Imagine this, you dressed up and had an amazing day out. It was hot, humid, you wore your favourite perfume, you walked up and down and got all your errands done. When you got home, you were really tired so you just threw your worn clothes on the floor, you took off your jewellery and placed it on your vanity. 3 days later you come back to wear your jewelry again and you find your jewelry, dark, smelly and unwearable.
STOP, it’s not ruined, I promise. It’s mostly dead skin and air pollution gunk on your skin that accumulated during your day out. When the gunk is left on the metal for too long, the gunk itself will oxidise sometimes and look black or brown on the metal. If you leave it like this, it will eventually tarnish the gold-filled metal or silver but if you clean it right away, it will be good as new. Pure gold won't be permanently tarnish but it will look dull until it's cleaned.
So let's begin...
Method 1 (mildest)- You'll need:
Small/Medium sized bowl
An old toothbrush
Put a 1 tsp of dish soap in a small bowl with 1 cup of water.
Place the metal jewellery in the bowl and swish it around with the end of the toothbrush. Let it soak for no more than 5 min. Get a paper towel or a cloth towel. Take out one item at a time and hold it over the cloth. Brush the item gently in small circles, keep dipping the brush in the soap water to keep the suds going. Don’t forget the clasp and the pendant. Rinse out under running water and dry with a clean cloth.
Note: DO NOT DO THIS METHOD WITH WOODEN, CLOTH, or DYED jewellery. It will ruin the item. THIS METHOD IS SPECIFICALLY FOR METAL AND GEMSTONE JEWELLERY. You can technically use it with beaded jewellery but only soak and brush the metal pieces that have turned dark.
METHOD 2 (slightly more abrasive) -
If the item is gold-filled, gold or silver, and it isn’t as clean with the method above as you would like, then you can try using this other method that’s slightly more abrasive.
1 tsp baking soda
Scoop out 1 tsp of baking soda, Dip the brush in to get some on the brush. Scrub the item with the baking soda on the toothbrush where the tarnish is lingering. Let it rest for 5 min and rinse and dry. If you have a polishing cloth you can buff the item after this.
METHOD 3 - MOST harsh mixture
We’re going to use a pickle solution. AGAIN use only on gold filled, solid gold or silver. Do not mix the metals in the bowl.
1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbs of salt
1 small/medium sized bowl
1 old toothbrush
Take 1 cup of boiling water, add 2 tbsp of vinegar and 1 tbs of salt to the bowl and stir till dissolved. Drop in item one at a time and allow to soak until the liquid is cooled. Remove item from liquid and brush with toothbrush gently. Rinse with cool water and dry with clean cloth. If you have a polishing cloth, you can gentle buff the item at this point.
If these 3 processes don’t work then, unfortunately the item may be too far gone to restore to its original finish or if it's pure gold or silver you can carry it to a jeweller to mechanically polish the top layer off to restore.
I hope this helps. Let me know in the comments if any of these worked for you.