Of all the precious metals used in jewelry, white gold is the most susceptible to yellowing. White gold jewelry is coated with the element rhodium, a silver metal used to give the jewelry its white appearance. When white gold jewelry begins to yellow with age and wear, this is actually the rhodium wearing off. White gold’s luster can be restored using a few household products.
Select a very soft brush to use for cleaning. A brush that is too abrasive will further damage the white gold.
Mix together a few drops of dish detergent and water. Run the detergent mixture over the jewelry, then gently scrub the brush over the yellowed areas.
Rinse off the jewelry and brush.
Dip the jewelry in a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Gently brush the alcohol into the yellowed areas. Do not use rubbing alcohol on pearl jewelry.
Dry and buff the white gold with a soft cloth.
If yellowing is severe, take the white gold jewelry to a jeweler to be recoated with rhodium. Many jewelers offer this service for free or for a small fee. Clean your white gold jewelry regularly to avoid further yellowing.
Do not polish white gold with a toothbrush, as is done with gold jewelry. A toothbrush’s abrasiveness will affect the rhodium coating. Professional polishing will remove some of the metal from your jewelry. It is recommended that white gold be polished only once.