How to Clean Handmade Wire Jewelry
So, you took my advice and made the switch to solid copper jewelry wire. And now you’re wondering how to clean and polish your handmade wire jewelry, right? You’re not alone. In fact, I’m writing this post in response to a question from one of my YouTube viewers. She asked:
Could you do a video sharing your favorite way(s) to clean copper or silver wire wrapped jewelry properly?
I get it. Depending on your local environment, copper wire can oxidize quickly. So can silver, for that matter. And before you know it, all those pretty bright metal highlights that you had when you first finished your jewelry are gone. But there’s a super quick and easy fix for that. And it doesn’t require any messy or time consuming kitchen science experiments involving aluminum foil and baking soda.
I use just two inexpensive and easy to find products to maintain a beautiful finish on my handmade wire jewelry. And it only takes a few seconds to touch up the finish on my jewelry before I put it on.
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My Favorite Jewelry Polishing Products
The two products that I rely on to keep my own handmade wire jewelry looking its best are Pro Polish Pads and Sunshine Polishing Cloths. In fact, Sunshine Polishing Cloths are the only jewelry polishing cloth that I use and recommend to my own jewelry customers.
Both of my preferred products are readily available online. I buy mine in bulk from Rio Grande, but you can also find them on Amazon and (sometimes) through Etsy while potentially saving on shipping.
I’ve provided multiple shopping options below so you can choose your preferred source.
Where to Find Them
Both of my preferred products are readily available online. I buy mine in bulk from Rio Grande, but you can also find them on Amazon and Etsy and (potentially) save on shipping. I’ve provided multiple shopping options below so you can choose your preferred source.
Sunshine Polishing Cloths
Pro Polish Pads
Are These Products Safe for All Metals?
In a word, yes. But keep in mind that both of these products contain micro abrasives. Always err on the side of less frequent polishing on plated metals. This is because frequent cleaning will eventually wear through the plating and expose the underlying base metal.
That being said, I always recommend that you choose solid jewelry wires for your handmade wire jewelry. Be sure to download my free Jewelry Wire Guide, which is available in my Resource Library. You’ll need a password to get access to my library. If you don’t already have one, just complete the form below to get instant access to this file as well as several other useful wire jewelry resources!
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It’s in my resource library – get a password here!
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Both Pro-Polish pads and Sunshine polishing cloths work beautifully on silver, copper, brass, bronze, nickel, and gold jewelry. And they’re generally safe to use on most gemstones as well. But remember that they do contain micro abrasives. So always be careful when polishing jewelry that contains very soft gemstones, such as pearls or opals.
How to Clean Handmade Wire Jewelry
Keeping your handmade jewelry looking its best couldn’t be faster or easier with these two helpful products. Since the question that prompted this post originated in the comments on one of my YouTube videos, I made a quick video to demonstrate exactly how I clean my own jewelry. You can watch that video here, or just click on the thumbnail below.
What if My Jewelry is VERY Dirty and Covered in Gunk?
That happens! Jewelry that’s worn often — particularly outdoors — can become coated with dirt and grime that’s a combination of sweat, skin cells, dust, and pollen from the environment. But there’s a super simple fix for that, too. If you have jewelry that’s very dirty, just wash it in a warm bath using a mild dish soap. I prefer original Blue Dawn, which I buy in bulk, and I use an old toothbrush to scrub my jewelry clean.
It’s essentially the same process that I use to prepare newly created jewelry for my tumbler. To learn more about how I patina and polish my freshly made jewelry, be sure to review my 7-Step Patina Process or grab my free Patina Process Checklist, which is available in my resource library. Again, you’ll need a password to access my library. If you don’t already have a password, get one instantly by completing the form below.
Want my free patina process checklist?
It’s in my resource library. Get a password here!
Subscribe (free!) to my weekly newsletter and get instant access to my resource library where you’ll find this checklist and more!
Once that’s done, let your jewelry dry completely. Then go ahead and polish it with a pro-polish pad and/or a Sunshine polishing cloth as demonstrated in the video above.
Discover More Behind Door 44
Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope this post has been helpful.
I like to share useful wire weaving tips and tricks on my social media channels, and we have some great conversations about wire jewelry in my private Facebook Group. So, be sure to connect with me @door44studios on Instagram, and Facebook to keep up with what’s happening behind Door 44. And if you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel where you’ll find new wire jewelry videos weekly.
Until next time, my friend, go make something beautiful!
Hi Wendi! We chatted months back, and I mentioned I was going to get back into my wire-wrapping and my time is now! So I created some pieces and followed your guide and YouTube video (then watched several more because you ARE amazing and a good teacher).
I did have one question about the patina process. In the past, I’ve used pro-polish clothes for buffing after patina but today I tried steel wool. I didn’t feel like it was much better than using the pro-polish cloths but I was curious if you had a reason why you choose steel wool over just using the pro-polish cloths? I guess my concern is the potential for steel wool in my shot not to mention dumping water down the drain. Anyway, I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I aspire to wrap like you do!