How to clean pearls – the GENTLE method that keeps pearl necklaces clean

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Pearl jewellery is amongst the most expensive people can find on the market today. Many pearls owners will have inherited them from family members who bought the items at their most popular in the early 20th century. After such a long time, they may need a spot or deep clean, and is on hand with the best methods.

How should you clean pearls?

Pearls are cultured inside oyster shells, which help them develop a type of coat named a nacre.

The delicate process makes them a unique but fragile addition to jewellery.

Any cleaning should follow a gentle, specific process to keep the pearl’s lustre.

For a spot clean

Pearls survive well when worn against naked skin, as human oils give them a natural buff.

They don’t get dirty too quickly, so for a spot clean, all people need to do is wipe them with a cotton cloth.

Leather, specifically chamois, is also well-suited for cleaning pearls.

For a thorough cleaning

Where brief wipe downs fail, people may want to add some water and soap.

Cleaners will need to fill a basin with warm water and add pure soap or flakes.

People should use a cotton cloth soaked in the mixture to clean their pearls individually.

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Jewellers don’t advise dunking the whole pearl-clad item inside, as doing so will likely damage the surrounding material.

The aim here is to stay gentle here as well, given the fragile nature of the nacre.

When each pearl is clean, wipe them a second time with more damp cotton and remove the soap.

Then, take one last piece of (dry) cotton and gently wipe the pearls before leaving them to dry naturally on a soft towel.

How to stop your pearls from getting dirty again

The shiny, white nature of pearls mean they will lose their lustre quickly.

The best way to keep them clean after people have managed to retrieve some sheen is by storing them carefully in a flat, cloth-lined box.

Another essential tip is to wear them regularly, as the human body will help keep them dosed with the moisture they need.

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