Cleaning pearl necklace with a white soft cloth

Pearls are truly timeless and making a comeback in 2022. You can wear pearl jewelry on all occasions and fit with every outfit. However, wearing the pearls often while not cleaning them regularly, the accumulated oils and other dirty substances can weaken the pearls’ luster. What’s worse, if the nacre chips off, your pearls will lose their shine forever. 

In this blog, you will discover easy and useful methods how to clean your pearls without damaging them. And some useful tips to remain your pearls long-lasting! Enjoy reading now!

Why Pearls Need Cleaning and Special Care?

  • Gently wiping your pearls down regularly helps remove pollutants and oils that can eventually stain or damage pearls. And that is why jewelers recommend wearing your pearls after your perfume and cosmetics have dried. 
  • Because pearls are organic gems comprising calcium carbonate, they can be damaged by cosmetics, hairspray, and perfumes that have chemicals. 
  • In addition, pearls having soft gleaming nacre on the surface is also why they are fragile and require extra care. The thinner the nacre is, the more fragile the pearls are. 

The gleaming nacre will easily chip off, especially if cleaned with harsh chemicals or placed in a jewelry cleaner like an ultrasonic cleaner, leaving unsightly chips or cracks. What’s worse, the pearl will completely unravel, leaving you with a dull, lifeless bead. 

How Often to Clean Pearl Jewelry?

If you wear your pearl jewelry very often, take them to the jewelers and get them professionally cleaned and restrung once a year. 

Also, you can gently wipe them with a soft dry cloth after every wear to keep the pearls shimmering all the time. This help prevents the accumulation of oils or other substances.

How to Clean Pearls?

A girl wearing a beautiful pearl necklace

As mentioned above, the pearls are fragile and have soft nacre. Different from cleaning other jewelry, pearls are delicate and require more proper cleaning and care. Now, let’s take a look at the following steps on how to clean your pearls safely:

  1. Inspect You Pearls

Check that the jewelry is still in good condition before cleaning it. In the case of necklaces and bracelets, inspect the silk strand that threads the pearls to make sure it hasn’t stretched, and ensure the clasps work properly. For the earrings, check the attachment to the posts.

  1. Clean with a Damp Cloth Only As Needed 

When you see the pearls are visibly stained, mix a solution of lukewarm water and mild dish soap, dip a soft cleaning cloth in it and gently wipe the pearls. Never submerge the pearl necklace in water, which will damage the pearls and weaken the silk thread if they’re strung with silk.

  1. Gently Wipe the Pearls Again with a Soft Clean Cloth 

Dampen the cloth with fresh luck warm water and remove the soap residue. 

  1. Dry the Pearls Before Storing Them 

Put the pearls on a soft dry cloth and let it air-dry. This helps retain the elasticity of the silk strand.

  1. Take Them to Your Jeweler Once a Year

Once a year, have your jeweler check the integrity of your pearl bracelets and necklaces. They can help clean the pearls thoroughly and safely. Don’t use steam or ultrasonic jewelry cleaner to clean pearls. Both of the methods tend to break the pearl’s outer layer.

Here’s a helpful video telling you how to clean pearls. 

How to Clean Pearl Ring?

A gold pearl ring on a champagne cloth
  1. Inspect the pearl ring using a magnifying glass or loupe. In this way, you can notice the loose pearls before they’re potentially falling out and getting lost. 
  2. Remove the accumulated dust and debris. Dust the dirt off with a soft toothbrush or make-up brush. Make sure you should use the softest brush you find because pearls can get scratched from too much brushing. If you see any especially stubborn dirt, use a soft cotton swab dipped in cleaner.
  3. Clean with a suitable cleansing product. A few drops of mild dish soap in a bowl of warm water and a soft cloth will work. Except for that, a soft cloth with a drop of olive oil does the job as well. Or, a damp cloth with warm water is the most accessible.

Don’t immerse the pearl ring in the cleaning solution, it will weaken the adhesive and compromise the mounting. And do remember to rinse well, pat dry, and polish the jewelry with a soft cloth afterward to avoid dulling its shine.

  1. Air dry before putting it away. Moisture is the number one enemy of jewelry. Pat dry the pieces and let them air dry before storing them. If your pearl rings have intricate settings and designs, you can leave them to dry upside down to allow any water trapped in the settings to drain.

Maintenance Tips to Keep Pearl Clean and Long-lasting

  1. Put the pearl jewelry on last and take it off first. Avoid applying perfumes, cosmetics, and other chemicals when you’re wearing them.
  2. Store your pearls in a special space. Pearls are too soft to be scratched by metals and gemstones. Therefore, put them separately in cloth-lined jewelry boxes or soft bags. 
  3. Place them flat. This help prevents the pearl strand from stretching.
  4. Wear your pearls often. The moist environment is good for pearls. Exposing the pearls to fresh air keeps them in better condition than storing them for a long time. 


  1. Are pearls porous?

Yes, pearls are porous. They absorb beauty products like makeup, sunblock, hairspray, perfume, etc. These products have chemicals that will damage the luster of your pearls.

  1. What can damage pearls?
  • Cosmetics, perfume, hair spray, and sunblock contain chemicals that will dull the brightness of the pearl. 
  • Natural acids such as body oils and perspiration can also damage it. 
  • Toothpaste, ammonia, baking soda, and anything too abrasive or acid will scratch or damage your pearls. Pearls are soft stones and require gentle cleaning and care. 
  1. Will vinegar damage pearls?

Vinegar is acetic acid. It’s known that it will damage the surface of pearls. So don’t put your pearls in vinegar. 

  1. How do you clean South Sea pearls?

Clean your pearls with a soft cloth dipped in mild soapy water. Then rinse the cloth in fresh water and wipe the pearls. Dry the pearl with a soft cloth.


Now that you know how to clean pearls. Go take out your stained pearl jewelry and clean it step by step, you will finally have the bright pearls come back. 

Would like to read more about pearls? Read our Pearl Engagement Rings.

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