Posted in Home, Writing

Food-Stamp Kitchen Chemistry #1: Jewelry Cleaner

tattoo commentary

I don’t know the original source of this newspaper clipping, which I found (wouldn’t you know) on Pinterest, but it speaks to some of my own feelings about tattoos. I consider my own tattoos as my permanent “accessories,” or “jewelry” with stories… Though (despite my love of sailing) I hope they won’t be put to use for “identification in case of need upon Land or Sea”…

I do wear some other jewelry, though–particularly some pieces with my children’s shared birthstone, which I’ve worn for years–and I’ve been making some jewelry of my own this week, repurposed from old pieces I hadn’t been wearing…  And that brings me, in a round-about way, to the first promised installment of Food-Stamp Kitchen Chemistry: recipes for household cleaners, made from kitchen ingredients. Although we’re deeply grateful for the state assistance we currently receive in the form of Food Stamps, we’ve found ourselves, at times in the past year or so, without items like soap or shampoo–so I’m currently on a mission to test out recipes we can make for ourselves, for those items we haven’t always been able to purchase…

Of course you needn’t be in our particular financial situation to enjoy and make use of these recipes, so I’m sharing in hopes that they’ll be useful to some other folks as well. (And I would hope it goes without saying–but to head off any potential misunderstanding, please allow me to add that the jewelry in question–and for that matter, the tattoos–were paid for at a time in our life when we weren’t in need of state assistance, and didn’t expect to be…)

Enough with disclaimers–on to the good stuff! I’m still in the testing-stages with many of those recipes, but we can start with a brilliant success in this make-it-yourself jewelry cleaner!

the ingredients…

What you need:

  • a glass bowl
  • a piece of aluminum foil, big enough to cover the bowl bottom
  • 1 Tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of dish detergent
  • 1 cup of water
  • the jewelry you wish to clean–metals, gemstones, anything goes!

What to do:

  1. Heat the bowl of water for a couple minutes in the microwave.
  2. Place the aluminum foil in the bowl.
  3. Add the baking soda, salt, and dish detergent, then drop in your jewelry.
  4. Let the jewelry soak for five minutes, then rinse.

I had an old toothbrush on hand, expecting some of the rings would need some gentle scrubbing, but I didn’t even need it. All the dulling soap-and-lotion scum was gone, and even the tarnished silver was sparkling (without that horrid sulfur-smell of the commercial silver cleaners I’ve used before).  Brilliant! Literally…

cleaned jewelry
As Rain Man would say, “Very shiny, very sparkly”…

Coming soon: laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo, hair conditioner, air freshener, dishwasher detergent, and more… In the meantime, Stay Sparkly!


I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

27 thoughts on “Food-Stamp Kitchen Chemistry #1: Jewelry Cleaner

  1. You know, I used to clean my copper pots with lemon juice and salt and nothing ever worked as well. And the best hair conditioner is often diluted apple cider vinegar. Sometimes I think that these fancy cleaners I buy are just stuff in my kitchen with a marketing department.


  2. I worry more and more each year what we put into the air and onto our bodies. This is wonderful, Kana. I KNOW lots MORE can be done. Hopefully commenters will go nuts (why not share)? If I could, I wouldQ


  3. Just out of curiosity, any plans on including a recipe for hair dye? I know a guy that might be interested ;)


  4. Gosh, I’m looking forward to this series–especially the one on laundry detergent. That stuff is ridiculously expensive and we are very, very income-challenged at the moment. Great post, Kana!


  5. You won’t believe this, but I was just thinking about researching jewelry cleaner as a couple of my pieces – watch band particularly – needs it. I am going to try this for sure. Thanks Kana.


  6. It’s amazing how inventive we can be when the need arises! Good for you for doing what you have to do. I agree about the tattoo’s although many think I’m crazy I got one for my daughter on her 16th birthday.


  7. Kana, in the interests of the environment of our Mother Earth, I would support these cleaning products to be made and used in all homes, regardless of finances.


  8. This jewellery cleaning recipe is just what I need, Have been looking at the electronic vibrating cleaners (can’t remember the name!) and the chemical concoctions which I don’t want to touch for (literally) years without buying – I’m a slow mover,,, but will definitely try this. thanks! Cath.


  9. This is a wonderful idea and I can’t wait to try it. Did you know that in a pinch or a hurry toothpaste does a pretty good job of polishing silver jewelry?


  10. My father always cleaned rings by putting them in a pot on the stove and boiling them with baking soda.


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