The Impact of Household Cleaners on Jewelry

Written by: Sue Fritz | | Jewelry

Cleaning may not be your favorite activity, but you really won’t like these chores if the household cleaners you use harm your jewelry. Many chemicals found in cleaners can damage your gold and silver jewelry, as well as the gemstones they contain.

The chemicals that cause the most damage include bleaches, deep cleaners, detergents and solvents. Also chlorine, which is found in mold and mildew cleaners, and bromine can harm your jewelry.

Chemical Damage

Often the cleaning product doesn’t hurt the gold itself but rather the metals mixed with the gold. The chemical will cause it to crack and break because it weakens the bond and allows breakage of the metal.

Chlorine and detergents can slowly erode the finish and polish of precious gems, as well.

The following items are the most susceptible to damage from household cleaners:

  • White gold because of the alloys used in it compared to those used in yellow gold.
  • Areas where the metal was stressed, such as the prongs because they are bent.
  • Anything that comes in contact with bleach. (For example, if 14k gold is left to soak in bleach, it will be completely destroyed within 24 hours.)

Other Forms of Damage

While these cleaners can cause damage, even everyday substances like hairspray, perfume or cosmetics can contain products and chemicals that will harm porous gems like pearls and turquoise. Even though soap and lotion won’t hurt your gold or silver, it can cause a film residue to form making anything you wear appear dull or dingy.

Ammonia, while typically mild, can be too harsh for delicate gems or vintage jewelry. Take care to avoid wearing those items when cleaning with ammonia products.

How to Protect Your Jewelry

There are a few simple ways to keep your special items safe from harm1:

  1. The easiest and most effective is to not wear jewelry while cleaning. Remember this easy rule when tackling cleaning chores: jewelry should be the first thing off and last thing on.
  2. Take your jewelry off before getting in pools or hot tubs where there is chlorine, bromine or other chemicals.
  3. Wearing rubber or latex gloves while cleaning isn’t the best solution. The tension and pressure from the tightness of the gloves can loosen prongs and cause stones to fall out.
  4. Try a platinum setting instead of gold. While it’s more expensive, platinum is impervious to chemicals, plus it will last longer and need fewer repairs.
  5. If platinum is not an option, consider a 14k palladium white setting.

Best Metal Choices

According to a study that tested the strength of metals against bleach, chlorine and bromine, these faired as the most durable to least durable2. Keep this in mind when making a new jewelry purchase for yourself or someone special, especially if you know your hands will be in contact with these chemicals:

  • Best: Platinum
  • Rhodium plated 14k palladium white gold
  • 14k palladium white gold
  • 18k nickel white gold
  • Worst: 14k nickel white gold

Keep it Safe in Every Way

Your jewelry is unique and special to you and it should stay that way. It is important to protect it from damage, as well as any other risks. Consider insuring your jewelry from loss with personalized coverage from Lavalier . For more information contact us today and put your mind at ease.

References:

  1. Common Household Cleaners Can Destroy Your Jewelry. www.lansingjewelrydoctor.com. (accessed Oct 2, 2018).
  2. Do Chemicals Affect Your Gold. www.esslinger.com. (accessed Oct 2, 2018).

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Lavalier is pleased to share this material with its customers. Please note, however, that nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services. This material is for general informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.