HDYDI: Make Your Own Ring Cleaner

Making your own ring cleaner. Perks of being a part of a jeweler’s family.

Long ago, in the sweet West Texas town of Pecos, my grandparents and uncle owned and operated a jewelry store. It’s since closed and my grandparents have passed away, but my uncle has carried the creative torch. He now has a store in El Paso (if you live there, be sure to drop by Ben Williams Jewelers and say howdy!) I have wonderfully fond memories of barreling through the jewelry store door with my cousins (after grabbing a fountain drink at Woolworth’s), doorbells clanging and my grandmother saying, “You kids need to slow it down!”

It’s where my grandmother’s steady hands showed me how to properly wrap a package. Jewelers do have the market on that skill.

It’s the place I learned to appreciate fine china and crystal. I now relish having company over for a swanky affair.

It’s the site of my first hand-crafted piece of jewelry. My uncle took some scrap gold, we grabbed an earring pendant and his creative hands helped me turn it into a dangle ring, which I still have today.

That store was like magic. My grandfather would crouch over his watchmaker’s desk, filled with rows and rows of small drawers containing watch parts. He would glance up from his table, with his magnifying glass atop his head and give us grandkids a sly smile. My aunt was a stellar salesperson and can tell a great diamond from what seems like a mile away. After I was engaged, both my aunt and uncle grabbed my ring, held it to their magnifier, nodded their heads and winked at my fiance. He had passed the test of quality.

Many years ago, my aunt and uncle shared this cleaner with me and it has worked like a charm. Every time. It’s so easy you’ll be wondering why you haven’t done it before. NOTE: this cannot be used on precious stones like pearls and opals. Those should be taken to a reputable jeweler to be cleaned.

Make Your Own Ring Cleaner

Homemade Ring Cleaner

1 part water
1 part ammonia
1 part Mr. Clean liquid (not the gel)
1 glass jar (Gerber baby food jars are perfect!)
1 inexpensive toothbrush

I put my cleaner in an old baby food jar and replace the solution every 9-12 months. For the small jar, I used approximately 1oz. (1/8 cup) of each ingredient. If you’re unsure of how much your container holds, simply fill it with water to the desired line, pour the water into a measuring cup and then divide by three. As an Aggie, that’s about as complicated as I get with math.

ring cleaner_003

For cleaning rings, I suggest finding a small jar. It just makes it easier to get them in and out. You simply drop your jewelry inside the jar, let sit for a few minutes, then use an old toothbrush to fish it out and lightly scrub the ring. The less expensive the toothbrush, the better. Rinse the jewelry with water, dry and enjoy the bling!


  1. Cynthia on March 24, 2014 at 10:41 am

    My husband’s grandmother told me the same thing, except she always told me to dry with tissue paper. I guess it’s lint free? So i put my jewelry on a paper towel, go get some white tissue paper and when I come back the rings are kinda dry and I finish drying them with the tissue paper.

  2. Nicole on March 24, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I have since lost touch with a friend whose brother-in-law was a jeweler. I remember her telling me his recipe, but I couldn’t quite get it all out of my head, but the ingredients are the same as yours. Thanks for jogging my memory. Now, maybe I shoudl look that friend back up – it’s been years!

    And I love the family detail you brought along with this HDYDI. Priceless memories you are sharing for your kids right there.

  3. Joel Whitaker on March 24, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Nice post. Formula works on diamond rings ( uncertain because of the reference to opals)???

    Bit about Pecos reminds me of postcards I saw at my grandmothers about “Judge Roy Bean. The law west of the Pecos.”

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