Video by Miso Sati
It’s no surprise that one of the most frequently asked questions is how do I take care of my jewelry and clean it? After being in the jewelry industry for almost ten years, my answer is quite simple: an ultrasonic cleaner! After familiarizing myself with best practices, how to use one, and what I can/can’t put in, there’s no better way than cleaning a piece of jewelry with an ultrasonic. I’ve been wanting to find one that I not only like but one that I can fully recommend with confidence and backed with experience. That’s why I’m so excited to have made this video for you all and to recommend the Elma from Rio Grande.
I’ve worked at a couple of jewelry stores in my lifetime and always generously used their ultrasonic machine to clean my personal pieces of jewelry. I would often joke that if I ever left, I would have to come back just so I could use the ultrasonic cleaner (these machines are THAT good). Well, that day did come for me and after I quit my job, a few months in I realized I needed to invest in one. I decided to buy the most inexpensive one I could find, because I knew they could be pricey and for someone who just quit her job, cheap was the way to go. The ultrasonic worked for a year and then died on me…that’s when I realized cheap wasn’t the BEST way to go! The amount of use that my ultrasonic gets, a machine like the Elma makes the most sense. As soon as Rio Grande sent me one and I opened it up, I could feel the difference in quality and knew it was going to clean well and last long.
I like cleaning my karat gold chains monthly, as my necklaces get oils from my neck and chest, especially in hot/humid months of the year. My diamond stud earrings are another item I like to place in the Elma and set the timer for 15 minutes. Earrings easily build up dirt from everyday wear — I clean those every other week! My engagement ring is two large diamonds, so before I toss it in the ultrasonic, I check to make sure the prongs are all in tact and haven’t shifted…if I had pave diamonds, I would have to check my prongs more closely as small pave set diamonds tend to fall out more often.
The Elma cleaner featured in this How To video is the 3 Quart size and depending on your needs, Rio Grande offers a smaller 2 Quart size and a larger 6 & 10 Quart size. Some features I really like are the timer and temperature settings it has–definitely a step up from a simple ON/OFF button. The lid is also very important, as you can cover to hold in the heat and clean even deeper. There’s also a pulse function which helps remove dirt and oil faster in hard to reach places. The add-on basket is also something I recommend buying to keep your jewelry from damaging both the ultrasonic and itself from hitting the bottom of the machine. Rio Grandé offers baskets for every size ultrasonic they have.
A few cautionary tips before you begin —
Things you CAN put in the ultrasonic without worry:
1 — karat gold jewelry (no gemstones), like 10k 14k 18k, etc can be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner
2 — diamond jewelry is another ideal candidate for the ultrasonic, I just recommend checking your prongs before tossing it in and make sure diamonds aren’t loose because if they are, the ultrasonic’s vibrations will knock out the diamond if it is not secure.
Things you CANNOT put in the ultrasonic:
1 — rolled gold, plated gold or costume jewelry
2 — certain gemstones cannot go in the ultrasonic, refer to this handy chart from Rio Grande
3 — there are several atnique jewlery styles that shoudln’t be put in an ultrasonic like seed pearls, foil backed gemstones, pieces with openings or secret compartments, HAIR jewelry
Be sure to watch this video to learn all the steps to cleaning a piece of jewelry — I give extra info and tidbits of knowledge mixed with my steps.
Should you not have an ultrasonic, I recommend a soft-bristled brush like an old toothbrush, warm water and a mild soap to clean your karat gold jewelry. Dry off your pieces with a soft cloth. Broken chains, noticeable dents, and deep scratches require the services of a jeweler or repairman. Although there are many ways to care for your gold jewelry in the comfort of your home, an occasional check-up with your jeweler is recommended to preserve your gold.