You might think that costume jewelry is for costumes only. But Kim Kardashian would disagree since she’s been wearing costume jewelry since 2016.

The right piece can be the finishing touch to any look. It’s also a great way to wear jewelry that’s more affordable than gold or silver.

Even though costume jewelry is made of nonprecious materials, it still needs some care. Here are some tips on how to clean tarnished costume jewelry.

How to Clean Tarnished Costume Jewelry

To clean tarnished jewelry, gather up all the pieces from your jewelry box that need cleaning and lay them out in an organized fashion. Next, select whether you’d like to use an old toothbrush or one specifically designed for cleaning jewels.

After you have your jewelry and your tools, you can clean costume jewelry with the tips below.

Warm, Soapy Water

Soak the jewelry in a glass container filled with warm, soapy water for about an hour. Wet a clean, soft cloth and wipe off the tarnish until it’s gone. If you want to speed up this process, you can heat the water to help dissolve any excess tarnish on your jewelry.

This method is more useful for freshly tarnished jewelry but may not work as well for pieces that are heavily tarnished.


If you’re trying to clean tarnished costume jewelry that’s old, toothpaste is a brilliant choice. Fluoride toothpaste has the abrasives needed to remove grime and prevent further corrosion.

Wet the jewelry and use a soft toothbrush to apply the toothpaste. Leave the toothpaste on your pieces for about 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water then pat dry.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Combine one part white vinegar with two parts baking soda. Your mixture should be somewhere between the consistency of toothpaste and pancake batter, so it will be easier to apply.

Apply it directly onto your jewelry using a soft-bristled brush or cloth. Let it sit for about five minutes before rinsing off with water. If there are still traces of tarnish left behind, repeat this process again until all the tarnish is gone.

Make sure you don’t get the mixture on your skin or eyes because vinegar and baking soda can irritate sensitive areas.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, so it can remove rust and tarnish from costume metals.

For this project, get a glass bowl and soak your jewelry in a bit of hydrogen peroxide. Allow the solution to sit for 15 minutes before rinsing it off with water and drying it with a soft cloth.

Baking Soda and Salt

Mix 1/2 cup of salt with 1/2 cup of baking soda in a small bowl. Place the jewelry on aluminum foil and then drizzle the salt and baking soda solution over it. Try to cover all sides of each piece of jewelry.

Let your pieces soak in this mixture for 20 minutes before rinsing them off with warm water.

Why Does Costume Jewelry Tarnish?

Tarnish occurs when the metal in your jewelry comes into contact with sulfur-containing gasses. These gasses oxidize the metal and lead to corrosion.

How to Prevent Tarnishing

To prevent tarnishing, don’t wear your costume jewelry while swimming or showering. You should also keep your jewelry off while exercising. Sweat can create a lot of moisture that will cause your jewelry to tarnish.

Don’t wear your jewelry while you’re sleeping either. If you sweat while asleep, your pieces can corrode. It’s also an easy way to break your jewelry.

Now that you know what not to do, here are some ways to keep your costume jewelry looking like new.


If you want your costume jewelry to last, it’s important to store it properly. Store them in a dry place away from humidity and heat. You can use a jewelry box or plastic bag to keep your pieces safe.

Avoid storing them near cleaning chemicals and perfumes. They can tarnish the metal.


You can also use a protective spray on your jewelry, but only if you’re sure that it’s safe for costume jewelry. You can find these sprays online. They’re sold as jewelry coating or jewelry spray.

If you’re not sure which one is best, ask a jeweler or look online for information. Find out more about the best jewelry stores to consult with by searching online.


It’s important to keep the jewelry dry. Avoid exposing it to water, as this will cause the tarnish to spread faster.

Preserving Costume Jewelry

The best method for preserving fake jewelry is to use a spray-on acrylic sealer. You can find this at your local craft store or Walmart. If you can’t get your hands on it, clear nail polish will work just as well.

To apply this layer of protection, simply brush over the piece with either product and let it dry before wearing it again.

You should also try cleaning your costume jewelry often to keep it looking its best. You can use hand soap and warm water for this.

Remember to dry the jewelry immediately after you’re done. That way, the water won’t harm the jewelry.

Use These Jewelry Cleaning Tips

Figuring out how to clean tarnished costume jewelry can be tricky. Most cleaning methods involve water, which can cause the jewelry to tarnish further. But as long as you’re careful and follow the instructions for each method, you can keep your costume jewelry looking great.

Keep in mind that your outfit is not just about your costume jewelry. The most important accessory is you!

Your life should be as sparkly and bright as your costume pieces. Find some tips to add pizzazz to your daily activities in our life section.