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How to Clean and Care for Your Pearls

Pearls are soft and delicate, requiring special care and cleaning measures to ensure a long life of luster and beauty. Even cultured pearls with thick coatings are fragile and can get damaged without proper care. Here is a list of tips to help your pearls last for generations to come.

Cleaning Pearls

The best way to clean pearls is to wipe them with a soft damp cloth on a regular basis. Use a lint free cloth to avoid scratches. Every time you wear your pearls, remember to wipe them before returning them to their case. However, always air-dry them before putting them back. This helps to protect the pearls from harmful build-ups of compounds caused by the acids in body oils and perspiration. Click here to learn more about pearl care.

Pearls Protection

A way to protect pearls is to occasionally wash them with mild soap. Use your hands to wash them, as a scrubber of any kind may damage the nacre. However, soap must be used periodically on your pearl jewelry. Ivory flakes or a baby soap are mildest to use and can prove the best option for cleaning your pearl jewelry. Use suds in lukewarm water and then wash the pearls with the solution. Remember to dry your pearls before returning them to their case. Do not hang your pearls to dry. Rather, leave the precious gems on a cloth for drying.

How Not to Clean Pearls

When cleaning pearls, avoid soaps containing ammonia, harsh soaps and detergents as they can deteriorate the beads. Avoid bleaching agents, powdered cleansers and agents like baking soda. Also, jewelry-cleaning solutions are available for most gemstones. But do not use the same for pearls, as these are porous and can absorb the agent. Do not soak your pearls in any kind of soap or cleaning solution, however mild it is. Avoid ultrasonic gem cleaners since they can cause your pearls to crack.

Never Steam Clean Pearls

Never steam clean your pearls since heat can have a damaging effect. If your pearls have a lump of dirt, using your fingernail is the best way to get it off. Also, at every six months have a jewelry professional to check whether your pearls are securely mounted on the string or not. When cleaning your pearls check for dirt accumulated near the drill holes.

Mixed Pearl Jewelry and Other Gemstones

Besides having sets with just pearl jewelry, you might also have pearls set with other gems. Here too avoid harsh detergents or ultrasonic gem cleaners as they can dull the pearls and diminish the look of the jewelry item. Keep pearls carefully, away from other hard jewelry that can damage them.

Buying the Right Set of Pearls

The durability of a pearl depends to a large extent on the thickness of the nacre that envelops it. A thicker nacre ensures that your pearl will stay lustrous and shine longer. Thus while it is important to take good care of your pearls, it is more important to buy the right set. Pick your set from a store you trust and that provides only top class products. See more on How to Buy Pearls.

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