Monday, November 9, 2009

Jewelry making tip #7, cleaning vintage glass beads

I love vintage glass beads, especially yummy Austrian crystals from the fifties. Nothing shines like those little suckers, I'll tell you. But sometimes when you get older beads, they're a bit gunky with hairspray and fifty years of mystery ick. You know what cleans them up quickly? Vinegar! Yup, take those beads, put them in a glass measuring cup with some white vinegar ($1.00 at the Dollar Store!) and water, and let them soak for a few hours. Rinse them off, dry them with a soft towel, and watch them sparkle.
This will work with all loose vintage glass beads. I wouldn't stick any whole pieces of jewelry in vinegar, because it might do bad things to metal, or eat away the glue that secures any rhinestones. Also, a big no no for pearls of any kind. It will eat the pearly coating off of glass pearls, and delicate real pearls should only be cleaned with a professional pearl cleaning solution. The same with most gemstones, any metal and porcelain. Only loose glass beads.


  1. Thank you! I recently got a bunch of seedbeads off some very, very old evening gowns that had been cut to peices and stuck in a bag of material given to me. I used hot water and a mild dish soap just because I didn't know what else to try without hurting the beads. Next time I know thanks to your post.