How to Clean Gold Plated Jewelry: A Complete Guide

Gold plated jewelry is a beautiful and affordable alternative to solid gold pieces. However, it requires special care to maintain its luster and prevent the gold plating from wearing off. If you want your gold plated jewelry to look its best for years to come, this complete guide will walk you through the best practices for cleaning and caring for these delicate items.

Understanding Gold Plated Jewelry

What is Gold Plated Jewelry?

Gold plated jewelry consists of a base metal, such as brass or copper, covered with a thin layer of gold. This layer can range from 0.5 to 2.5 microns thick. While it offers the look of solid gold at a fraction of the cost, the thin layer of gold can wear away over time, especially if not cared for properly.

Why Does Gold Plated Jewelry Tarnish?

Gold plated jewelry tarnishes when the base metal interacts with moisture, air, and other substances, causing the thin gold layer to deteriorate. Factors such as sweat, lotions, perfumes, and exposure to water can accelerate this process.

General Care Tips for Gold Plated Jewelry

Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Abrasive Cleaners

Becky Stone, a jewelry designer and founder of Becky Stone Jewelry, advises, “Gold plated jewelry requires gentle care to maintain its shine and prevent the plating from wearing off. Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners, and always store your jewelry in a dry place away from direct sunlight” (Source: Becky Stone Jewelry).

I learned the hard way when I used a regular jewelry cleaner on my favorite gold plated necklace. The harsh chemicals stripped away the gold plating, leaving it dull and lackluster. Since then, I’ve been much more careful with my cleaning methods.

Store Your Jewelry Properly

Proper storage is essential for preventing tarnish and scratches. Keep your gold plated jewelry in a jewelry box or pouch, and avoid leaving it in humid places like bathrooms.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Gold Plated Jewelry

Step 1: Prepare a Cleaning Solution

Monica Vinader, a jewelry designer and founder of Monica Vinader, recommends a simple cleaning solution: “To clean gold plated jewelry, simply mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water. Dip a soft cloth in the solution and gently wipe your jewelry. Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth” (Source: Monica Vinader).

I’ve found that a gentle dish soap solution works wonders for my gold plated pieces. It’s mild enough to clean without damaging the delicate gold layer.

Step 2: Clean the Jewelry

Dip a soft cloth in the soapy water and gently wipe the surface of your jewelry. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this can wear away the gold plating.

Step 3: Rinse and Dry

Rinse the jewelry with clean water to remove any soap residue. Use a soft, dry cloth to gently pat the jewelry dry. Make sure it’s completely dry before storing it.

Removing Tarnish from Gold Plated Jewelry

Use a Polishing Cloth

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) suggests using a polishing cloth specifically designed for gold to remove tarnish: “To remove tarnish from gold plated jewelry, you can use a polishing cloth specifically designed for gold. Gently rub the cloth over the jewelry in a circular motion until the tarnish is removed” (Source: GIA).

Polishing cloths have become a staple in my jewelry care routine. They’re effective and gentle, making them perfect for maintaining the shine of my gold plated pieces.

Baking Soda Solution for Stubborn Stains

For stubborn stains, The Jewelry Loupe blog recommends a baking soda paste: “If you have a stubborn stain on your gold plated jewelry, you can try using a solution of baking soda and water. Make a paste with the baking soda and water, and gently rub it onto the stain with a soft cloth. Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth” (Source: The Jewelry Loupe).

Special Care for Gold Plated Jewelry with Gemstones

Avoid Soaking

Jennifer Fisher, a jewelry designer, advises against soaking gold plated jewelry with gemstones: “If your gold plated jewelry has gemstones, avoid soaking it in water. Instead, use a damp cloth to gently wipe the jewelry and a soft brush to clean around the stones” (Source: Jennifer Fisher Jewelry).

I once soaked a gold plated ring with a gemstone, and it dulled the stone’s sparkle. Now, I always use a damp cloth and a soft brush to clean around the gems carefully.

Preventing Tarnish on Gold Plated Jewelry

Avoid Exposure to Water and Chemicals

Mejuri, a popular jewelry brand, emphasizes avoiding exposure to water, sweat, perfume, or lotions to prevent tarnishing: “To prevent your gold plated jewelry from tarnishing, avoid exposing it to water, sweat, perfume, or lotions. It’s also a good idea to store your jewelry in a jewelry box or pouch to protect it from scratches” (Source: Mejuri).

Use Anti-Tarnish Strips

Place anti-tarnish strips in your jewelry box or pouch. These strips absorb moisture and other elements that can cause tarnishing, helping to keep your jewelry looking fresh.

Understanding the Science Behind Tarnishing

Study on Corrosion Behavior

A study published in Corrosion Science examines the factors contributing to the corrosion and tarnishing of gold plated jewelry. The findings highlight the importance of proper care and maintenance to prolong the life of gold plated jewelry (Source: Corrosion Science).

Insight: Applying Scientific Knowledge

Understanding the science behind tarnishing has helped me be more mindful of how I care for my gold plated pieces. I now take extra steps to keep them dry and avoid exposure to harsh elements.

Comparative Study of Cleaning Methods

An evaluation published in the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation compares the effectiveness of different cleaning methods for gold plated jewelry. The results provide insights into the best practices for cleaning and maintaining these delicate items (Source: Journal of the American Institute for Conservation).

Practical Tips for Everyday Wear

Remove Jewelry Before Activities

Take off your gold plated jewelry before engaging in activities that could expose it to moisture, sweat, or chemicals. This includes swimming, exercising, and applying lotions or perfumes.

Clean Regularly

Incorporate regular cleaning into your routine to prevent buildup of dirt and oils. A quick wipe with a soft cloth after each wear can help maintain its shine.

Be Mindful of Storage

When traveling, store your jewelry in a protective case or pouch to prevent scratches and exposure to elements that could cause tarnishing.


Gold plated jewelry is a beautiful and cost-effective way to enjoy the look of gold. However, it requires gentle and consistent care to maintain its appearance. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can keep your gold plated pieces looking their best for years to come.

Remember to avoid harsh chemicals, store your jewelry properly, and clean it regularly with mild solutions and polishing cloths. For jewelry with gemstones, take extra care to avoid soaking and use a soft brush for cleaning. Understanding the science behind tarnishing and applying these practical tips will help you enjoy your gold plated jewelry to the fullest.

With a little care and attention, your gold plated jewelry can continue to sparkle and shine, adding a touch of elegance to your everyday outfits. Happy cleaning!

Nyla Rose

Nyla Rose stands at the intersection of beauty and fashion as both a seasoned hairstylist and an influential blogger. Starting her journey in the bustling salons of the city, Nyla honed her skills, specializing in creating transformative hairstyles that not only fit her clients' personalities but also set the pace for emerging trends. But her passion didn't stop at the salon chair.

Eager to share her insights with a broader audience, Nyla embarked on a blogging journey, shedding light on the ever-evolving worlds of beauty and fashion.

Through her blog, she provides a unique blend of practical style advice, in-depth product reviews, and trendspotting, all conveyed with a personal touch that her readers have come to love. Her dedication to the craft and her ability to weave together the realms of hairstyling and fashion writing have cemented her reputation as a trusted voice in both fields.

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