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How To Keep Jewelry From Rusting

Written by Annabelle
January 22, 2018

You’ve inherited your Grandmother’s collection of jewelry and now you’re organizing it along with your personal collection. However, you've noticed that some of these necklaces, bracelets, or earrings are starting to tarnish and rust.  This is the natural course of some pieces, that, due to moisture and oxygen, can cause rust and residue on older pieces of jewelry. Learning how to protect pieces from the elements can make all the difference where you can clean up the rust as well as learn ways to maintain and clean your jewelry going-forward. Read on to check out more about how you can prevent rusting on your jewelry.

11 Ways to Prevent Jewelry From Rusting

1. Put Lotion on Before Your Jewelry

Lotion creates a barrier between skin and jewelry, and although it may coat part of the jewelry, prevents moisture from the skin from making contact with metal. Fragrance free, water based lotion with as few chemicals as possible applied in a thin layer where the necklace, bracelet, or earrings fall can help to act as a protective agent. This may also allow you to wear pieces of jewelry made from inexpensive blends of metal that may otherwise trigger an allergic reaction in the form of hives or skin irritation.

2. Avoid Bringing Jewelry Into the Bathroom

Moisture associated with showering, bathing, brushing teeth, and general washing leaves the air and surfaces like countertops full of water. This extra moisture can aid jewelry in tarnishing more quickly. Leave necklaces and bracelets in another room while you utilize the bathroom.

3. Remove Jewelry Before Swimming

Needless to say, swimming means getting jewelry wet, which makes it easier for rust to form. Beyond that, chemicals like chlorine and elements like salt found in various bodies of water like oceans and pools can aid the rusting process as well. These added chemicals and elements can mean a variety of adverse effects on jewelry pieces.

4. Apply a Sealant Spray

Most craft and hardware venues sell a variety of sealant sprays. Some are made with a base of silicone while others utilize a variety of alternative ingredients. Spraying your jewelry and giving the coat a chance to dry thoroughly creates a barrier between water, oxygen, and your piece. This will mean more time before rusting or tarnishing. It may even prevent the process altogether.

5. Use Clear Nail Polish

Costume jewelry like bangles, necklaces, and broaches may benefit from being painted with clear nail polish. Be prepared to reapply the substance periodically; it may flake off occasionally. However, the polish creates another type of barrier between skin, jewelry, and the environment. This process will also prevent costume jewelry from oxidizing enough to turn skin green.

6. Store Jewelry in Closed Containers

Keeping jewelry in closed boxes and containers can help to limit the amount of moisture and oxygen that makes contact with it. Typically, jewelry is only worn during the day and only for some number of days each year. This means that the amount of time spent stored is high relative to the amount of time that pieces spend out. Taking the time to invest in a closed container can greatly contribute to the life of your pieces by guarding against humidity.

7. Utilize Clear Bags

You might consider storing jewelry pieces in their own individual, sealable bags. Even if pieces are in a closed container, the extra layer of plastic can help to guard further against the air. Small, clear bags allow you to see easily inside in order to select necklaces, bracelets, and earrings without exposing them to humidity.

8. Use Gel Packs

Gel packs can be inserted into jewelry storage containers to absorb excess moisture that creeps in. These can be added to boxes or bags in order to add another layer of protection to the storage process. Often, these packs can be found in new shoe boxes or clothing packages and can be repurposed for jewelry instead of buying new packs.

9. Clean Jewelry

Different solutions, foams, and pastes are available for cleaning jewelry periodically. Solutions require dipping jewelry in a bowl filled with the mixture, while foams require scrubbing with a small brush, and pastes require hardening before being rinsed off. If you are unsure about how your necklace, pin, earrings, or bracelets will react to the cleaning agent, feel free to try it on a small area before completing the process. Keep track of products that work especially well for your jewelry so that they are easy to locate in the future.

10. Make Your Own Cleansers

Rather than buying cleaning agents off the shelf, there are lots of recipes for making your own. Baking soda, salt, and water can be combined in a variety of ratios to clean pieces without gemstones. After cleaning, dry your jewelry with a microfiber cloth rather than paper towels in order to avoid any scratches.

11. Avoid Contact with Other Products

Whenever possible, avoid getting makeup or hair products on your jewelry. Conditioners, shampoos, gels, mousses, and hairsprays often contain different chemicals that can cause the metals in different necklaces, bracelets, and earrings to react in different unwanted ways. Taking the time to apply any makeup or hair products before putting jewelry on is typically the easiest way to circumvent any issues.

Remembering these tips will help to prevent any jewelry pieces from tarnishing, whether they are made from sterling silver, gold, or a mix of lots of different metals. When in doubt, ask your local jeweler about the best way to care for your favorite pieces. Anything you are able to do in order to avoid moisture or oxygen will help to preserve your necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.

Already found rust on your jewelry? Send it to us for a quick de-rust ready for your newly learned cleaning skills.

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Was wondering but has anyone ever used clear gel top coat on costume jewellery pieces before instead of using clear nail polish before? Pls reply and what happened


works just as good

Monkey Magic

yessir you alreay know the vibes baby


Okay, so if you put the clear coat of nail polish on a necklace will it stiffen the necklace or damage it? Please let me know.


can we use clear glue to coat the jewelry?


I don’t suggest that! I would say get it plated to protect it from tarnishing.


What if I use baby oil on the necklace


I definitely don’t suggest baby oil! It may ruin the finish to your piece!


I got a good bracelet a few days ago but it’s already starting to rust. How do I stop it from fully rusting.


You have to keep it away from any sort of moisture!

freddy joe

well that’s informative and thanks for the share!!!!

amy smith

well that’s interesting, thanks for the share!!


If i apply a coat of clear nail polish to my alloy necklace will it damage it ? And if i aply perfume will the nail polish prevent rusting??


Hi There, a coat of clear nail polish shouldn’t damage your piece!


So if I just put in like piercing lotion on my earrings would that stop it?


Hey, if I apply clear nail polish to rings will it stop them from rusting/going green


It can help but it’s a temporary solution!


is there a way to stop it permanently?


There is not, unfortunately, however a clear layer of “e-coating” will last longer than nail polish. Please submit an inquiry for further details, as pricing & feasibility will be specific to your piece 🙂


How do you stop a chain from justin

Adam Rich

Hey, thanks for the tips. Just tried them and happy with the result.

Dhuha Najajra

Can I use mod podge?