How to Clean a Gold Chain:  5 Quick Methods

Tife is a freelance healthcare and fashion content writer. When she isn't writing, you will…

If you’re reading this article, there’s a high chance you’ve come to realize your gold chain is not self-cleansing. Your chain may be starting to look dull and not like the shiny, expensive jewelry it was when you bought it. 

So, how do you get it to shine again? No, wearing it in the shower doesn’t count as cleaning it? Not to worry, we’ve got you. We’ll share how to clean a gold chain, whether for maintenance or to get rid of visible dirt. But first, does gold jewelry ever need to be cleaned?

Should you clean gold jewelry? 

Yes, you should clean gold jewelry. It can accumulate dirt from soap, sweat, body lotion, makeup, perfumes, and other everyday substances. While your gold jewelry may not tarnish, it will lose its shine and luster, making it less attractive – which we don’t want. Happily, there are simple ways to clean it. 

How often should you clean gold jewelry?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should clean gold jewelry. For example, if you wear your gold jewelry once in a while, you might not need to clean it until after several wears. 

On the other hand, if it’s an everyday gold chain, earring, or ring, it will accumulate dirt faster and need to be cleaned every few weeks. However, once you notice a stubborn stain on your jewelry, that’s your cue to clean. 

woman trying to figure out how to clean a gold chain with a bar of soap

How to clean a gold chain to maintain it 

You won’t always have noticeable stains on your gold chain, but that doesn’t mean it is clean. If you notice that your chain lacks its usual luster, it’s time for a maintenance cleaning. You can use any of these two methods.

Water and Dishwashing Liquid

Water and dishwashing liquid is the most common method for cleaning gold chains because the materials you need from start to finish are all in your kitchen. It also doesn’t take up to 20 minutes to complete. 

Materials Needed

  1. Small bowl
  2. Soft-bristled toothbrush 
  3. Jewelry polishing cloth/soft cloth
  4. Mesh strainer (optional)


  1. Pour warm water into a bowl and add a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid like Dawn or Seventh generation.
  2. Add your gold chain into the mixture and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Tip: Use the wait time to reorganize your other jewelry pieces.
  3. Use a soft-bristled brush over the gold chain, paying attention to all the chain links that may be hard to get to. Do not use a stiff brush or scrub heavily because you’re likely to scratch your gold chain. Instead, keep brushing gently until the gold chain is clean.
  4. Rinse in warm water until it is free of soap. You can place the jewelry in a fine mesh strainer and put it under running warm water to rinse.
  5. Dry with a soft cloth and buff your chain to restore the shine. 

Jewelry Cloth

Jewelry cloth, also called polishing cloth, is a specially designed fabric used to clean and buff jewelry. They typically contain anti-tarnish and cleaning compounds, and most are made up of micro-abrasives that will not scratch your gold chain. The jewelry cloth will have a cleaning side and a polishing side which you can identify from the manufacturer’s label.

Material Needed

  1. Jewelry cloth


  1. Rub the surface of your gold chain gently with the cleaning side of the jewelry cloth to remove dirt.
  2. Turn the cloth over and use the buffing side to polish the chain until it shines.

Don’t attempt to wash your jewelry cloth, or you’ll wash off the anti-tarnish and cleaning agent. You can use the cloth repeatedly until it is soiled.

💡 If you’re not ready to buy a jewelry cloth, you can use untreated microfiber cloth but don’t expect it to give you the same result.

How to clean a gold chain to remove dirt 

When your gold chain has accumulated dirt, it requires extra effort. Soap and water may not get the job done. Here are different methods to get rid of dirt on your gold chain.


Ammonia is a popular household cleaning agent, so it should not surprise you that you can also use it to clean your gold chain. 

Materials needed

  1. Bowl
  2. Ammonia
  3. Soft cloth


  1. Mix 6 parts warm water and 1 part ammonia in a bowl.
  2. Soak your gold chain in the mixture for one minute. Don’t soak it for longer, so make sure to time yourself.
  3. Take it out and rinse well under running water.
  4. Dry and buff with a soft cloth.

💡 Ammonia is an effective cleaner, but don’t use it more than once every 3-4 months, as its overuse can be harsh on jewelry. 

Rubbing Alcohol

Gold is alcohol-safe, so you don’t have to worry about alcohol ruining your chain. As long as you follow the steps described, your chain will be fine.

Materials Needed

  1. Rubbing alcohol
  2. Bowl
  3. Soft cloth


  1. Mix an equal amount of water and rubbing alcohol in a bowl.
  2. Soak your gold chain in the mixture for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Remove from the bowl and leave to air dry. You can rinse your chain if you want, but it’s not necessary.
  4. Polish with a soft lint-free material by repeatedly rubbing in gentle motions.

💡 Two for one: This method is extra helpful because it also disinfects the gold chain.

Ultrasonic Cleaner

To say we love our jewelry would be an understatement, so we see nothing wrong with a bit of investment to make sure our jewelry is in its best shape possible. With an ultrasonic cleaner, you can get the same result professional jewelry cleaners get. 

Materials Needed

  1. Ultrasonic cleaner
  2. Dishwashing liquid
  3. Ammonia
  4. Soft-bristled brush
  5. Soft cloth


  1. Fill the ultrasonic cleaner tank with warm water, a few drops of dishwashing liquid, and a tablespoon of ammonia.
  2. Let the cleaner run for five minutes, so the solution mixes well.
  3. Put your gold chain into the cleaner and run it for 10-20 minutes, depending on how much dirt is on your gold chain.
  4. Turn off the cleaner and leave the chain in the cleaner for about 10 minutes so the dislodged dirt can settle at the bottom.
  5. Remove your chain and go over it with a soft-bristled brush.
  6. Rinse the chain properly under running water.
  7. Dry and polish with a soft cloth.

You can purchase ultrasonic cleaner solutions in stores, but this homemade solution made with regular cleaning agents will save you money.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my gold chain shiny?

You can make your gold chain shiny by cleaning it. Accumulated dirt from several sources is usually responsible for the dull look of your gold chain.

Can I use vinegar to clean gold?

Yes, you can use vinegar to clean your gold jewelry. We recommend using white vinegar – not apple cider or any other kind – because it does not contain a coloring agent that may stain your chain. However, if you’re cleaning gold-plated jewelry, do not use vinegar.

Can you clean gold with alcohol?

Yes, you can clean gold jewelry with rubbing alcohol. It has a 2-in-1 action because it helps disinfect your gold jewelry. 

Can you clean gold with toothpaste?

Yes, you can clean gold jewelry with toothpaste. This is a cheap method, but it is effective. Be careful to rub your jewelry gently because of the abrasive nature of toothpaste.

Can coke clean gold?

Yes, coke can clean gold jewelry. You will need to place your jewelry in a bowl of coca-cola until it is completely covered and soak for about 10 minutes. After, rinse properly and dry with a soft cloth.

Gold That Glitters

Now, you have several options on how to clean a gold chain. All the methods listed in this article are effective, safe, and fast. The best method will be the one most convenient for you. If you’re still unsure, you can also ask your jeweler what method is best for that gold chain.

💎 You should know: We use affiliate links throughout our site. This means we may earn a cent or two when you make a purchase on our site. Thanks for adding to our shine.