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How to Clean Pearls

How to Clean Pearls

Pearls are timeless and iconic jewelry pieces suitable for various occasions. To ensure their longevity and quality, it's essential to care for them properly both before and after wearing them. Pearl care differs from that of other jewelry, which can make the process seem daunting. However, learning how to clean and maintain pearls is essential to preserve their beauty for generations to come.

In this guide, we'll break down the steps for cleaning pearls and offer maintenance tips to help protect these precious gems.

How to Clean Pearls

Step One: Wipe Pearls After Each Wear

Every time you wear pearls, they come into contact with oils and dirt, especially if you're as active as a baseball player like Joc Pederson. After wearing your pearls, remove them and gently wipe them down with a clean, soft cloth. This simple step helps remove any buildup that accumulates throughout the day.

Step Two: Use a Damp Cloth When Necessary

You don't need to use a damp cloth to clean your pearls after each wear unless visible stains are present. If stains are evident, you can create a cleaning solution by mixing warm water with a small amount of dish soap. Soak a soft cloth in this mixture and gently wipe the stained pearls.

Crucially, avoid soaking the pearls in the cleaning solution, as it can weaken the silk strand that holds the pearls together, potentially causing it to break.

Step Three: Ensure Pearls Are Fully Dry

If you've used a damp cloth to clean your pearls, allow them to dry completely before storing them. Storing pearls while they're still moist can weaken the silk strand, making the pearls vulnerable to damage or breakage.

Step Four: Annual Visit to a Jeweler

While cleaning at home addresses visible dirt and stains, a jeweler can assess the structural integrity of your pearls. They can identify any damage to the pearl strand and offer solutions for repair.

What NOT to Do: Avoid Steam and Jewelry Cleaning Devices 

Never attempt to clean pearls with steam or ultrasonic jewelry cleaners. The outer layer of pearls can suffer irreversible damage if subjected to these methods.

Pearl Maintenance Tips

Maintenance plays a crucial role in keeping your pearls clean and protected, reducing the need for extensive cleaning. Here are some tips to help you maintain your pearls:

  • Put on your pearls after you've finished styling your hair and applying makeup. This prevents excess makeup and hair products like hairspray from soiling your pearls, reducing the need for rigorous cleaning.
  • Avoid hanging your pearl necklace or bracelet in a jewelry case, as this can stretch the silk thread in the strand. Store your pearls flat to prevent thread stretching.
  • Store pearls individually or with a protective cloth. Pearls can become scratched when they contact surfaces or other jewelry. Storing them separately or with protective cloth safeguards them from scratches.
  • Don't hesitate to wear your pearls. The natural oils from your skin are beneficial for pearls, keeping them hydrated and preventing them from drying out. Extended storage can lead to dryness, so wear your pearls regularly. After wearing them, wipe them with a soft cloth and store them flat.

Final Thoughts

Pearls are timeless classics that should grace every jewelry collection, even for individuals with active lifestyles, like World Series Champion Joc Pederson. Pearls complement any look, whether dressed up or down. Once you've mastered the art of cleaning and caring for pearls, you'll be able to enjoy their beauty for many years to come.