The Secret to Sparkle: Surfactants

  • Apr 17
The Secret to Sparkle: Surfactants

The Clean + Care® team loves to answer your biggest jewelry cleaning questions. One we get a lot: “how exactly does your cleaner work?” We could tell you, but then we’d have to kill you.

Not really, but our cleaners are made with trade secret formulas that clean your jewelry better than any other products in the market. While they are trade secret, we let you in on the key ingredient that makes jewelry cleaning so effortless: surfactants.

What’s a surfactant?

Great question! Surfactants, also known as surface-active agents, reduce the surface tension of water to boost the cleaning power of our liquid cleaners.

Surfactant molecules glide over the surface of your jewelry and slide under the layer of buildup, loosening oils and grime to lift them off your jewelry. This magic works without agitation or scrubbing, releasing the dirt and oils into the liquid where they eventually settle on the bottom of the jar. That gunk at the bottom is proof positive of the power of surfactants and why your jewelry is restored to full sparkle and shine.

Most of us are better about keeping our hands clean than ever before (thanks, COVID). But you have you ever wondered while sudsing those hands, “how dirty is my ring?” You may get your hands clean, but what might be lurking in your favorite jewelry?

Here’s the down and dirty truth: rings, especially those you wear every day, can get pretty dirty. Est. 1897, a UK pre-owned jewelry company, conducted a study to see just how dirty everyday jewelry can get. The results are enough to make you want to clean your jewelry all the time.

The study took swabs of rings, earrings and watches after a week of wear and analyzed it for bacteria. A variety of bacterial colonies were found to thrive in each environment. Watches were found to be the dirtiest of the pieces, followed by rings and earrings. The average person touches his or her face 16 times an hour, so keeping your hands - and your jewelry - clean helps you stay healthy.

Making a commitment to jewelry care as part of your daily health and hygiene routine is a smart way to combat the bacterial colonies making themselves at home in your bling. But what products work the best for what types of jewelry?


Keeping your watches clean can require a bit of extra care. For watches with metal bands, Clean + Care® Jewelry + Watch Cleansing Wipes make it easy to wipe away dirt and oils from metal watch bracelets and pieces that cannot safely be soaked. The Clean + Care® Ultrasonic Cleaner uses a wave frequency to clean intricate pieces, like a linked watch bracelet. Be sure to use the watch holder accessory to easily clean your watch while keeping the case safely out of the solution.



To keep your bridal or other everyday rings clean, we recommend a daily soak in a professional jewelry cleaning formula appropriate for the stones in the piece. The Clean + Care® Fine Jewelry Cleaner is perfect for gold, platinum, diamonds and other hard gemstones. For softer gemstones like emeralds, pearls and sapphires, use the Clean + Care® Gentle Jewelry Cleaner. Simply soak the piece in the cleaner for about two minutes, use the included touch-up brush to help remove any buildup, rinse and pat dry. A quick buff with a Clean + Care® Jewelry + Watch Polishing Cloth will remove any tarnish and polish it to a shine. This is an easy addition to your daily beauty and hygiene routine.

To touch up your ring while on the go, consider carrying a travel jewelry cleaning option like a Clean + Care® Jewelry Cleaning Stick or Clean + Care® Jewelry + Watch Cleansing Wipe. Either tucks easily into a purse, luggage, gym bag or desk drawer for those times you need to clean your ring away from home.


Earrings + Other Jewelry

The same products that work on watches and rings will clean your favorite earrings, necklaces and bracelets too. Always be sure to use a formula that is safe for the most delicate component of the piece. For the best results, clean using a two-step process of cleaning and polishing. Begin with a cleaning formula, stick or wipe and finish with buffing and polishing with a polishing cloth. For deeper cleaning, the Clean + Care® Ultrasonic Cleaner is ideal for cleaning intricate pieces, rings, earrings, bracelets, watches and even eyeglasses.