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If you’re anything like me, you love your Alex and Ani bracelets. There’s nothing better than showing off your favorite bangles and creating a signature look. Whether you stack them or only wear a few at a time, the inevitable is bound to happen at some point. They’ll get dirty.
If you’re desperate to keep your Alex and Ani bracelets clean, this guide will tell you when and how to clean them. We’ll also cover how to store them and keep them from getting too dirty or tarnished, even if you wear them all the time.
About Alex and Ani
The unique thing about Alex and Ani bracelets is that they’re made of recycled material, making them an eco-friendly jewelry choice. Alex and Ani use a combination of copper and silver metal recovered from discarded items.
There’s an old belief that copper has healing properties, and Alex and Ani chose to work with copper to promote this idea. Your skin absorbs copper through your pores as you wear it and some people believe that it can positively stimulate your immune system.
Copper is also believed to attract positive energy, which makes these fantastic accessories for everyone.
Alex and Ani also donates a portion of their profits to charity. They’ve partnered with nonprofit organizations around the world, and their Charity By Design collection promotes this idea. All you have to do is pick your cause and shop. They’ll donate a portion of the proceeds to the charity you chose.
These bracelets are easily some of the most customizable because of the variety of options available. They have a signature expandable design without a clasp that makes them easily fit on any wrist. Plus, the endless number of symbolic pendants and range of color makes them a breeze to stack.
Alex and Ani is a recognizable name with affordable jewelry and meaningful messages. The company is extremely transparent and their items are widely available. They continue to grow in popularity among men and women.
Alex and Ani Materials
We already know these bracelets are made from recycled silver and copper. Alex and Ani uses an alloy of these two metals, which is what makes them durable and gives them their wide range of color.
In some cases, they plate the bracelets in Rafelian gold or silver to increase the variety of color or control the outcome of the bracelet more closely. This coating is specific to Alex and Ani bracelets and was created in honor of the founder. You won’t find it anywhere else.
Though Alex and Ani uses the purest 92.5% silver, they add copper to strengthen it. Without copper, the silver would be too soft to work with and the resulting bracelet would bend easily during wear.
However, there are collections like the Precious Metal Collection that are a bit different. These are made with a silver base and coated in 14 karat gold or rose gold.
All Alex and Ani bracelets come with a thin layer of anti-tarnish, keeping them shiny for longer, but that doesn’t mean they don’t tarnish at all.
Unfortunately, you may experience some tarnish on your Alex and Ani bracelets, and this will be especially true for people who wear them regularly. As these bracelets are exposed to elements in the air, they can oxidize, which causes tarnishing.
Alex and Ani is upfront about this and they know it’s a possibility. In fact, this is a very real possibility, no matter what kind of jewelry you wear. Over time, without proper care, all jewelry is subject to discoloration.
If you use skincare products with oils in them or you use things like makeup and perfume, this can accelerate the process of tarnishing. You should always put your jewelry on after you’ve applied these other items.
You also shouldn’t wear your bracelets in the shower or while swimming, although many people wear theirs all the time. You can wear them all the time, but you should be prepared to have to clean them more often.
The beautiful thing about Alex and Ani bracelets is that even with tarnishing, they still look great. Tarnishing gives them a vintage look and a new shade that you may like even better than the original.
Cleaning Alex and Ani Bracelets
If you don’t love the tarnish, you can clean your bracelets to remove it. Alex and Ani bracelets come with a soft cloth you can use to clean them and cleaning is rather simple. However, there are three different ways you can clean them, so we’ll cover them all.
If you clean your bracelet at least once a month, all you need to do is wipe it down with the cleaning cloth it came with. This is enough to wipe away thin layers of dirt and keep oxidation at bay.
Soap and Water
If your bracelet still isn’t clean enough, you can use soap and water. Alex and Ani recommends that you clean your bracelets with a mild dish soap and warm water.
What you need:
- Soft bristled toothbrush
- Mild dish soap (like Dawn)
- Soft cloth
This is the first cleaning method you should try if your bracelets seem a bit dirty.
- Fill up a basin with warm water and add some dish soap.
- Let your bracelet soak for about 5 minutes.
- Pour a bit of soap on the toothbrush like you would toothpaste.
- Remove your bracelet from the warm water and scrub it gently with the toothbrush.
- Rinse the bracelet with cold water.
- Pat it dry with a soft cloth.
This should remove dirt and may even remove some tarnish. Be careful not to scrub your bracelet with the toothbrush too hard or it will remove some of the finish. If you have more than one bracelet, continue to let the others soak while you clean.
This may sound weird, but it really works. If your bracelets still have some tarnishing on them or they didn’t get as clean as you were hoping, you can use the ketchup method to try to get them clean.
What you need:
- Ketchup (or something else acidic, like Coke or vinegar)
- Plate or bowl
This cleaning method is very simple.
- Pour ketchup (Coke or vinegar) over your entire bracelet and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Rinse it with cold water.
You can repeat it if needed, but remember that this cleaning method is a last resort, because the acid in the ketchup can do damage over time. Cleaning your bracelets more often with soap and water will eliminate the need to take drastic measures like this one. You should also clean your bracelet again with soap and water after using the ketchup.
Caring for Alex and Ani Bracelets
Now that you know how to clean them, it’s time to set up a schedule. You need to clean them more regularly so that they stay clean and you don’t experience any tarnishing. How often you clean them will depend on how often you wear them.
You also need to store the bracelets properly when you’re not wearing them to ensure they’re protected from the elements that cause rapid wear and tear. Placing your bracelet in a box on top of some cotton will keep it dry and shiny. Make sure you remove all water before placing them in storage.
Be sure you keep your bracelet away from oil and water, unless you’re cleaning it. Oil can strip the bracelet of its anti-tarnish coating, which will quicken the aging process. Take your bracelet off before you shower or swim. It’s also a good idea to keep them off during sports or exercise.
Never soak your Alex and Ani bracelets in jewelry cleaner. It will remove the anti-tarnish coating and the abrasive cleaners can ruin the metal.
Follow these simple steps to keep your bracelet clean and shiny.
- Clean your bracelet at least once a month with the cleaning cloth. If it needs it more often, do it more often.
- If that doesn’t clean it well enough, use soap and water.
- Care for your bracelet before you see signs of tarnishing to eliminate the need for abrasive or unnecessary cleaning.
Here are some additional tips for how regularly you need to clean your bracelets:
- If you wear them every day, wipe them down at night or every other night to get the day’s dirt off. You can then clean with soap and water once a month or less.
- If you wear your bracelets regularly, but not every day, you should wipe them down after you wear them and store them properly. You may only have to clean them with soap and water twice a year.
- If you wear your Alex and Ani bracelets very seldom, you can simply wipe them down after wearing them and store them properly. It’s likely that you’ll never have to do any other cleaning unless you increase your frequency of wear.
If you’re hesitant to clean your Alex and Ani bracelets or you’re having trouble getting them clean, you’re not alone. These frequently asked questions should help you learn a little bit more about why Alex and Ani is special.
Question: Why did my Alex and Ani bracelets tarnish?
Answer: Because these bracelets are made from a copper alloy, they will experience oxidation when exposed to certain elements. The more you wear them, the greater the chances of oxidation. That’s why cleaning is so important. Oxidation causes tarnishing, but if you clean them like you should, it’s less likely to happen, even if you wear them every day.
Alex and Ani is very upfront about this possibility, and that’s why they include a cleaning cloth with every bracelet. Using it after each wear will remove dirt and other elements that could cause your bracelet to tarnish.
Question: Can you wear Alex and Ani bracelets in the shower?
Answer: It’s not recommended that you wear Alex and Ani bracelets in the shower, while swimming, or while doing other physical activities. Moisture will increase the speed at which your bracelet oxidizes. If it does get wet, pat it dry with a cloth and make sure all moisture is gone before storing it.
If you do wear your bracelets during these activities, you’ll need to be more diligent about keeping them clean.
Question: What is so special about Alex and Ani?
Answer: Alex and Ani bracelets are best known for their signature tightening mechanism. There’s no clasp on these bracelets. They simply slip on the wrist and tighten. This looped tightening mechanism has been adopted by other jewelers as well.
Question: Can you engrave Alex and Ani?
Answer: Alex and Ani is also very customizable. They do engraving and you can submit any picture up to size 8.5 x 11 and they’ll put it on a charm. This makes every Alex and Ani bracelet unique and you can create your own signature look.
Question: Can charms be added to Alex and Ani bracelets?
Answer: Because the bracelet doesn’t open, you can’t add charms. The bracelets are meant to be stacked, so each bracelet only has one charm. You can have custom charms made and put on bracelets when you order them.
When cleaning your Alex and Ani bracelets, make sure you’re doing it as often as needed and that you’re doing it in a way that doesn’t damage your bracelet. The best way to clean them is to wipe them down with the cleaning cloth provided, but if they need additional cleaning, you can use soap and water or ketchup.
Be aware that the more you have to resort to these advanced cleaning methods, the more you run the risk of removing the anti-tarnish coating, so use great care when using them.
If you care for your Alex and Ani bracelets regularly, they should remain shiny and beautiful for a long time. However, even if they do tarnish and you can’t get them clean, they look unique, aged, and vintage.