rings are completely covered. Add 2 tsp. of baking soda and 2 tsp. of salt and boil for a couple of minutes. Use a soft brush to clean, rinse with warm water and shine with a soft cloth. If your rings have stones set in them, do not use this method; rather, buy silver polish and follow the manufacturer's instructions to clean your silver (usually by soaking it in the mixture or scrubbing with a soft brush or cloth).

Clean copper rings by putting vinegar in any container, except a metal one, and soaking the rings for 15 minutes. When you are done, scrub your rings with a soft brush and rub with a cloth to shine. You can also use lemon or lime juice with a pinch of salt, or use a soft brush and rub ketchup all over it to get it clean. Do not use this method if you ring has a gemstone setting; instead, take it to a jeweler.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check all settings on your rings before cleaning, to be sure they are secure.
  • Do not clean rings with a gem setting (except for diamonds) in anything other than warm water and a mild detergent. Check with a jeweler before using store bought-materials, as well.

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