How To Clean Mother of Pearl

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If you love pearls, you would surely be interested in the mother of pearls as well. This is because they are the ones due to which the pearl jewelry exists in the first place. The mother of pearl is organic; thus, it requires constant cleaning and care. Hence it is essential to know how to clean the mother of pearl.

How To Clean Mother Of Pearl

The mother of pearls is one of the most durable pieces of jewelry, but the organic nature of the substance might result in some discoloration if not handled with care. Thus in this article, we will discuss various steps and methods to keep the mother of pearl in the best shape.

Why Does The Mother Of Pearls Need Cleaning?

Pearls and mother of pearls are considered as one of the most elegant parts of female jewelry. But this jewelry item is highly sensitive and starts to deteriorate if they are not taken care of. So now we will discuss a few reasons why the mother of pearls needs cleaning.

Pearl inside an open oyster
  • One should always wipe the mother of pearls after they are done wearing them, as it will keep the natural luster of the jewelry alive.
  • The mother of pearls 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.
  • Mother of pearls is always advised to wear after spraying the perfumes as it will damage the shell.

By reading the above points, you might have understood how sensitive the mother of pearls is. Therefore, it is essential to keep it with care and maintenance to keep the beauty of the jewelry alive with time.

Materials Required

Before moving on to the cleaning process, let us get the ingredients required to keep the cleaning process of the mother of pearls seamless and easy.

Here is the list of materials required for cleaning your jewelry made up of mother of pearls:

  • First, a soft cotton cloth or a microfiber cloth to wipe the 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 The Mother Of Pearls

As we have talked about above, the mother of pearls is one of the most sensitive jewelry available in the market, thus to avoid any type of accidents while cleaning, it is essential to discuss the things to avoid while cleaning the mother of pearls.

  • Using any type of dishwashing liquids, liquid soaps, 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 for cleaning mother of pearls unless it is highlighted on the product that it is safe to be used on mother of pearls.

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

Before moving on to the cleaning process, it is essential to check your jewelry.

For example, 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.

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.

If everything seems right after following the above steps, you are good to proceed with the cleaning.

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 the cleaning; you need to start wiping the mother of pearls and then proceeding to further steps.

  1. Take a bowl and add some lukewarm water to it. Now take a soft cotton cloth and dip it into the bowl.
  2. Now gently wipe the mother of pearls with the damp cotton 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 cotton 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 cotton cloth and clean the shell dry.

Make sure you wipe the jewelry well; there should be no residue of soap left into the mother of pearls, as it may start damaging the jewelry once you store it.

Step 3: Drying The Mother Of Pearls

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

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 pearls 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.
  3. Make sure the clasp is closed; otherwise, it might damage the shell of the mother of pearls.
Pearl necklace

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

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

Step 4: Storing The Mother Of Pearls Correctly

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

Thus here are some pointers for storing the mother of pearls correctly after cleaning and drying.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Way To Describe The Mother Of Pearls?

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

How Can One Process The Mother Of Pearls?

Finding the mother of pearls is not an easy job, for making the mother of pearls, the beads are cut out from the natural sea shell and are then dipped into the powder of the mother of pearls with several other coloring agents. This process makes them beautiful to be used in jewelry.

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, the mother of pearls 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 and pearl jewelry might be one of the prettiest jewelry items in the market, but it requires constant care and cleaning to keep it in the best shape and prolong its life. Unfortunately, cleaning the mother of pearls is not that big of a task; thus, try to maintain a routine for your pearl jewelry if you want to look your best while wearing them in a sophisticated event.