Jewelry cleaners restore shine

FRESNO, Calif.

New jewelry that sparkles and shines in store cases can be so enticing. But time and wear can tarnish it, so jeweler Sal D'errico encourages his customers to clean jewelry regularly.

"It makes them fall back in love with it. It makes it look like the day it was born."

What's the best way to clean jewelry? Consumer Reports ShopSmart has tested five cleaners. There were liquid ones that go for $8 to $16, as well as two ultrasonic cleaning machines. These cost up to $50.

"To test our cleaners, we took watches, we took rings, and then we dirtied them with a synthetic skin oil, as well as hand lotion and hair spray," Lisa Lee Freeman said.

All the cleaners performed about the same. And testers needed a brush to remove grunge left behind.

But consumer reports ShopSmart says you can "make your jewelry sparkle" with cleaners you have on hand.

For plain gold jewelry and diamonds, you can soak them in mild dishwashing liquid and water and use a soft toothbrush to clean the settings. Dry with a soft chamois cloth.

To clean silver, rub on a little non-gel toothpaste with a damp sponge, rinse, and buff with a soft cloth.

This dull, silver bracelet looked so much better after it was cleaned!

Consumer reports says when cleaning silver, first try a test spot in an inconspicuous place. And when it comes to cleaning pearls, just use a soft cloth that can be dampened with a little tap water. Don't use anything abrasive.

So while jewelers use some very impressive cleaning equipment, you, too, can get your jewelry to shine like new.

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