Who doesn’t love the lustre and shine of a gold ring? There’s no denying they add that perfect golden pop to the most basic of ‘fits. But when it comes to keeping gold rings looking their best, you can have a real challenge on your hands. It all depends on what exact metal your gold rings are made out of. Solid gold rings or gold plated rings are pretty high maintenance and require frequent cleaning, sometimes with specialist products.
On the other hand (or should that be finger?), gold PVD coated rings are a doddle; only requiring the most basic of surface cleans every now and then.
Read on to find out which cleaning method is best for your collection.
What Makes Gold Jewellery Tarnish?
One of the biggest drawbacks to gold or gold plated jewellery is how susceptible it is to tarnishing. This discolouration happens because of a process called oxidisation; when the metal alloy the gold has been mixed with reacts with oxygen causing it to corrode and deteriorate. This is true for all precious metals and something that gets worse over time due to the unavoidable daily exposure to oxygen in the air. The best way to keep this at bay is by regularly cleaning your gold jewellery, but this can come with its own issues that we’ll explore later.
If you want to achieve the exact same stunning look to gold without the nightmare upkeep, it's time to switch to gold PVD coated stainless steel. Physical Vapour Deposition, or PVD, is a vacuum coating process that applies an extremely durable gold coating to jewellery for a finish that’s immune to oxidisation and tarnish resistant. Not only is this luxurious shine incredibly long-lasting, it’s hypoallergenic too!
How Often Should You Clean Gold Rings?
As a general rule, you’ll need to clean your gold or gold plated rings every couple of weeks to keep on top of tarnishing. But be careful. Gold is an extremely soft metal so overcleaning can cause it to become scratched, lose it’s shape and eventually degrade. It’s especially important to avoid overcleaning gold plated jewellery as it isn’t water-resistant. If you expose gold plated jewellery to too much water, it can damage and discolour the gold layer until it eventually wears off and exposes the metal underneath. This is why you should also avoid swimming and showering in gold plated jewellery, including rings.
Gold stainless steel rings (including our best-selling daisy ring) are completely sweat and moisture resistant meaning they’ll stay looking their best no matter how much you wear them. So you’ll barely ever have to worry about cleaning them at all!
How To Clean Gold Jewellery At Home?
Unless your gold rings are especially old and tarnished, it should be possible to clean them using household items that are relatively easy to get hold of. But you may need to step it up a notch for particularly stubborn discolouration. Here’s our top tips for different types of gold.
How To Clean Solid Gold Rings
First things first, there is no such thing as a 100% gold ring as pure gold would be far too soft to wear as jewellery. Instead, all solid gold rings are mixed with another alloy to make it more durable. The higher the carat, the more actual gold the piece contains and the more careful you should be to avoid bending your ring during the following cleaning process:
Fill a bowl with luke warm water and add a few drops of washing up liquid.
Soak your rings in the solution for 10 to 15 minutes.
Using a specialist gold cleaning cloth or small, soft brush like a toothbrush, gently scrub both the outside and inside of your ring until it’s clear of any dirt or grime.
Rinse the ring under a tap and leave to dry naturally or gently pat it with a kitchen towel.
Top tip: The same process can be used for all types of gold jewellery including gold earrings or a gold chain.
Can You Clean Gold With Toothpaste?
No. Unlike Coca Cola, this often cited cleaning tip is actually false. Toothpaste is abrasive so it can do more harm than good by scratching or damaging soft metals like gold and silver.
How To Clean Gold Plated Rings
Gold plated rings should only be cleaned infrequently using the soapy water method above. Do not use any other solutions that might cause the gold layer to wear away and expose the base metal underneath the plating. Not only will this spoil the colour of the ring, but it can be problematic for those with sensitive skin if the metal underneath contains nickel. It should be noted that any gold plating will eventually wear away over time but over washing it, using harsh cleaning chemicals or a hard brush will only speed up the process.
When To Visit A Professional To Clean Your Gold Jewellery
Really old or severely tarnished gold rings or those containing precious gems like diamonds can be much trickier to clean to home. In these cases, you will need to take them to a professional jeweller who may use an ultrasonic, steam or ionic cleaner to get your gold ring clean. Be warned though, this can be costly depending on where you go.
How To Clean Stainless Steel Rings
We wouldn’t blame you if you were now questioning if gold rings are really worth so much hassle. Especially when there is a cost effective and super low maintenance alternative.
As already mentioned, the gold PVD coating process creates a hypoallergenic finish that’s 10x thicker than gold plating meaning it won’t fade or tarnish. It’s also completely water and sweat resistant so your jewellery will stay looking fresh no matter how much you wear it. Because of this, you’ll only really need to clean your stainless steel ring whenever it’s looking a little dull from everyday buildup like makeup or dirt. All you need to do is wipe it clean with a soft cloth and a little soapy water, taking care to wipe inside any grooves (like those you’ll find on our textured heart ring) and you’re good to go. It couldn’t be easier!