How to Clean Jewelry With Ammonia

jewelry cleaned with ammonia

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

There are many different ways to clean fine jewelry at home. Arguably one of the most effective methods for cleaning diamond jewelry involves the use of ammonia. However, you must proceed with caution. Though ammonia will make your diamonds shine, it is also one of the riskier jewelry cleaning methods to use.

Prolonged or excessive use of ammonia can damage and discolor your metal, wear down your gemstones, and make fracture-filled diamonds appear cloudy. It is best to proceed only with natural diamond jewelry that has diamonds that are not fracture filled or damaged. This method will also work with gold or silver jewelry that have no stones at all.

If your diamond engagement ring is excessively dirty and dull, and the only thing you have in the house is some ammonia, then this method may be for you. We'll teach you how to safely clean dirty diamond jewelry with ammonia. Just be sure to follow all the instructions carefully and only use occasionally rather than on a regular basis. Not sure when you should clean your jewelry? Find out how often you should be cleaning your diamond jewelry before proceeding to the next step. 

If you don't want to use ammonia, try other gentle yet effective diamond cleaning methods. 

  • 01 of 08

    Items You Will Need

    materials for cleaning jewelry

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    • Soft bristle tooth brush
    • Ammonia
    • Lint free cloth
    • Mild liquid dish soap (if needed)
    • Lukewarm & cool water
  • 02 of 08

    Create a Solution

    mixing an ammonia solution

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    Create a solution with 1 part ammonia to 6 parts lukewarm water.

    Err on the side of caution with this mixture because a little bit of ammonia goes a long way. Some people say to create a solution that uses one part ammonia to one part water, but this solution is too strong and could eventually discolor or damage your gold. 

  • 03 of 08

    Submerge Your Jewelry

    jewelry submerged in the ammonia solution

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    Submerge your jewelry in the solution for 10 minutes. 

    Be sure to wear a pair of dish gloves when handling jewelry using the ammonia solution.

  • 04 of 08

    Gently Brush Your Jewelry

    cleaning jewelry with a toothbrush

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    Gently but thoroughly brush your jewelry with a soft-bristled toothbrush. 

    After the jewelry has soaked for 10 minutes, take out your jewelry and gently brush any grime away with the softest bristle toothbrush you can find. Be sure to pay special attention to behind the stones where dirt and grime get built up and prevent your diamonds from shining.

    Don't brush too aggressively or you run the risk of loosening your diamond or scratching the metal. 

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Re-Soak and Re-Brush Your Jewelry

    putting the jewelry back in the solution for 10 more minutes

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    Put the jewelry back in the solution for 10 more minutes. 

    This step will help dislodge any stubborn grime and dirt that was left over from the first scrub session.

    Gently brush a second time.

  • 06 of 08

    Remove Tarnish if Necessary

    making a new soaking solution

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    For very dirty jewelry, repeat steps 1 and 2 with a different solution that helps with tarnished metal. 

    Mix a solution of 6 parts lukewarm water to 1 part ammonia. In addition to the ammonia, also add a few drops of mild dish detergent like Dawn and mix together until soapy. The addition of the dish detergent will help remove any built up tarnish on the gold or silver jewelry.

  • 07 of 08

    Step 7: Polish With Lint Free Cloth

    polishing the jewelry with a lint-free cloth

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    After ten minutes in the new solution, polish the metal with a lint-free cloth. 

    Instead of using a toothbrush like in step 3, use a lint-free cloth to gently buff and shine the metal. This works best on gold or silver. 

  • 08 of 08

    Rinse With Cool Water

    rinsing off jewelry with water

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    Pat dry with clean lint-free cloth. Allow your jewelry to dry fully before you store it away.