All jewellery needs a little bit of care from time to time. Gold-plated jewellery might be tarnish resistant, but it can pick up a lot of debris during everyday wear, and its base can still corrode. Cleaning your gold plated jewellery requires some finesse, as improper care can easily damage the thin gold layer.
What to Avoid
The layer of gold is very soft, so refrain from using abrasives like baking soda that work on other types of jewellery. In addition, using a toothbrush is discouraged, as most of the brushes are too rough for the surface. Even paper towels, which seem very harmless, can create small scratches on gold-plated jewellery.
Water and Soap
Warm water and dish soap are very effective cleaning agents when it comes to gold-plated surfaces. Mild dish soap does not contain any hard chemicals that can fade the plated surface, and the warm water can dissolve almost any debris. Mix the water and the soap in a small plastic container, and dip the jewellery. Do not let it soak, as prolonged exposure to water can also be damaging. Gently rub and dry the surface with a microfibre gold cleaning cloth. Reach less accessible areas with a cotton bud.
The use of WD-40 oil might seem a bit unconventional, but it does a very nice job at removing tarnish from plated surfaces. When the jewellery becomes darkened as a result of underlying oxidation, WD-40 is a better choice for removal than scrubbing. Use a small amount and rub the jewellery with a soft cloth. After all the tarnish is removed, use water and soap to get rid of the unwanted smell.
Commercial Gold Cleaners
Commercial gold cleaners can also be used on gold plated jewellery. These cleaners contain a similar mild detergent as dish soap that should be dissolved in water before use. Though the detergents are made specifically for this purpose, do not soak the jewellery in the solution. The detergent is still potent enough to dissolve glue and detach precious stones incorporated in the jewellery. Dip the jewellery in and use a microfibre cloth to gently remove all dirt. A good rub down a gold polishing cloth returns the gold's natural shine.
Another commercial method of cleaning gold jewellery is giving it an ultrasonic bath. Ultrasonic devices use sound waves to shake loose all the dirt accumulated on the surface. This is considered professional grade cleaning, and users only need to pat the gold items dry after they remove them from the ultrasonic cleaner.