Taking care of jewelry can be a little high-maintenance. Even if you’re not a fine jewelry type of girl, you have to put some thought and effort into caring for your accessories or you’ll end up with dingy, discolored pieces that will probably be tossed in the Goodwill pile. If you’re not sure how to keep your favorite accessories in tip-top shape, check out these jewelry care tips below!

1. Do: Use Water

Natural stones are sensitive and some of the cleaning solutions on the market can damage them. When in doubt, use water and a soft toothbrush to gently clean each piece, and let them air dry on a cloth. For pearls, use a wet cloth to gently scrub the build-up off. This is the best way to ensure you won’t damage your good jewelry. Water is gentle, but for most jewelry, you’ll just want to wipe it down and not let it soak.

2. Do: Soak Your Diamonds

Diamond rings can get dingy, especially if you’re wearing them everyday. I’m a mom so gross stuff is bound to end up on my hands, making my shiny diamond not-so-shiny. There’s an easy fix that you can do as often as needed! Mix your own diamond cleaning solution using one cup of warm water and 1/4 cup ammonia. Drop your ring in there for 20 minutes and gently scrub it with a soft toothbrush, if necessary. Voila! Good as new!

3. Don’t: Use Toothpaste

This is a pretty common tip you’ll find on the Internet but this can actually damage your jewelry. Most toothpaste has tiny abrasive granules that can scratch the surface of metals and stones. Let’s leave toothpaste to polish our teeth, not our jewelry.

4. Do: Store Properly

I’ve ruined too many necklaces by being disorganized and throwing them in random drawers. Make a little extra effort to properly store your jewelry by hanging it up neatly or keeping it in a jewelry box. Yes, even fashion jewelry. This not only makes it easier to find what you’re looking for when you need it but keeps dust and dirt from accumulating and chains from getting tangled.

5. Don’t: Load up on Lotion

Avoid wearing heavy lotion on your neck, hands and wrists, as this can ruin the finish on your necklaces, bracelets, and rings. This is especially important for fake jewelry. The oils can dull and discolor the metals and dramatically shorten the life of your favorite pieces.

6. Do: Use Clear Nail Polish

To prevent discoloration and chipping on costume/fashion jewelry you can apply a thin coat of clear nail polish as protection. This will keep your less expensive jewelry in tip-top shape!

7. Don’t: Wear in Swimming Pools or When You’re Cleaning

This rule is for all jewelry expensive and inexpensive alike. Take off jewelry when you’re about to take a dip in the pool or hot tub, when you’re cleaning your bathroom, and even washing the dishes. All of these things can take a toll on jewelry, stripping the metals and causing discoloration. Soap is probably the least offensive of these but it can cause build up on jewelry that needs to be scrubbed off often, so toss your rings in a bowl when doing the sink full of dishes!

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