How to Clean Antique Beads

by on November 6, 2009


People often ask us how to clean and maintain their antique beads and trade beads. Because antique beads can often be as old as several hundreds of years old, collectors must be very careful and precise in the way that they clean them, especially with african beads, which may have a layer of dirt or dust causing a matte finish.

Here are some basic instructions on how to clean your old beads:

  1. Do not take the beads off the string. You can clean them quicker this way, and besides, it’s nice to preserve them in their original form.
  2. Fill a tub or bucket with hot water. Add a little bit of soap and stir.
  3. Place the strand of antique beads in the tub, and let them sit for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Grab a soft cloth and rub the beads to get the dirt off.
  5. Take the strand out, and flush it with warm water in the sink.
  6. Use a soft washcloth to dry the antique beads off.

That’s all – you’re done! Some people also like to rub mineral oil on the beads afterwards, but this can often take away the beads’ antique look. Mineral oil makes old beads shiny and new, so use at your own discretion.

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