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We have received an email or two over time about how some of our African Vinyl Disc Beads are authentically gritty (ahem: dirty). As they are one of my favorite materials to work with right now, I decided to test out a few different cleaning methods and determine which works best.

First up was a good ol’ soaking in warm water and dish soap followed by a rinse in a strainer. It removed a lot of dirt but still left the beads looking a bit dull.

Second I tried a few in the utensil bin of my dishwasher. Unfortunately the extreme heat warped them after drying for the full cycle.

Thirdly I constructed a pouch out of cheese cloth and a rubber band and threw them in the front-loader with a load of laundry. This worked pretty well but for the smaller vinyl discs I can see them working a hole into the cheese cloth and escaping.

Finally, and the winner in my book, is to put them in an air tight container with warm water, a small amount of dish soap, a drop or two of essential oils (I use grapefruit oil), some lemon juice and a generous amount of table salt. Just shake vigorously and rinse and repeat until the water stays clear and the beads shine.

Does anyone else have any tips or tricks for cleaning and polishing your most-loved beads?

Please note: we cannot guarantee these results for all bead materials, but we did have success with the African vinyl disc beads.

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