Guide to Cleaning Your Pawn Shop Jewelry

Many pawn shops thoroughly clean their jewelry pieces before selling them. However, if you want to be sure your jewelry is free of any grime, you can always clean your pieces yourself as well.

How can you clean your jewelry from the pawn shop?

Professional Jewelry Cleaning

If you aren’t sure how to go about cleaning your pawn shop jewelry, ask the pawn shop’s in-house jeweler if they can do it for you. You can also take your jewelry to a different jeweler in your area to clean it, too.

Both services may charge a small fee for each piece you want cleaned

Soap and Water

Keep in mind that different materials will react to certain cleaners differently. You can use soap and water to clean gold and silver jewelry just fine, but softer gemstones will become damaged. Make sure you use a mild dish soap, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and a soft towel to clean your jewelry to prevent any damage or nicks to its surface.

  • Mix your dish soap with warm water and let the jewelry soak for 15 minutes.
  • Gently scrub each piece with your toothbrush. Focus most of your efforts on the prongs (the little things holding the gemstones in place), gemstones, and the inside of a band if you are cleaning an old ring. These spots tend to collect the most dirt and dust.
  • Rinse off with warm water and dry off with a soft towel.


You can use ammonia to clean gold and silver jewelry, but avoid using it to clean opal, porous gemstones, platinum, or pearls.

  • Mix an ammonia solution comprised of 1/2 cup clear ammonia and 1 cup water.
  • Let your pieces soak for a good 10 minutes.
  • Rather than scrub at your pieces with a toothbrush, simply pat them with a soft towel and let it air-dry.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is an all-natural cleaning solution that is used to disinfect and clean many surfaces, including jewelry pieces! Just make sure you only use it to clean solid metal pieces. The acidity of the vinegar can ruin pearls, gemstones, and rhinestones.

  • Soak your metal jewelry in white vinegar for 20 minutes.
  • Gently scrub at your pieces with a toothbrush or a microfiber cloth.
  • Let air-dry.

Salt and Aluminum Foil

Only use this cleaning method for pure silver jewelry. This means do NOT use this method if there are any gemstones set into the piece.

  • Line a bowl with aluminum foil.
  • Fill the bowl with hot water.
  • Add in 1 tablespoon of salt and stir until it fully dissolves in the water.
  • Place your silver jewelry in the bowl and let soak for a few minutes.
  • Pat your jewelry with a soft cloth then let air-dry.


This is best for jewelry with a lot of gemstones set into it.

  • Mix some toothpaste and water together to create a paste that you can spread on your jewelry.
  • Scrub with a toothbrush.
  • Rinse off with clean water and let dry.


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