A Complete Guide on How to Clean Silver Jewelry
We all love the sheen of new silver jewelry, but we also know instinctively that it won’t last forever, and silver jewelry needs to be polished and cleaned often to keep its shine.
We have several cleaning methods for you using household ingredients that will help remove any tarnish on your jewelry and restore them to its original shine and luster when you first bought them.
We tend to put off cleaning our silver jewelry because it doesn’t tarnish very quickly, and we typically wear things like earrings, rings, and necklaces every day so cleaning them seems to be a hassle.
You only have to clean these frequently worn pieces occasionally. Other pieces of fine silver will need more frequent cleaning and more vigorous scrubbing to keep clean.
With that said, let’s dive into the complete guide on how to clean silver jewelry below and the do-it-yourself methods for removing tarnish and bringing back the shine to every piece of silver jewelry.
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Guide on How to Clean Silver Jewelry
Sterling silver is the most popular form of silver jewelry on the market for everyday use. If the jewelry pieces are pure silver, these would cost much more and are typically worn on special occasions. Let’s talk about the actual metal itself quickly to understand the difference.
Sterling silver contains approximately 7.5 percent copper, which makes it stronger than pure silver. The reason sterling silver tarnishes is because of the copper in it.
Pure silver contains approximately 99.9 percent silver, which makes it much softer than sterling silver, but it also tarnishes much easier than sterling silver.
The other information to understand is sterling silver and silver-plated silver. To find out what type of silver your jewelry is, check the clasp marking that reads 925/1000, 9.25, Sterling, S/S, or Sterling 9.25.
If the bracelet or necklace you are about to buy doesn’t say this, then you know it’s silver-plated, more than likely.
Cleaning Silver With Dish Soap
Believe it or not, ordinary dish soap is a great cleaning agent. Let’s look at how to use dish soap for cleaning silver.
- Dish soap
- Bowl of warm water
- Microfiber cloth
Step 1: Place Your Silver Jewelry in Soapy Water
Find a small bowl and fill it with warm water and several drops of liquid dishwasher soap. Mix it together until you see bubbles start forming. Take your silver pieces and soak them in the solution for five to ten minutes.
Step 2: Scrub Down Your Silver Jewelry
Use a toothbrush to clean any crevices and hard-to-reach places in your jewelry, then rinse the jewelry in warm water.
Step 3: Dry Your Silver Jewelry
Once clean, dry your silver jewelry with a microfiber cloth. Don’t use paper towels because the silver can get scratched easily.
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Cleaning Silver with Baking Soda
- Baking Soda
- Microfiber cloth
Step 1: Create A Paste
Create a paste by mixing two parts baking soda with one part water. Once made, rub the paste onto the jewelry. Let the paste completely dry, and it will remove the tarnish from the ring.
Step 2: Rinse Your Silver Jewelry, Then Dry
Rinse your jewelry thoroughly, then dry it with a microfiber towel. You can do the same with cornstarch if that’s what you have around the house.
Homemade Cleaning Solutions for Silver
Lemon and Olive Oil Mixture
Make an olive oil and lemon mixture by combining one teaspoon of olive oil with ½ cup lemon juice. Take a clean cloth, dip it into the solutions, softly rub the silver until it shines, then rinse it and dry it.
Vinegar and Baking Soda Mixture
Create a vinegar and baking soda mixture using two tablespoons of baking soda and ½ cup of white vinegar. Take your silver jewelry and soak it in the mixture for two or three hours, then rinse and polish.
Use Toothpaste to Clean Your Silver
Believe it or not, toothpaste is a great cleaning agent for silver. Simply take a soft toothbrush and gently brush the diluted, non-whitening formula toothpaste over the jewelry. Make sure not to use toothpaste on silver-plated jewelry.
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Cleaning Silver Rings
When cleaning silver rings, the best method depends on what other materials, such as gemstones, turquoise, pearls, or precious metals, are included with the ring. These other materials can get damaged if not careful.
Gemstones can be harmed by vinegar, for example, and soft metals can be scratched by baking soda. And if you have pure silver, these should be cleaned by a professional.
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Cleaning Silver Necklaces
When wearing necklaces, they can get tarnished from perfumes, lotions, and perspiration from your skin. Silver sulfide is how silver gets tarnished, created from the combination of silver and sulfur atoms.
Therefore, you need to draw the sulfur atoms away from the silver so that the silver will shine once again.
What You Need
- Large bowl
- Aluminum foil
- Pan of boiling water
- 1/4 cup Baking Soda
- 2 Tbs Kosher Salt
Step 1: Prepare the Supplies
Take your aluminum foil and line a large bowl. Fill the bowl with boiling water and then add ¼ cup baking soda and two teaspoons of salt, then stir to create bubbles.
Step 2: Soak the Necklace
Simply place the silver necklace into the solution and mix it softly and let it stand for up to five minutes.
Step 3: Dry the Necklace
Once clean, remove the silver necklace from the solution and dry it with a clean cloth.
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How To Prevent Silver From Tarnishing
The trick to keeping your silver looking new is to polish it often and protect it from heat, moisture, and air. This happens by storing your silver jewelry in cool, dark places with soft, anti-tarnishing surfaces.
You can buy silica bags that soak up moisture and keep the jewelry out of the sunlight. Don’t keep your silver in the bathroom because of the water that can collect there; remove any jewelry before showering, swimming, or doing dishes.
Keeping Your Silver Jewelry Looking Brand New
Hopefully, this guide has helped you shed some light on how to keep your silver jewelry looking brand new. Whether you use the homemade methods described above, or something as simple as soap and water, cleaning your silver often will not only keep it shiny but will also help with the piece's longevity.
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