An inexpensive alternative to gold jewelry, gold-plating is an electrochemical process that involves layering several thin strips of gold over a stronger base metal, often silver. Although gold doesn't corrode, the base metal can darken if exposed to moisture, such as excessive perspiration or if the piece is worn in a humid climate. Clean and store your gold-plated jewelry correctly to remove the dirt and oil from the piece, and prevent nicks, scratches or other severe damage.
Create a mixture of 1 cup lukewarm water and 1/4 teaspoon mild dish detergent in a small bowl. Stir the water until it suds. A mild detergent contains no dyes or perfumes and will clean the gold-plating without causing any damage.
Dampen a lint-free cloth with the soapy water and wipe down the gold-plated jewelry. Use a light hand to prevent scratching the piece or removing a layer of the gold plating. Clean any dirt, grime or debris from nooks and crannies, such as behind a setting, with a cotton swab soaked in the soapy water.
Dampen a separate lint-free cloth with plain water and wipe down the jewelry to rinse away the soapy water. Never submerge the gold-plating, especially if it features a setting, to prevent damage.
Dry the jewelry with a lint-free cloth. Set the piece on towel and allow it to air-dry overnight in a cool spot. Never use paper towels to dry the gold-plated piece. The abrasive texture might scratch the delicate plating.
Store your gold-plated jewelry in a separate drawer or compartment of your jewelry box or armoire. Protecting the piece inside a velvet bag or small plastic baggie is another option. Whatever your choice, store the piece separately to avoid scratches, chips or damage.