If you’ve been cleaning your jewelry at home, you probably know about domestic jewelry cleaners like vinegar and baking soda. But besides these two, you can clean your jewelry with some other household products, one of which we discuss below.
Can you clean jewelry with witch hazel?
You can clean jewelry with witch hazel. When used on jewelry, witch hazel can remove accumulated tarnish and grime.
Because it is slightly acidic, some people advise against using witch hazel to clean jewelry. However, witch hazel is safe for cleaning most metals and gemstones. As long as you use it correctly, there should be no problems.
You are probably asking yourself, “what is the correct way to use witch hazel to clean jewelry?” Well, we discuss that and other things you should know below.
1. Witch Hazel Is Not as Acidic as Vinegar
As we mentioned above, witch hazel is acidic, like vinegar. But have you ever wondered which of them is more acidic?
Well, the pH of vinegar is around 2 or 3. Witch hazel, on the other hand, has a pH between 3 and 4. Going by these values, vinegar is more acidic than witch hazel.
2. Dilute Witch Hazel if You Intend to Soak Jewelry in It
Some cleaning instructions recommend soaking your jewelry in pure witch hazel. But to be safe, we recommend diluting witch hazel with water if you intend to soak your jewelry in it.
The mixture of witch hazel and water listed above removes streaks, wax, and dirt from tile, vinyl, and linoleum floors. So, it should work well on jewelry.
3. How Long Should You Soak Your Jewelry in Witch Hazel?
There are different opinions on how long you should soak your jewelry in witch hazel. Some say you should soak it for about 20 to 30 minutes. Others say you can soak your jewelry in witch hazel overnight.
If you want to soak your jewelry in witch hazel, we recommend starting with shorter times. You could start with 5 to 10 minutes and see how it goes. If 5 or 10 minutes is long enough to clean your jewelry, you do not have to soak it for 30 minutes or overnight.
Soaking your jewelry in witch hazel for extended periods may increase the possibility of damage. But if you soak for only a few minutes, you can reduce that risk.
4. Do Not Use Witch Hazel on Plated Jewelry
Due to its mild acidity, witch hazel isn’t safe for cleaning plated jewelry.
If you regularly clean plated jewelry with witch hazel, it won’t be long before the plating wears off. When the plating wears off, all you will have left is the base metal. Of course, the base metal alone offers no visual appeal. So, witch hazel can ruin your plated jewelry.
5. Do Not Use Witch Hazel on Porous or Soft Gemstones
You should also not use witch hazel to clean porous or soft gemstones.
Due to its acidity, witch hazel can dissolve such soft or porous gems over time. As gemstones dissolve, they get damaged, and damaged gems are of no use as jewelry.
Pearls are one type of gemstone that is highly susceptible to damage by witch hazel. Pearls primarily contain calcium carbonate – a substance that readily reacts with acid. So, it isn’t surprising that witch hazel can destroy pearls.
Besides pearl, witch hazel can also damage opals. While its harmful effect on opals is not as pronounced as its effect on pearl, the damage is still significant.
6. What You Can Use to Clean Plated Jewelry and Gemstones
As we already mentioned, witch hazel is not safe for cleaning plated jewelry or soft, porous gemstones. But this does not mean you cannot clean these types of jewelry.
If you want to clean delicate jewelry, opt for a warm water solution of dish soap or mild detergent. This option is safer than witch hazel, vinegar, and many other household options for cleaning delicate jewelry.
Besides being safe, a warm water solution of dish soap or a mild detergent is pretty easy to use. Just prepare the solution, soak the jewelry in it, and then rinse the jewelry.
When cleaning jewelry with a soapy water solution, ensure the water is warm, not hot. If you use hot water, you will damage the jewelry for sure. Also, only use mild soaps or detergents; harsher substances may damage your jewelry.
You can clean jewelry with witch hazel. However, there are concerns about using witch hazel to clean plated pieces of jewelry and soft or porous gemstones. These safety concerns stem from the fact that witch hazel is acidic.
Therefore, dilute witch hazel with water and only soak your jewelry for short periods to reduce the risk of damage.