Like any other jewellery, pearls can pick up dirt and dust when worn regularly or stored incorrectly. When you’re not sure how to clean pearls safely, it can seem daunting or even dangerous. If you follow the proper process, it’s not difficult to clean pearls without risk of damaging them.
Here’s all the information you need to get your pearls gleaming again.
What You’ll Need To Clean Pearls
The best way to clean pearls is to give them a gentle wipe every time you wear them. However, if they’ve become dirty or marked then you’ll need to do a little more than that to get them shiny again. Pearls are delicate, so even a “deep clean” is a gentle process.
To clean your pearls safely, you’ll need:
- Lukewarm water
- Three clean, non-abrasive cloths
- Mild pure soap
- Two dishes
The Pearl Cleaning Process Step by Step
- Firstly, add the soap to the lukewarm water and mix to create suds. It’s important that the water is just lukewarm. Water that is too hot will damage the pearl’s surface.
- To clean your pearls, dip one of the clean, soft cloths into the soapy water. Then, gently wipe it over the pearl.
- Dip the other cloth in clean water, and use this to wipe the pearl clean
- Place the pearl on the third clean cloth (the dry one) and allow them to dry thoroughly. Make sure to lay the pearls flat, as hanging up necklaces or bracelets could damage the string.
Throughout this process, it is very important that you don’t submerge the pearls or make them soaking wet.
What You Shouldn’t Use To Clean Pearls
Pearls should only be cleaned with pure soap and water, or handled by a professional pearl cleaner. Even in comparison to other luxury gemstones, pearls are particularly easy to damage.
Using harsh cleaning agents or anything acidic could cause damage to the pearl’s surface and take away their natural lustre. Avoid cleaning pearls with baking soda, harsh chemicals, bleach, or other detergents. You may end up with scratches, or damage to the pearl’s delicate outer layers if you opt for anything too harsh.
Caring for and Maintaining Your Pearls
Correct care and maintenance of your pearls will help to extend their life and keep their gorgeous natural shine and iridescence. As mentioned earlier, the best way to clean pearls is to give them a gentle wipe with a soft cotton cloth when you take them off. This will help to prevent body oils and dirt from building up.
When you’re planning to wear your pearl jewellery, it should be the last thing you put on. This is because things like perfume, body lotion, and makeup can all be harmful to the pearl. So, get yourself ready to walk out of the door, and then add them at the last minute to finish your look! They should also be the first thing to come off when you get changed.
In addition to this, you should get your pearls looked at once a year by an expert jeweller. They can check the integrity of the pearls and strings, and can give them a thorough cleaning if needed.
Oh, and remember – pearls thrive in a slightly moist environment, so wearing them frequently keeps them from wearing out. That means that regularly wearing your beautiful pearl jewellery is a good way to care for them. How’s that for great news?
Storage of pearls
Correct storage of pearls will go a long way to keeping them in good shape for years to come. The best way to store your pearls between wears is in a soft pouch or bag, or in a purpose-made, lined jewellery box.
Your pearls should be kept separate from other jewellery, as they are easily scratched. Your diamond earrings might be lovely, but you definitely don’t want them rolling around next to your pearl necklace or bashing against them.
Whatever you do, don’t store pearls in something airtight like a Ziploc bag! Pearls need moisture to keep their integrity, and storing them this way could make them very brittle or broken.
Wear your pearls with pride
Now that you know that regularly wearing your pearls and wiping them down is key to keeping them gleaming, you’ll want to invest in a gorgeous, timeless piece that you can wear for decades.