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Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Pearls

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  • My firm has been washing pearls during a restringing since 1940. We always use either home made soap or ivory soap. If washed while
    knotted and strung the junk will just enter the string and work its way into the hole. We transfer to cotton string and lather our hands and
    lightly wash with running water. Rinse. Dry with an old cotton dish towel and then slide the pearls to dry cotton thread by sliding, takes only a minute. Holes are then dry and clean....then we slide to silk.

    pearl-man
    pearlman@mlange.org

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    • That sounds easy! I like the idea of the cotton thread drying the insides of the pearls.

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      • Sounds like an excellent method of cleaning and drying strands ! Thanks for that Pearl-Man!
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        • Thank you, very useful tips! Most strands are graduated, and nobody wants to reconstruct that from a bowl of loose pearls!

          Ivory soap is a castile soap, as is Dr. Bronner's unscented liquid soap, which I keep on hand. Sometimes beads need a bath, too.
          Pattye


          PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

          facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

          SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

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          • If they are knotted, of course we have to cut and layout on a bead board as we cut. Restring on cotton two threads . use a stiff Japanese needle.. then wash. Just slip loose end over the faucet scrub away. rinse at same time then SLIDE to dry cotton....easy.. some time cotton breaks if you hold up vertically . do lying flat on
            cordoroy (sp) automatic bead board. few times back and forth then slide to SILK.

            norm
            pearlman@mlange.org

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            • As mentioned before by someone else, if your water is hard and has lots of minerals, it's best to wash & rinse pearls in distilled water.
              Pattye


              PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

              facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

              SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

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              • Great tip on using corduroy Norm! I would have never thought of that... too bad I don't have any corduroy laying around, but maybe mom does. She still has a stash of her clothes from the 70s. I have been using distilled water all along since all tap water has minerals. Read that tip here. Well, I'll confess, I got all my tips here! This is the place to go for pearls! Y'all are GREAT!!!

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                • After a recent camping trip, I noticed that the drill holes on my pearls got gunked up. Any suggestions on the best way to clean out the gunk without harming the pearls?
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                  • I would soak the ring in warm soapy water to soften and hydrate the gunk, then swish the pearls around to loosen it. Hopefully the gunk will drop off into the soapy water.

                    If you have a small soft brush (like an eyebrow brush or the small flat brushes one finds in jars of commercial jewelry cleaning solutions), you can use it to flick away any stubborn gunk lingering near the drill hole.

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                    • Thanks for the suggestion, PD! I'm going to give it a try
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                      • I ended up letting the ring soak in the soapy water solution for an hour or so because I forgot about it. The dirt, etc was really embedded and so did not just fall off after the soaking. I took a toothbrush and had to really work it with the soapy solution to get all of the crud off. But off it did come and it looks SO much better now!
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                        • Another soft tool to use (next time) is a wooden toothpick. That won't scratch the pearls.

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                          • Originally posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
                            Another soft tool to use (next time) is a wooden toothpick. That won't scratch the pearls.
                            That's a great idea, I'll have to pick some up for next time.
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                            • I buy baby toothbrushes and baby hair brushes to clean my jewelry. I find that both are incredibly soft, and some of the baby toothbrushes have little soft nubby things that can clean really well. Oh, and I also use the dental soft picks, which work really well.
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                              • Originally posted by JerseyPearl View Post
                                I buy baby toothbrushes and baby hair brushes to clean my jewelry. I find that both are incredibly soft, and some of the baby toothbrushes have little soft nubby things that can clean really well. Oh, and I also use the dental soft picks, which work really well.
                                Never would have thought of that! That's going on my list too!
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