How To Clean Mother of Pearl

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If you love pearls, you would surely be interested in mother of pearl as a popular jewelry element. The mother of pearl is organic; thus, it requires constant cleaning and care. Hence it is essential to know how to clean mother of pearl.

How To Clean Mother Of Pearl

Mother of pearl is one of the most durable pieces and a popular jewelry element, but its organic nature might result in some discoloration if not handled with care.

Pearl inside an open oyster
  • One should always wipe the mother of pearl after they are done wearing them, as it will keep the natural luster of the jewelry alive.
  • Mother of pearl is alkaline. Thus any contact with the acidic substance can deteriorate the jewelry; hence make sure you wipe the acid off if it mistakenly falls on the jewelry.
  • Wearing mother of pearl is always advised after spraying perfumes as perfume will damage the shell.

Materials Required

  • First, soft cloth or a microfiber cloth to wipe the mother of pearl jewelry without damaging the nacre coating on the shell.
  • A small bowl of lukewarm water to loosen up the dirt and mix the liquids.
  • Mild organic liquid soap or soap flakes for cleaning the shell, similar to what you might use for cleaning tanning mitts.

Similar to cleaning lava beads, make sure you use high-quality organic soaps so that the quality of the jewelry is not compromised at any cost.

Things To Avoid While Cleaning Mother Of Pearl

  • Using any type of harsh cleaners or dishwashing liquids, liquid soaps, baking soda, or detergents can be extremely risky, as we might not be aware of the composition of the liquid and end up damaging the shell.
  • Do not use any type of jewelry cleaner unless it is highlighted on the product that it is safe to be used on mother of pearl.
  • Whatever products you decide to use while cleaning, make sure you tread all the components. Do not use any type of mild or heavy chemicals like hydrogen peroxide on the jewelry as it will lose its luster.

Step 1: Check Your Jewelry

If your jewelry has pearls along with the mother of pearls, you need to look out for certain pointers before moving on to the cleaning process

  1. Take a few minutes and check the jewelry for any loose materials or threads.
  2. If your jewelry consists of pearls, make sure the thread is tight; even if it is not tight, don’t be worried. There are knots tied after each gem to prevent the loss of pearls.
  3. Keep an eye on the silk; make sure it is not stretched with the pearls.
  4. Make sure that the clasp of the jewelry is opening and closing easily.
  5. Ideally, one should get their jewelry examined at least twice a year by a professional jeweler to ensure that it is of the best quality.

Step 2: Wiping The Mother Of Pearls

If you are proceeding to this step, that means your jewelry is strong and is in good condition to clean at home.

You do not need any strong materials to start cleaning; you need to start wiping the iridescent inner lining of the mother of pearl and then proceed to further steps.

  1. Take a bowl and add some lukewarm water to it. Now take a soft cloth and dip it into the bowl.
  2. Now gently wipe the mother of pearl with the damp soft cloth to remove dust and dirt.
  3. If it is not enough, you can also add a few drops of organic liquid soap and wipe with a soft cloth. Ensure you do not dip the jewelry into the bowl, as it may damage the silk thread.
  4. Once you have cleaned the jewelry with soap, take another piece of damp soft cloth and clean the shell dry.

Make sure you wipe the jewelry well; there should be no residue of soap left in the iridescent inner lining of the mother of pearl, as it may start damaging the jewelry and its iridescent appearance once you store it.

Step 3: Drying The Mother Of Pearl

Once you have provided the mother of pearl with a final wipe, it is time to move forward with drying the mother of pearl.

It is one of the crucial steps as you cannot let any damp particles stay on the jewelry before storing it.

Here are the steps that you need to follow:

  1. Take a piece of white cotton cloth and start to dry the mother of pearl gently. Do not apply any extra pressure, as it may damage the jewelry.
  2. Now close the clasp of the jewelry and lay it on the microfiber cloth to let it air-dry under direct sunlight.
  3. Make sure the clasp is closed; otherwise, it might damage the shell of the mother of pearl.
Pearl necklace

It is essential to let the mother of pearl dry naturally under direct sunlight, as it will ensure that the elasticity of the silk thread is regained.

Avoid storing the mother of pearl in a dry area with no air, as it will start losing its original color.

Step 4: Storing Mother Of Pearl Correctly

Once the cleaning is done, you need to store mother of pearl with proper care as it is a piece of organic jewelry and can get damaged due to minor carelessness.

Thus here are some pointers for storing mother of pearl correctly after cleaning and drying it.

  • Make sure the mother of pearl jewelry is not tangled in any way before you move forward with storing.
  • You need to use a soft cloth-lined box to store it. Jewelers recommend boxes with velvet or silk soft cloth inner lining to keep the jewelry in the best shape.
  • You have to make sure that the box is not air-tight; it needs to breathe due to its organic nature.
  • You can use jewelry racks or trees to store it.
  • Make sure you wear the mother of pearl regularly or expose it to direct sunlight to prevent it from losing its original color in any way.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Way To Describe Mother Of Pearl?

Mother of pearl is a tough and iridescent material that is believed to form the iridescent inner lining layer of mollusk shells, like pearl oysters, freshwater pearl mussels, and abalone shells. Mother of pearl is used for making buttons, and hard beads. It is also the source of nacre that make the pearls look beautiful from the outside.

Is The Mother Of Pearls Durable In Nature?

Yes, the mother of pearls is very durable because of the process they undergo for making the nacre. In addition, mother of pearl jewelry is made of strong material. Thus it does not have a cleavage; that is, it does not chip at all, making it highly durable and easy to wear as a piece of jewelry.


The mother of pearls might be the prettiest popular jewelry element on the market, but it requires constant care and cleaning to keep it in the best shape and prolong its life.