How To Clean Gold

Updated: Oct. 24, 2023

Regular cleanings boost gold's characteristic shine and preserve it for generations to come. Here are pro-recommended methods for how to clean gold.

Whether it’s tableware, utensils, living room décor or wall art, gold needs to be cleaned regularly to keep it looking vibrant and beautiful.

“Once every six months should be enough,” says Gabrielle Martin, a supervisor at Bio Recovery, a professional cleaning company. “Cleaning gold too often can damage the surface.”

Cleaning gold also helps preserve the integrity of the metal by removing tarnish. Just remember to be patient. It may take a few cleaning sessions to make it look its best.

“Over time, gold will start to lose its shine due to contaminants in the air,” Martin says. “Routinely cleaning gold is important to keep it shining and prevent it from dulling.”

Here’s how to clean gold, including DIY methods.

How To Clean Gold With Dish Soap

Regular dish soap works well on all kinds of gold items in your home to loosen any residue. Martin says choose a mild version, add one to two tablespoons to a mixing-sized bowl of warm water, then soak your gold for about 15 minutes.

Next, give it a gentle scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush or microfiber cloth to remove stubborn dirt or surface blemishes that dishwasher soap alone can’t loosen. Be as gentle as possible. “You don’t want to scrub the gold too vigorously, or you can leave micro scratches on the surface that become more apparent over time,” Martin says.

Rinse away any soapy residue with warm water, then blot dry — again, gently — with a clean cloth.

How To Clean Gold With Salt and Baking Soda

Salt and baking soda are a surprisingly effective combination for cleaning gold. When combined, they create a chemical reaction that helps break down tarnish.

Use equal parts of each — say, one tablespoon salt and one tablespoon baking soda — as well as a drop or two of dish soap if you’d like, Martin says. Add both to a mixing-sized bowl of hot water, then soak your gold for ten minutes.

If it needs further cleaning, gently scrub with a soft bristle toothbrush to break up any residue. Then rinse under warm water and gently pat dry with a microfiber cloth.

How To Clean Gold With Sparkling Water

Sparkling water can clean gold, too. “It’s the carbon dioxide that helps,” Martin says. Carbonation helps break down build-up or tarnish, leaving gold looking fresh and clean.

Fill a bowl with sparkling water, place gold inside and let soak for 10 minutes. Be sure to submerge the gold completely. Gently scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush if needed, then rinse with warm water and pat dry.

How To Clean Gold With Gold Cleaner

There are plenty of professional-grade gold cleaners that target extra-stubborn buildup or revive gold that’s significantly lost its shine. Find them online or at home improvement or general merchandise big box stores. Here are three top-rated products to try:

  • Tarn-X Tarnish Remover: Amazon reviews rave about its ability to remove tarnish from various metals, including gold. Plus it requires no scrubbing, making cleaning gold a breeze.

  • Hagerty Silver Foam: Don’t be put off by the name: Hagerty Silver Foam isn’t just for cleaning silver. It’s actually cleans several metals, gold included. This product works well for antique gold in particular because it cleans and polishes in one sitting.

  • Connoisseurs Precious Jewelry Cleaner: While this top-rated cleaner works well on gold jewelry, it’s also good for smaller gold items like utensils, or small décor pieces like figurines. It comes with a large dip tray and soft-bristle brush so you have everything you need.