Grubby Glass Beads? Get them Gleaning Again

By: Barocio Feirer

Making jewellery is a great past-time to get into. There is a wide variety of glass beads to choose from and wires that are very easy to work into beautiful pieces of handmade jewellery. A plastic container is great to store your materials while you are working.

But one day you discover that your glass beads are getting dirty and grubby. Your beads can get dirty from sweat and dirt that accumulates on the surface. This can ultimately result in them looking dull and cloudy from being worn or stored in dirty containers. Your shiny glass beads are now looking dull and lifeless.

They are unfit to be worn or sold as they are, so what should you do now?

Before you begin

You can do a number of things to get those grubby glass beads shiny and looking new.

Take them out of the storage containers or bags and give the containers a good wash. Scrub with soap and water with a gentle hand of the wash cloth or sponge, and let the container air dry. If you have been putting your jewellery creations on display, take them down carefully and give the surfaces a good wipe with the most appropriate cleaner or a good multi-purpose cleaner.

If you don't have those on hand, soap and water should be safe for most display surfaces. Whilst the containers are drying, you can sort out your dirty glass beads into a "to clean" pile. Leave the ones that look alright in a separate pile, unless you want to be thorough and clean all of them, but that isn't necessary.

Easy methods to clean glass beads

? An easy method is to take a bottle of multi-purpose glass cleaner, and gently rub on a few glass beads at a time with a paper towel that has been sprayed with the glass cleaner. Place them on a plate or secure area to dry whilst you clean the next batch.
? If that method takes too long for your huge supply of beads, get a large bowl and fill it with lukewarm water and a good splash of ammonia. Soak your loose beads all at once in the bowl for a good half an hour or so and then carefully drain the water. There are wire mesh strainers you can purchase to make this process easier. Then re-fill the bowl with just water to rinse, and lay out your beads on a towel that has been laid out to dry. It is important that you do not use this method to clean glass beads that have wire on them since the ammonia may damage the fragile wires and ruin your jewellery.
? For a safer bulk washing method, you can use the process above but replace the ammonia with any dish soap. You can wash your already made jewellery containing glass beads in this way. Use a soft scrub brush like an old toothbrush to carefully scrub out debris. Rinse your jewellery carefully, and lay them out on a towel and let them air dry.
? For glass beads that have been sewn on clothing or accessories, such as purses, you can soak a cotton ball or square cloth in rubbing alcohol and carefully rub to clean the area, and let air dry.

Good As New!

These suggestions should help clean most of your glass beads easily and without spending a lot of time. Be sure to regularly clean your glass bead collection and remember to clean wire jewellery with the dish soap method and not ammonia, which may damage your jewellery. Return the beads to their dry containers and display areas and let them shine, as good as new.

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Despite looking absolutely fantastic most of the time; glass beads can become incredibly grubby when in storage. This article details just a small selection of the methods that could be employed to clean dirty beads.

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