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Good as new: How to clean jewelry naturally

For couples, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate the special love between two people. But for retailers, February 14¬†is a day¬†for big¬†consumer spending. The average Canadian household will¬†spend¬†$37 on Valentine’s Day gifts this year, according to¬†The Retail Council of Canada. (Fun fact: Ontarians, are more likely to buy jewelry for their special someone than residents in any other province). So, if you’re lucky enough to get a bracelet, necklace or – gasp! – engagement ring¬†for Valentine’s Day, follow these easy¬†tips to keep your jewelry sparkling and new for years to come. Cleaning Silver -To remove tarnish from silver pieces without gemstones, try a soaking bath. Line a glass roasting pan with aluminum foil, dull side facing down. Put silver pieces on top of the aluminum foil. Pour about 1¬†litre of boiling water over the pieces and add 2 tbsp. of baking soda. Allow the silver to soak for¬†five minutes, or until the water is cool enough to touch. Dry the silver with a clean polishing¬†cloth. -If your silver piece contains¬†gemstones,¬†do not submerge it in¬†water; water can¬†rust or discolor your settings or cause the stones to become loose and fall out over time. Toothpaste, with its mild cleaning agents and gentle abrasives, is an effective single-ingredient cleaner for polishing tarnished silver. Apply the toothpaste to silver with a clean cloth. Avoid touching the gemstones.¬†For intricate pieces, use a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush. Let the pieces air dry by placing them upside-down on a clean cloth. Cleaning Gold and Platinum -To clean¬†gold or platinum jewelry¬†that doesn’t have gemstones, use a¬†mixture of soap and water. Fill a small bowl with warm¬†water and add a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid. Submerge your gold jewelry in the mixture. Let the jewelry soak for 20 minutes,¬†then rinse the jewelry thoroughly under running water. Dry the gold with a clean polishing¬†cloth. -Never submerge gold or platinum jewelry with gemstones under water.¬†Instead, dampen a clean cloth with the soap-and-water mixture mentioned above.¬†Gently wipe down the piece, then¬†use a cloth that has been dampened with water to clean off the soap. Let the pieces air dry by placing¬†it upside-down on a clean cloth. Cleaning Copper -Pure copper jewelry (without gemstones) requires an¬†mildly acidic solution to remove tarnish. Fill a small bowl with warm water and add a few drops of pure lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt. Submerge your¬†copper jewelry in the mixture. Let the jewelry soak for 20 minutes, then rinse the jewelry thoroughly under running water. Dry the gold with a clean polishing cloth. -The same rule applies to copper jewelry as with¬†gold and silver: do not submerge pieces containing precious stones in water. For these pieces, you can use ketchup (yes, ketchup!) to clean the piece.¬†Add a small amount of ketchup to the copper with a clean cloth, or¬†use a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush. Let the pieces air dry by placing them upside-down on a clean cloth.