How to Clean Silver Jewelry | Ways To Keep Your Beloved Pieces Sparkling Clean

Silver jewelry is one of the latest statement makers in the fashion industry. If you own silver necklaces, bracelets, rings, or any other ornament, learning to keep them sparkling clean is one of the arts you need to know. These lovely accessories tarnish when exposed to moisture and air for an extended period.

A chemical reaction produces black tarnish when silver jewelry is exposed to air. Fortunately, a thorough cleaning will restore its luster, and the process is simple. Furthermore, the majority of the cleaning supplies you require are readily available.  

Different silver pieces call for different jewelry cleaning techniques depending on their purpose and how frequently you use them. This guide will help you learn how often to clean jewelry at home to restore its shine without damaging it.

Silver jewelry in a cup with water on a table

A Sterling Silver Jewelry

The silver pieces in your drawer are most likely made from sterling silver, not pure silver. Sterling silver contains approximately 9.25% of copper, which helps in making it stronger than pure silver. To identify if your jewelry is sterling plated, look for a mark written 925/1000, 9.25, s/s, sterling, or sterling 9.25. The copper in silver jewelry contributes to its black tarnish.

What Is the Best Home Remedy to Clean Tarnished Silver Jewelry?

Silver requires gentle cleaning. Therefore, using a mild soap or baby shampoo will do the trick. You should also purchase a silver cloth for wiping your jewelry after washing.

Materials Needed  

  • A mild soap, e.g., mild dishwashing soap or baby shampoo
  • A soft bristle brush
  • Warm water
  • A bowl
  • A silver polishing cloth or microfiber towel
Cleaning a silver bracelet

Steps in Cleaning Silver Jewelry 

  1. In a small bowl, add mild soap to warm water. Stir until you have bubbles.
  2.  Insert your silver jewelry in the solution and leave it for 5 minutes.
  3. Using a soft bristle brush, brush off any crevices.
  4.  Remove it from the soapy water and rinse with clean, cool water
  5.  Dry it by gently rubbing it with a silver cloth or a microfiber towel. Always avoid using tissues or paper towels as they can scratch your jewelry.

You can also use this method to clean other precious gems.

How Do You Remove Tarnish From Jewelry?

Here are easy DIY methods to disinfect and clean your jewelry to a magnificent shine. 

Using Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda is not suitable for cleaning soft metals, silver-plated jewelry, or other soft gems. It has an abrasive texture that can scratch your delicate jewelry, and you need to be extra careful when using the paste on your silver valuables:

  1. Combine baking soda and water to form a thick paste.
  2. Using a soft cloth, apply it gently through your jewelry.  
  3. Give it time to dry. 
  4. Rinse with warm water.
  5.  Wipe it with a silver cloth or microfiber towel to dry.
Baking soda with a spoon

Using a Mixture of Vinegar and Baking Soda

  1. Mix vinegar and baking soda in a ratio of 1:1 in a bowl
  2. Gently apply the paste using a soft cloth.
  3.  Let the jewelry soak in the paste for one hour or until the paste dries completely.
  4.  Rinse with warm water and wipe to dry

Using Distilled White Vinegar

You can also use distilled white vinegar to clean jewelry. It is excellent for cleaning the jewelry’s grooves and stones, bringing back its sparkle.

  1. Using a bowl, combine water and distilled vinegar, then stir.
  2. Dip your silver jewelry inside the solution and soak for 30 minutes
  3. Use your soft toothbrush to brush while focusing on the remaining tarnish.
  4. Rinse with warm water and dry it with your silver cloth or microfiber towel
Vinegar with a sponge and a spray

A Mix of Lemon and Olive Oil

Lemon and olive oil come in handy when you want to retain that sparkle in your jewelry. It is readily available in many homes and affordable too.

  1. Mix a half cup of lemon juice with two spoons of olive oil in a bowl
  2. Insert your jewelry inside and leave it for 15 minutes
  3.  Using microfiber clothing, wipe the jewelry until it shines
  4.  Rinse with warm water
  5. Wipe with a polishing cloth or a microfiber towel to dry
Lemon and oil in little bottles

Using Toothpaste to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry

Your everyday toothpaste is suitable for cleaning jewelry. However, ensure that it is not the whitening toothpaste. Also, do not use this method on silver-plated jewelry. It is strictly for sterling silver jewelry.

  1. Apply toothpaste to your jewelry
  2. Leave it for 30 minutes.
  3.  Using a soft brush, gently brush the jewelry until you remove all the black tarnish.
  4.  Rinse with cool water
  5.  Air dry or wipe with a silver cleaning cloth to clean silver jewelry.
Cleaning silver necklace with a toothbrush and toothpaste

How to Clean Your Silver Rings

An all-silver ring may last longer when frequently worn and maintain its sparkle due to friction. However, stored rings or those that you do not wear frequently can quickly tarnish. 

Using mild soap should be enough to clean these rings. However, if the black tarnish does not come out, use the above DIY methods. Do not use baking soda while cleaning silver-plated rings.

Silver rings might have additional gemstones, pearls, turquoise, or precious metals that could be affected by these methods. Be careful when using baking soda on soft metals and silver-plated rings. Avoid using vinegar if your jewelry has porous rock additions, as it is a strong corrosive on porous stones. 

Cleaning a silver ring

How to Clean Your Silver Chains That Turned Black

Chains, earrings, and bracelets are particularly vulnerable because they come into contact with moisturizers, sweat, and perfumes. Over time your jewelry becomes smelly and accumulates dirt. The silver quickly tarnishes when it comes into contact with these elements

Luckily, you can clean silver earrings, chains, or necklaces using the same methods in cleaning any other jewelry. Also, remember that not all methods work on silver-plated chain necklaces. For example, do not use baking soda on an all-silver chain.

Sometimes all the efforts in using DIY may not bear fruit because the tarnish on silver results from sulfur reacting with silver and creating hydrogen sulfide. In this case, use aluminum foil to remove sulfur atoms from the silver jewelry.

  1.  Line the whole bowl with aluminum foil, putting the shiny side facing upwards
  2.  Fill it with hot boiling water.
  3. Add 3 spoons of vinegar, and a ¼ cup of baking soda, then stir until you see bubbles.
  4. Place your chain or necklaces inside the bowl
  5. Let it soak for 10 minutes
  6.  Remove and check if all the tarnish is gone; if not, you can use your soft bristle toothbrush to scrub.
  7. Remove and dry using a silver cloth or microfiber cloth.
Cleaning silver necklaces

How Do You Make Silver Sparkle Again?

The only way to make your silver sparkle again is by cleaning. Use warm water, a soft cloth, and mild soap to bring back the sparkle.

Furthermore, most DIY methods mentioned above can help bring back the sparkle, as long as you do not destroy them with baking soda or vinegar. However, if they do not help, take off your jewelry and leave it to professional silver cleaners.

How to Prevent Silver From Tarnishing

It is almost impossible to prevent tarnish completely. But, there are ways of preventing them from losing their shine faster. Here are some helpful tips to follow;

  • Do not wear your jewelry when bathing or swimming in chlorinated water.
  • Store in areas that are not hot or humid.
  • Buy china cabinets; they are ideal for storing jewelry. A flannel-coated bag can also come in handy in keeping your silver jewelry.
  • Put on your jewelry after moisturizing and applying perfume.
  • Tuck a piece of chalk in your cabinet or storing bag to absorb moisture.
  • Wear your silver jewelry quite often. Friction reduces the chances of tarnishing. Therefore, the more you wear it, the longer it maintains its shine.  
  • Do not expose your silver jewelry to air or moisture; always wrap it in cloth while storing or using a zip lock bag. 
  • You can also add some silica sachets to your jewelry box. The silica will help in absorbing moisture. 
Putting silver ring in a water

Maintain the Dazzle in Your Silver Jewelry Easily

Silver jewelry is easy to maintain. You only need to clean and sterilize it using easy home tips to maintain its shine. Also, removing jewelry frequently will help in keeping them for longer. Wrap silver jewelry with a soft cloth and add silica to absorb moisture and air when storing.

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