How to use alcohol to clean my white gold jewellery

Updated November 21, 2016

Cleaning your jewellery at home on a regular basis is a good idea to keep your gems in good condition. Weekly cleaning also provides you with an opportunity to inspect your jewellery for setting damage or loose prongs, clasp damage, stone fractures, cracks and chips. White gold is a popular choice for jewellery, because it's more durable and valuable than silver but more affordable than platinum. White gold does have its drawbacks, however, as it tends to show dirt and can take on a yellow-tinged tarnish with frequent wear. You don't need to buy expensive jewellery cleaners to keep your white gold jewellery looking great. Use household items, such as alcohol, as part of a cleaning regime that will leave your jewellery looking its finest.

Place a couple drops of washing up liquid into a bowl, fill it with hot water and immerse jewellery in the hot soapy water for approximately 10 minutes.

Scrub the jewellery with a soft bristle toothbrush to remove dirt particles and debris. After scrubbing each item, place it on a clean paper towel.

Rinse the bowl to remove traces of washing up liquid before filling the bowl with warm water. Place the jewellery inside the bowl, and swirl the water to rinse the items before placing them on another clean paper towel.

Empty the bowl, and pour in a bit of ammonia -- enough to immerse the jewellery items. Allow them to sit in the ammonia for 2 minutes to remove the yellow tarnish that can develop on white gold.

Rinse the bowl, and fill it with fresh water, immersing the jewellery in the water. Swirl the water in the bowl to rinse the jewellery before placing it on a paper towel.

Empty the bowl, and then pour in rubbing alcohol. There should be enough alcohol to fully immerse the jewellery.

Allow the white gold jewellery to sit in the bowl of alcohol for 5 minutes. During this time, you can scrub each item with a clean toothbrush. This will remove any residual oils or dirt.

Remove the jewellery from the bowl of alcohol, and place the items on a clean paper towel. The alcohol will cause the jewellery items to dry very rapidly, largely eliminating the potential for water spots.

Polish and buff the jewellery items with a polishing cloth, if desired. Typically, one pass is all that's required, as the alcohol removes oils that can dull lustre and shine.


Some white gold jewellery is plated with rhodium, which can wear off over time, particularly on rings that are exposed to lots of friction. This can cause the jewellery to take on a distinct yellow hue. No amount of cleaning will remedy this problem; you will need to have the item replated with rhodium. Always inspect jewellery during and after the cleaning process. Look for any signs of damage, especially in the vicinity of the clasp or setting. Never wear a damaged jewellery item, as you run the risk of losing the piece or the stone.


Avoid exposing white gold to chlorine, as chlorine can damage white gold jewellery. Avoid using alcohol on pearls, turquoise, emeralds, opals and other soft or porous gems. This means you must avoid exposing these stones to hand sanitiser gels and sprays as well, which are largely made up of alcohol. Never clean jewellery over the sink. You risk dropping entire jewellery items down the drain; a loose stone may be dislodged from its setting and lost during the cleaning process.

Things You'll Need

  • Hot water
  • Washing up liquid
  • Bowl
  • Ammonia
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Toothbrush
  • Paper towels
  • Jewellery polishing cloth (optional)
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