How to Clean Pearls Without Ruining Them

Why Pearls Require Special Care

Diamonds are forever. But pearls are delicate and may not last long without proper care. They do not occur in mines or volcano sites like other gemstones but are formed by living organisms: Mollusks.

The process initiates when it starts covering a tiny irritant with thousands of layers of nacre, forming into a beautiful pearl one day. The thickness of the coating determines the durability and quality of the pearl. 

The nacre can easily chip off if the coating is fragile and thin. It can lead to cracks, chips, and gaps in the gem. This nacre coating makes pearls sensitive and fragile. Using harsh chemicals on pearls can further cause irreparable damage to them. 

Abrasive cleaning or rubbing can damage the outer coating and snatch away its luster and radiance. In the worst-case scenario, the pearl can untie completely, leaving you with a lifeless bead. Therefore, pearls need extra care and maintenance. Stay with us as we throw light on how to clean pearls. 

How Often to Clean Pearl Jewelry

How to clean pearl jewelry, and at what frequency? Ideally, you should clean pearls before and after every use. Moreover, experts also encourage professional cleaning once in a while to enhance the life of this gem. 

Apart from this, you should also consider getting them restrung annually. It will maintain the strength of the inner thread. Then, connect with a professional pearl cleaner to learn more about it. 

The Best Ways to Clean Pearls: Equipment / Tools, Materials, and Steps

Equipment / Tools and Materials

How to clean old pearls? Cleaning pearls is not rocket science, provided you know the materials used in the process. You can connect with an experienced professional to understand how to clean a pearl necklace. Meanwhile, here is a common list of things you keep handy while cleaning pearls. 

  • A bowl of lukewarm water and mild detergent
  • You can also use soap flakes or pure soap
  • A soft, clean cloth

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Steps for Cleaning Pearls

How to clean pearls that have yellowed? Or how do you clean pearls? Here is a crisp guide for you:

Step 1 

Firstly, you should check your pearl jewelry thoroughly. Check whether the gems are in good condition or not. Pay attention to existing cracks, chips, and damages. Also, check the silk thread on which the pearl beads are strung together. 

Lastly, check the clasp to see if it opens and closes effectively. Contact your jeweler in case you find the clasp non-functional or damaged. And how to clean pearl earrings? The process will remain the same. 

Step 2 

How to clean real pearls? First, wipe the pearl jewelry with a dry, soft cotton cloth. You can also use a dry soft toothbrush to remove the dirt stuck in the jewelry items. It is a crucial step as it will remove all the sharp dirt particles and prevent your pearls from getting scratched. 

In the second part, you need to dampen another clean, soft cotton cloth in lukewarm water and wipe the pearls again properly. The foamy content of the mix will gently remove stains and stubborn particles from the pearls. As you proceed, you will be surprised to see how much dirt was collected on your jewelry pieces. It is the best way to clean pearls. 

Step 3 

It is the last but crucial step of the pearl cleaning process. By now, your pearls should look spotlessly clean and lovely. Place the pearls in a clean towel and let them completely dry. Also, please remember to close the clasp carefully. 

Leaving the pearls to dry naturally will help the silk thread regain its elasticity. Do you have a freshwater pearl necklace and are wondering how to clean freshwater pearls? Please note that the cleaning process shall remain the same for all pearls. 

What to Avoid while Cleaning Pearls 

Here are the things you should avoid during this process:

  • Using washing liquids and harsh detergents
  • Dishwasher soaps can also damage the sensitive pearls
  • Ultrasonic cleaners and steam cleaning machines should never be used while cleaning pearls. 

Tips to Keep Pearls Clean Longer

How to take care of pearls? Here are some doable tips on how to keep your pearls clean and shining for longer:

  • Last on, first off! – Experts call it a golden rule for caring for the pearls. It says you should always wear your pearl jewelry at last, after applying perfume, doing make-up, hairspray, lotions, and getting dressed. Moreover, you should always remove your pearl jewelry before returning home. 
  • Check if the string is wet – You should never wear pearl jewelry if its string is wet. Do you know why? Because a wet string can easily absorb dirt, sweat, and grime, giving a shabby look to the jewelry piece. Therefore, you should wait until the string gets completely dry. 
  • Wipe the pearls – How to make pearls shine again? First, ensure you wipe your pearls with a clean, soft cotton cloth before putting them on. It is a great way to remove dirt, sweat, and oils from the pearls. Similarly, wipe your pearls properly while keeping them in the jewelry box. This simple exercise will keep them clean and sparkling throughout the year. 
  • Avoid rough fabrics – Another crucial thing to remember is that you should avoid wearing your delicate pearl jewelry with rough fabric dresses. It can scratch the pearl and damage its luster. Apart from this, the loose attire threads can also entangle in the silk threads. So, make sure you pick soft fabric attires with your pearl jewelry.
  • Avoid water – Exposing pearls to water can make them look pale and dull. Besides this, it can also damage the nacre coating of the gems. Therefore, avoid wearing pearls in showers, saunas, and pools. You can also consult an expert to know how to clean pearls. 
  • Be careful during sports and sleeping – Exposing pearls to extreme perspiration and rubbing can damage their shine and stain their surface. Therefore, ensure you remove your pearl jewelry while playing sports and sleeping. Because if you sleep with the pearls, then it can weaken their string. 
  • Professional cleaning – Experts also recommend a professional pearl cleaning session at least once a year to keep them spotlessly clean and shining. This process will also help in keeping the strings clean. Also, connect with a gemologist to learn how to clean pearls at home.
  • Prevent dryness – Do you know that extreme dryness can make the pearls look pale and yellow? You should keep a damp cloth in the jewelry box to prevent it. It is a great way to keep the pearls moist and their color intact. Lastly, always pick non-abrasive and soft-lining pouches +to store your pearl jewelry. 

FAQs on Pearl Cleaning

How to clean pearl jewelry?

When cleaning pearl jewelry, it is important to use a soft, clean cloth and avoid using any harsh chemicals or cleaners. Gently wipe the pearls with a cloth to remove any dirt or grime. If the pearls are very dirty, you can soak them in a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap for a few minutes before gently wiping them.

How to clean pearls that have yellowed?

If your pearls have yellowed, there are a few simple ways to clean them. First, you can try using a soft cloth and warm water to gently wipe the pearls. You can try using a mild soap or detergent if this doesn’t work. You can also try using a toothbrush to lightly scrub the pearls. Finally, if all else fails, you can try using a pearl cleaning solution. Pearl cleaning solutions are available at most jewelers or online. Simply follow the instructions on the package, and be sure to rinse the pearls thoroughly after cleaning.

How to clean old pearls?

When it comes to cleaning old pearls, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First of all, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives, as these can damage the delicate surface of the pearls. Instead, opt for a mild soap or detergent, and use a soft cloth or brush to gently scrub the pearls. You can also soak the pearls in a mixture of water and mild soap for a few minutes, then rinse them off with clean water. Just be sure to let them air dry completely before storing them away.

Is dawn dish soap safe for pearls?

No, dawn dish soap is not safe for pearls. The harsh chemicals in dawn dish soap can damage the delicate surface of pearls, causing them to lose their luster and become dull. If you must clean your pearls, use a gentle, mild soap and warm water instead.

Is it ok to wear pearls every day?

Yes, it is perfectly fine to wear pearls every day! In fact, many people consider pearls to be a timeless and classic jewelry piece that can be worn with any type of outfit. Pearls are also known for their ability to add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any look, which makes them ideal for everyday wear.

Can pearls get scratched?

Yes, pearls can get scratched. While pearl scratching is not as common as other kinds of jewelry damage, it can happen. The best way to avoid scratching your pearls is to handle them with care and store them properly.







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Navkiran lives in Punjab state of India with her husband and an exceptionally perfect furry companion named RAIN. When she is not writing, you can find her busy cooking, decorating & organizing her home, or watching TV series.

Navkiran Dhaliwal is a pro blogger and copywriter with 10+ years of experience working with clients from all over the world. She has written for several renowned online magazines and newspapers.

Navkiran lives in Punjab state of India with her husband and an exceptionally perfect furry companion named RAIN. When she is not writing, you can find her busy cooking, decorating & organizing her home, or watching TV series.

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