How to Clean 14k Gold Earrings

How to Clean 14k Gold Earrings

Cleaning 14k gold earrings at home is an easy and inexpensive process.

The most gentle method is to use warm soapy water to clean off dirt and grime. If you’re looking to restore your gold’s shine, a DIY ammonia solution is also a safe and effective option.

These methods can be used for both gold-filled earrings and gold-plated earrings and will leave your jewellery looking shiny and new. 

Table of Contents

Cleaning Your 14k Gold Earrings

What you will need:

  • Warm water
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Cotton swab
  • Polishing Cloth
Cleaning your 14k gold earrings


  1. Mix a couple of drops of liquid dish detergent into a bowl of warm water. Choose a mild dish detergent (Blue Dawn is a good option) and double-check that it’s not a moisturising detergent, as this can cause a greasy film to build up on your earrings. Gently mix the solution until the detergent has dissolved. 
  • This gentle cleaning method is suitable for both plated gold jewelry and solid gold.
  • Avoid using cold water, as this will make dirt and grease contract – making it harder to remove. You also want to avoid using hot water or boiling water. This can cause some precious stones to crack and the chlorinated water can discolour gold at high temperatures. 
  • If you don’t have dish detergent, a mild liquid hand soap will also work. 
  • For stubborn dirt, try using warm carbonated water (such as Club Soda). The bubbles can help to loosen dirt that is trapped in hard to reach places. 
  1. Soak your earrings in the soap solution for 15-30 minutes. This gives time for the detergent to work its magic and remove accumulated grease. It also helps to dislodge dirt and grime that is stuck in difficult to reach spots. 
  • If your earrings have turquoise or opals, do not soak them. These stones are porous and will absorb water, which can cause discolouration. 
  1. Remove any remaining grime with a cotton swab. Pay extra attention to the clasp and any connecting chains, as dirt tends to build up in these areas. If the cotton swab isn’t small enough to reach the dirt in hard to reach places, use a clean soft-bristled toothbrush. 
  2. Rinse the earrings in warm water. Put the plug in (important!) and then rinse your earrings under running water to remove the soapy solution. Once again, avoid using hot water so that you don’t discolour the gold. As long as the water is comfortable to touch with your skin, it will be safe for your earrings. 
  3. Dry and polish your earrings with a polishing cloth. Gently pat any stones or chains dry. Then, use the cloth to polish the gold. Keep polishing until your earrings are smooth and shiny. 
  • If you don’t have a polishing cloth, a microfibre or brushed cotton cloth will also work. 

How Can I Make My 14k Gold Shiny Again?

Over time, gold jewellery will inevitably be exposed to soaps, moisturisers, and oils from your skin. This causes a greasy film to build up on the gold which dulls the colour and shine. Thankfully, it’s a quick and easy process to restore the shine and give your jewellery a new life.  


  1. Mix equal parts ammonia and cold water in a small bowl. Ammonia is incredibly effective at breaking down grime and fats. If you don’t have any in your cleaning cupboard, you buy it inexpensively from most department stores or your local hardware store. 
  • If your jewellery has any gemstones, opt for a gentler method (like soapy water), as the ammonia can damage the fragile stones and change their colour. 
  1. Leave your gold jewellery to soak for 30 minutes. This gives time for the ammonia solution to loosen grease and dirt from your jewellery.
  2. Rinse your jewellery with warm water. Put the plug in the sink (!) and thoroughly rinse all areas of your gold jewellery. Make sure to use warm water, as this will help to rinse off any remaining oils on your gold. 
  3. Pat dry with a polishing cloth. If you don’t have a polishing cloth, a microfibre cloth will also do the trick. If there are any areas you can’t reach with the cloth, leave your jewellery on a dry cloth to air-dry. 

Read our full guide on making gold shiny at home.  

Does Baking Soda Ruin Gold

In short, yes. The abrasive texture of baking soda can scratch and corrode the soft, delicate surface of gold. It is also damaging to many popular crystals, gems and pearls that are commonly found in gold jewellery.

If you are looking for a way to clean gold at home, you are better off using dishwashing detergent and warm water or an ammonia solution to restore your jewellery’s shine. 

Does baking soda ruin gold?

Can You Use Toothpaste to Clean Gold?

Cleaning your gold jewellery with toothpaste will leave it looking shinier. This occurs because toothpaste has tiny abrasive particles that can scratch off layers of grease. However, because gold is a soft metal, the toothpaste can also scratch and wear down the gold. Over time, this will damage your jewellery.

To keep your gold jewellery in good condition, we’d recommend using an ammonia solution or soapy water as a safer at-home solution. 

Does Vinegar Damage Gold?

Vinegar won’t damage gold as long as it isn’t soaked for prolonged periods. However, vinegar can damage and discolour gems. If you choose to soak your gold jewellery in vinegar, use apple cider vinegar, don’t leave the gold to soak for more than 30 minutes and make sure to wash it thoroughly with fresh water afterwards. (Read more about cleaning jewellery with vinegar here).

Will 14k Gold Earrings Tarnish?

14k gold earrings are made from 58.3 % gold. The gold is then melted with other metals to make it stronger – commonly silver, nickel, copper or zinc. 

Over time, these metals will slightly tarnish and you may notice minor discolouration on the surface of your earrings. However, it’s quick and easy to remove the tarnish at home. 

All you need to do is scrub the tarnished areas with warm soapy water using a cotton bud or toothbrush. Then, rinse the earrings in warm water and pat them dry with a soft cloth. 

14k gold earrings are more durable than 24k gold and are lower in price. Whilst they can tarnish, they are easy and inexpensive to clean. Overall, 14k gold earrings are a great option if you are looking for a long-lasting, more cost-effective piece of jewellery. 

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