More Info: The Vinegar Institute, which is an industry association, frequently distributes information and has conducted many studies on the uses of vinegar. The association states that the use of vinegar as a gold cleaner is a suitable gold cleaner and suggests the following solution: “Use one cup apple cider vinegar. Submerge solid gold jewelry item in vinegar for 15 minutes. Remove and dry with cloth.”
Beware: While vinegar is widely known as a safe and effective method for cleaning everything from toilets to windows to copper pots, if gold is left in vinegar for too long it is possible to damage the surface of gold jewelry. In addition, many pieces of jewelry contain some type of stone. While vinegar would not harm a diamond, it is not safe for any semi-precious stones and could cause permanent damage.
Optimal Cleaning Solution: The best method for cleaning gold jewelry is to soak it in distilled water and soap and use a small soft jewelry cleaning brush to gently scrub away dirt and buildup. Another method is to use steam. Place the jewelry in a strainer positioned above a pot of boiling water. A vegetable steamer would also work. Allow the jewelry to steam for approximately 20 minutes, and then use the jewelry cleaning brush. Steaming is not recommended for jewelry containing stones such as pearls that may be glued on and become loose in the hot steam or opals that could lose essential oil, become dry, and crack during the steaming process.
Jewelry cleaning solutions and polishes are not recommended as they can leave streaks and residue on the jewelry if not properly rinsed. If your jewelry requires more substantial or specialized cleaning it is best to seek the services of a professional.