How to Clean Gold Plated Jewelry (Without Ruining It)

Do you have some gold-plated jewelry that you need to clean? Can’t afford to have it replaced with solid gold? Don’t worry, there are ways you can clean it with items you already have at home.

Gold plating is a thin layer of gold put over another metal. It may look like the real thing, but it is not. The problem with gold-plated jewelry is that after a while, it will begin to tarnish and take on an unpleasant color.

However, there are ways you can bring back their original shine and get them looking like new in no time. Here are easy steps for how to clean gold-plated jewelry.

How to Clean Gold Plated Jewelry

1. Use Dishwashing Soap

You’ll need:

  • Dish soap
  • A bowl of warm water
  • Soft toothbrush


  • Fill a small bowl with lukewarm water, then add 1/2 teaspoon of mild liquid dishwashing soap. Stir until the soap is mixed in thoroughly.
  • Soak your gold-plated jewelry in the dish soap and warm water solution for about 20 minutes. Then, use a soft toothbrush to rub the tarnish off of each piece of jewelry.
  • Place your gold-plated jewelry back into the soapy water, making sure it’s fully submerged. Allow it to soak for some minutes (about 5-10 minutes).
  • Rinse your jewelry thoroughly with clean water, then air dry on a clean towel.

2. Use Vinegar

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • Plastic container
  • Soft or old toothbrush
  • Cotton swab (optional)


  • Mix the water and white vinegar in a plastic container, then stir with a spoon to mix well.
  • Soak your gold-plated jewelry in the solution for 15 minutes (making sure each piece is completely submerged).
  • Remove one piece of jewelry from the solution and hold it under running water for about 30 seconds to remove any remaining vinegar residue.
  • Using a soft toothbrush, gently scrub away any remaining tarnish or dirt from the surface of your gold-plated jewelry.
  • If there’s still dirt, tarnish, or other buildups on it, use a cotton swab dipped in white vinegar to clean those hard-to-reach areas thoroughly.
  • Repeat this cleaning process for each piece of gold-plated jewelry and let them air dry.

Note: Be gentle when you clean gold-plated jewelry with vinegar — you don’t want to rub off all that gold plating.

3. Use a Polishing Cloth

A polishing cloth is a great way to clean your gold-plated jewelry and make it look brand new again. It acts as a gentle abrasive while also leaving behind a layer of wax that will protect the piece from tarnishing further.

Polishing cloths are not expensive, and you can find them in most hardware stores, as well as many places that sell jewelry and watches. You can also order them online at sites like Amazon or eBay.


  • Take the piece that you want to clean and place it on a flat surface, preferably covered with a soft towel (this will prevent scratching the gold plating).
  • Next, take your polishing cloth and gently rub your piece until it shines.
  • When finished, lay it aside for 20 minutes to allow the polish to dry before wearing it again.

Use a polishing cloth with special care, especially for gold-plated jewelry with diamonds or another stone, because the polish can damage some gems.

SEE: How Long Does Gold-Plated Jewelry Last? Tips on How to Care For Your Jewelry

4. Try Baking Soda

You’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Aluminum foil
  • Toothbrush
  • Small bowl or container


  • Line a small bowl with aluminum foil.
  • Mix 1 cup of warm water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda, then pour it into the bowl.
  • Soak your gold-plated pieces in the solution for 10 minutes, then use a soft toothbrush to scrub any dirt or grease off.
  • Rinse your jewelry under cool water, let dry, then polish with a clean cloth to restore its shine.

5. Use Toothpaste

You’ll need:

  • Toothpaste
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Water
  • A washcloth


  • Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto the toothbrush (if you don’t have a toothbrush, wrap a washcloth around the end of your finger and then dip it into the toothpaste.)
  • Dampen the bristles of the toothbrush or washcloth by dipping it into the water for about half a second. This will make the toothpaste spread more evenly on the gold-plated jewelry, making it easier to clean the jewelry.
  • Scrub away any dirt or grease from the jewelry for about 30 seconds and then rinse with water.
  • Air dry and shine up the jewelry using a soft cloth or towel.

6. Wipe It Down After Each Wear

After each wear, wipe down your gold-plated jewelry with a soft cloth. This will remove dirt and sweat that can cause the gold to tarnish and look less than attractive.

7. Take It to the Professionals

If your gold-plated jewelry is still looking old and tarnished after using the above methods, take it out of its box and give it to a professional jewelry cleaner.

A professional jewelry cleaner can clean your jewelry by using an ultrasonic machine, which uses vibration to remove dirt and other particles from the surface of the jewelry. Another advantage of this method is that you don’t have to worry about damaging your jewelry while cleaning it.

SEE: Clean Your Precious Silver Necklace With These Easy At-Home Remedies

How Often Should You Clean Gold-Plated Jewelry?

Once or twice a week. It is recommended to clean your gold-plated jewelry every one or two weeks to help maintain its shine and prevent dirt from building upon it.

The more often you clean your gold-plated jewelry, the more likely it is to retain its shine for longer. To make sure your gold-plated jewelry lasts for as long as possible, also ensure to store it in a safe place and avoid wearing it in the shower.

What Is Gold Plating?

Gold plating is a process where a thin layer of gold is deposited on the surface of another metal. There are different types of gold plating, but the most common ones used in jewelry are:

  • Gold flash plating — This is an electroplating process where a very thin layer of gold (less than 1 micron) is applied over another metal, such as copper or brass.
  • Soft gold-plating — This type of gold-plating does not have a nickel base, so it can wear off faster (although some manufacturers use an extra layer of gold to compensate for that).
  • Hard gold-plating — This is the best type of gold-plating because it has a base layer of Nickel which makes the gold-plated finish more durable and scratch-resistant.

Gold Plated vs Solid Gold Jewelry

Gold plated jewelry is made by covering a base metal, like sterling silver or bronze, with a very thin layer of gold. The thickness of that gold layer is measured in microns and to be considered gold plated, it must be at least 0.5 microns thick.

Solid gold jewelry, on the other hand, is made with pure gold such as 14k or 24k. Karat is used to indicate the percentage of pure gold in an alloy. The higher the karat number, the higher the percentage of pure gold in the piece.

For example, 10k gold has 41% pure gold; 14k has 58% pure gold; 18k has 75% pure gold, and 24K has 100% pure gold.

Another difference between gold-plated and solid gold jewelry is the price. Gold-plated jewelry is less expensive than solid gold jewelry. It is also less durable and eventually wears away, exposing the metal beneath.

How Can You Keep Your Gold Plated Jewelry Tarnish-Free?

  • Remove your jewelry when working with household chemicals, cleaning, doing laundry, and bathing.
  • Make sure your lotions, potions, and perfumes are dry before putting on your jewelry.
  • Don’t expose your jewelry to saltwater or chlorine (pools).
  • Store your gold-plated jewelry in airtight zip-lock bags to prevent tarnishing.
  • Clean with a polishing cloth or a soft cotton cloth after wearing.

SEE: Find From Simple to Grand Evergreen Gift Ideas for Women


What should you avoid when wearing gold-plated jewelry?

Water. Water will wear away the gold plating on your jewelry, which is why it’s important to take off your gold plated pieces before you go swimming or even wash the dishes. Anytime you get water on your body, dry off the area with a soft cloth.

What is the best way to clean gold-plated jewelry?

The best way to clean gold-plated jewelry is by using dish soap or vinegar. You can also use toothpaste, baking soda, or a polishing cloth. Just make sure you don’t use too much force on the jewelry when cleaning it.

How should you store your gold-plated jewelry?         

Store your gold-plated jewelry in a cool dry place (separately from one another). If you have a lot of pieces, consider using an organizer for each piece so they don’t rub against each other and scratch or chip the surface.

Can you clean gold-plated jewelry with soap and water?

Yes, you can. To clean gold-plated jewelry with soap and water, start by mixing mild soap and warm water in a bowl. Then soak your gold-plated pieces in the mixture for 10 minutes before rinsing them off with cool water.

Next, dry your pieces with a soft cloth to remove any leftover residue. Finally, use a polishing cloth to buff away any tarnish that’s still on your jewelry.


Gold-plated jewelry can be more affordable than solid gold jewelry, but it does require special care to keep it looking its best.

By using the above tips, you can clean your gold-plated jewelry and prevent it from becoming dull or discolored.

Thanks for reading.

Visit Africana Fashion for more tips on how to clean your jewelry.