• Become a Pearl Insider!

    Register as a member today for exclusive access to, member only insider info, incredible contests to exotic locations, and have your questions answered by pearl experts from around the world.

    Join the community today. Just click Register at the top!

Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Pearls


New member
I might have used the wrong word. Tried the translater now and it says 'dish soap'. It's what you use for washing dishes by hand :)


Pearl Scholar
For cleaning any jewelry with pearls I recommend Dr. Bronner's unscented baby-mild pure-castile liquid soap. No artificial coloring either. Also recommend for any soft gemstones, such as opals, emeralds and rubies, as the latter are often oiled or filled.

Dawn dish soap works for cleaning diamonds and harder gemstones. It has both scent and artificial color added. Excellent for cutting grease.

Old soft toothbrushes are invaluable!

Pearl Dreams

Pearl Enthusiast
I agree with Pattye about Dr. Bronner's (or any other liquid castile soap) but will add the caution that it should not be used with hard water. The minerals in the water combine with the soap to form a hard to remove scum. If you have hard water or heavily chlorinated water, and you don't have a water filter, you might want to buy some bottled water for cleaning your pearls.

I have also used a mild liquid baby wash to clean my pearls without any problem.


Active member
Thanks everyone. I keep my jewelry clean, but I am concerned about any kind of buildup because with pearls also in the setting, it makes it harder to get the scum off the diamonds.


New member
Good day friends!
I would like to insert my "5 cents",:) to share my very brief information on the care of pearls.
Pearls 90% consists of calcium carbonate, 5% – of water and 5% - of organic matter concholine, which performs a cementing role. Organics present in the pearl, over time, dries out and collapses, so the pearl has a certain lifespan, and then it fades, splits and collapses. However, with proper storage and care pearls does not lose beauty for several hundred years.

Pearls are negatively affected by four main factors:

- high temperature;

- high humidity;

the considerable brightness of the light;

- the level of air pollution.

It has a detrimental effect and excessively dry skin of its owner. In room conditions, the surface layer of pearls is usually dehydrated slowly, but if your home is constantly hot, this process can be accelerated.

Pearl feels bad and overly wet areas. On the street for pearls of the most are dangerous industrial emissions and exhaust gases motor transport in the form of so-called "acid" rains. Harmful vapors and acids are able to dissolve the iris of pearls. As a result of this exposure to pearl as it melts.

Pearls harmful tobacco smoke, from which it can turn yellow and tarnish. No less dangerous are all kinds of household and cosmetic products in aerosol packages, such as deodorants, hairspray, antistatic for clothing, aerosol cosmetics for clothing and footwear.

As unpleasant for the life of pearls street and house dust. Dust particles, settling on the surface of pearls, damage them with their sharp edges and thus gradually deprive of Shine.

In sunlight, especially in hot weather, pearls gradually fade, fade, sometimes yellow, losing its iridescence and Shine.

You should not put pearls in a sauna, in a bath, in a shower or a pool, open beaches and reservoirs.

Perfume and eau de toilette should be used by the owner of the pearl necklace in advance before putting it on. Therefore, it is necessary to observe a simple rule: you put on pearls last, and off first.

The thread on which the pearls are strung should be changed (given to the master for dressing) every 3-5 years depending on the intensity of operation, as it tends to stretch and may even break.

Now sold a lot of special formulations for the care of pearls, but this is just another way for entrepreneurs to make money. Pearls can be washed with ordinary water and wipe with a soft cloth. Pearls are durable. But, because consciously cultivate it only started in 1901, to define precisely the period of his life yet. If the shell is thick and without cracks, then your pearls will be enough for both children and great-grandchildren. Natural pearls live 200-300 years, known pearls, which for 400 years. There's even one 800-year-old.

We offer a few practical tips to help restore the pearl to its former radiance:

Gently wipe it with potato starch, it will remove excess moisture and dirt.
Rinse the pearls in salt water
Rinse it in a mild soapy water solution and then Polish with a soft cloth
In Russia were known and other methods for the treatment of sick pearls. One of them recommended the following: pearls, without removing from the thread, you need to pour salt, put in a clean canvas bag and rinse in warm water until the salt dissolves. Then pearls should be dried in a light dust-free room away from sunlight.

Do not forget that pearls are created with the help of living creatures – mollusks. Their life was not in vain, if you appreciate and keep their child – a precious pearl.


New member
How do you care for a silver chain and bale around pearl? Sorry if this was answered above.

How do you store your pendants on chains? Is there a special hanger or lay flat?


Active member
I try to avoid silver with pearls, because I am not sure how to polish the silver without harming the pearl. And I do not like oxidized silver.

I lay my pendants flat, with the chain extending away from the pearl.

Pearl Dreams

Pearl Enthusiast
I use a Sunshine cloth to polish silver near pearls... very carefully, avoiding the pearl itself. The blue cloth is the least abrasive and is fine to remove a little tarnish; yellow is more abrasive and is good for metal that has scratches; pink is the most abrasive.

To reduce tarnishing I store my silver with anti-tarnish papers.

At Rio Grande: https://www.riogrande.com/search?q=...Vg0RpCh2GFAvcEAAYASAAEgLArfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

I hang pendants that are on chains in an acrylic holder like this one:


or this one (the knobs are set a bit higher, good for chains but not bead necklaces):

Last edited:


New member
Hi and welcome Gemmologist! I appreciate you sharing this information!


New member
Dear all

I have a question for Zeide:

I have read on various websites that when caring for and cleaning pearls, one should use a damp soft cloth (dampened with diluted soap solution) and then "rinsed" with another damp soft cloth (dampened with clean chlorine free water only) and then dried with another soft cloth.

However, I have also seen on some websites advising that if the pearls are really dirty, they should be rinsed under running water. My query is two fold: (a) what is the proper way to clean pearls and (b) can pearls be placed under a tap of running water (since I thought if water were to get into the drill holes then it will ruin the pearls)?

I would be grateful if you could please let me know.

Many thanks.


Our firm , started by my mother in 1939, has strung and washed pearls for restringing since then. ALL TYPES genuine, cultured, & fake . (short term for simulated) When we knot and or restring cultured or genuine (not fake) we string on cotton cord temporarily and put under the faucet in tepid temperature and was with Ivory soap. Cotton absorbs the soap the holes clean out well. Then rinse, cotton absorbs the clean fresh water and rinses the hole. Slide onto dry cotton thread and wipe with an old cotton dish towel while sliding the pearls back and forth. . Then string on silk and knot. In the 50's to the late 70's we did thousands of strands. I could go on for pages with our experiences.
pearl-man Norm
I just read through all 21 pages on this thread! Wow what a lot of great information! I have a few questions about using a salt slurry on pearls. Should this only be used on saltwater pearls or is it safe for all pearls? Does it matter what kind of salt I use? For instance are small salt crystals better than big? What about iodized? Also what should the consistency of the slurry be? Should it be more runny or more paste like?


PG Forum Admin
I would asume it be safe on all kinds of pearls treasurefixation...it is usually used on saltwater pearls because you will not discard this salt-water into a freshwater source, but it would work the same.
I would not use iodized, you can buy natural coarse grain salt (kosher if possible ;) ) at most stores.
Consistency? I would say about an "Icee" consistency...like a slurry. If you drop some on a table, it should kind of retain its shape and slowly..."melt"? for lack of a better word? It should be coarse...like ground ice.