We all know that diamonds are a girl's best friend (also chocolate and puppies and Trader Joe's), but what about what houses that diamond? The band is the real MVP here, especially when that band is gorgeous white gold. Swoon.
Unfortunately, white gold can be pretty tricky to clean. Because white gold is a mixture of yellow gold and white metals covered in plating, keeping it looking good is a little more complicated than yellow gold (typically a mixture of pure gold, copper, and zinc).
Because of the plating on white gold rings (made from rhodium), cleaning them means you have to be careful. You want to keep it looking beautiful and shiny while also disinfecting it and preserving the plating.
Whew! That's a lot. But it's totally doable, and we'll teach you how.
How to clean and disinfect white gold rings in 5 easy steps
1. Create a solution using a few drops of mild soap (nothing containing chlorine or harsh chemicals) and water.
2. Soak the ring in the soapy water for 30 minutes.
3. Gently rub the ring with a soft microfiber towel to remove any lingering dirt or smudges.
4. Rinse and then dry with a soft towel.
Seriously — we told you it was easy!
Quick tip: Because vinegar is used to clean and shine everything from toilets to ovens, we don't recommend using it to clean your white gold. Why? Because if gold is left soaking in vinegar too long, it can damage the surface of the ring. Plus, it's not safe for semi-precious gemstones (e.g., amethyst, white pearl, moonstone, and others).
How to clean a white gold ring with gemstones
Thankfully, cleaning a white gold ring with gemstones basically follows the same rules as before with a few additional tips to keep those gemstones safe.
1. Make a mixture using a few drops of mild soap and water.
2. Soak it for 30 minutes if the gemstone is durable (like a diamond). If it's a softer gemstone like an opal or a pearl, soak it for a shorter period of time or dip a soft cloth into the soapy solution, then gently rub the metal. Afterward, rub the stone itself with a damp cloth (water only).
3. Rinse, then gently dry with a soft towel.
How to protect your white gold rings
Just like most metal platings, the rhodium plating on your white gold ring will begin to wear over time. However, there are steps you can take to prevent the rhodium from fading away.
1. Make sure to take your white gold ring off when using any cleaning products. You want to avoid any form of chlorine.
2. Remove your ring when showering or swimming. (Chlorine is also found in tap water and swimming pools, and the salt in ocean water can corrode the rhodium plating.)
3. Avoid rubbing and fidgeting with your ring as much as possible.
4. Rinse your ring if it has been exposed to lotion or perfume.
5. Have annual maintenance checks with your jeweler to check the rhodium plating. They can polish your ring and even re-dip it in rhodium if necessary.
How to clean white gold that has turned yellow
Because of white gold's unique mixture, the actual gold itself is more of a soft yellowish color. It's the rhodium that keeps it looking silvery-white. So when the ring starts to turn yellow (this typically happens first around the prongs and corners), the rhodium is wearing off.
This means that you need new plating. There's nothing you can do to "clean" the yellow away. Fortunately, getting new rhodium plating on your white gold ring is simple. Just take it to your jeweler and they'll re-plate it for you by dipping it in rhodium. If you purchased a warranty on your ring, they'll usually do it free of charge. If you didn't purchase a warranty, they'll determine how much re-dipping will cost based on inspection.
How to clean plated jewelry
When it comes to cleaning plated jewelry, always remember to call your jeweler if you're unsure about something. Also, remember that things like toothbrushes and coarse fabric can cause tiny scratches on your ring. Because of that, a surefire way to clean any plated jewelry, whether it's rhodium, gold, or silver-plated, is by using something soft (microfiber towel, flannel, or a cotton ball) to gently rub away any accumulated grime and dirt.
Just like with protecting white gold jewelry, be sure to avoid spraying perfume on or near your plated jewelry; the chemicals can poorly react with the metal.
How to remove scratches from white gold rings
When it comes to removing scratches, the answer seems obvious: polishing. But polishing white gold isn't such a great idea, or at least, polishing it too much.
Because of its rhodium plating, each time the ring is polished, some of the plating gets chipped away. Over time, that means you're left with a yellowish ring. The solution? Get your ring polished once or twice a year or wait until it has several scratches on it. In the meantime, use the cleaning methods as listed above to keep your ring shiny.
If you can't avoid getting scratches and you want them buffed out ASAP, know that even if the plating wears off, you can get the ring re-dipped. Be aware that unless you have a warranty, there will be a fee for re-plating.
While we want to keep our rings looking their best—after all, many of us wear them every day—it's equally important to keep our rings disinfected. We wear them every da, which means they're accumulating all kinds of germs. When it's time to disinfect jewelry, there is nothing more effective than the PhoneSoap.
Simply place your ring inside the PhoneSoap, and after a few minutes, it'll be 99.99% germ-free.* It's as simple as that. No fuss, no extra materials, just pure ol' easiness.
When it comes to cleaning and disinfecting your white gold rings, it's not so hard. A little soap, water, and patience—plus a few minutes in the PhoneSoap—will have your ring twinkling and germ-free in no time.
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*PhoneSoap Pro has been tested by an independent, third-party laboratory to be 99.9% effective against SARS-CoV2. This test was performed on a plaque assay. PhoneSoap Pro has also been tested to be 99.99% effective against salmonella on iPhones and Otter cases containing iPhones. Finally, PhoneSoap Pro has been tested to be 99.99% effective against human coronavirus, strain 229E, ATCC VR-740.