How to take care of silver jewellery: Sterling silver care tips
Sterling silver is a widely popular choice for jewellery for its affordability and malleability. It also looks amazing on everyone! However, to keep your silver in like-new condition, it needs to be taken care of regularly.
In this post, we are sharing our top tips to take care of your sterling silver jewellery so you can preserve its appearance for many years to come. We’re covering how to prevent your silver jewellery from tarnishing, how to store it properly and also tips on how to clean it when it does get tarnished.
One of the drawbacks of sterling silver is that it tarnishes
Sterling silver is an alloyed metal which is normally made up of 92.5% pure silver (where the .925 comes from!) and other metals. Due to its composition, it can tarnish quickly as the metals react to oxygen in the air and other chemicals like sulphur that it may come into contact with. It also tarnishes when exposed to chlorine, sulphur, humidity, sweat, cosmetics and cleaning product.
If you one day open your jewellery box and are horrified by the sight of dirty dark looking jewellery, fret not! There is no need to panic or throw it away, it can be restored to its former glory.
How to prevent tarnishing
Here are tips for preventing or slowing down the tarnishing process and also tips on how to clean it when it does become tarnished.
- Wear your jewellery all the time: Do you notice that the silver jewellery you wear all the time doesn’t tarnish but the pieces that are neglected in the wardrobe do? The natural oils in our skin help to keep silver clean and shiny. Therefore, a great tip to keep silver clean is to simply wear it!
- Remove silver jewellery when doing household chores:This includes cleaning, dishes, laundry etc. The chemicals found in cleaning products such as sulphur, chlorine and rubber will accelerate the tarnishing process. Always try to remember to take it off before getting to work
- Keep silver out of direct sunlight:Before you head outside to soak up some vitamin D, do your jewellery a favour and leave it somewhere in the shade. Also, avoid having a jewellery stand in a spot that is exposed to direct sunlight. Sunlight can also cause silver to tarnish.
- Put your jewellery on last: The chemicals in creams, makeup, perfume etc speed up the tarnishing process. Reduce your jewellery’s contact with those chemicals by putting it on after all of the lotions and potions.
- Take your jewellery off when exercising, using a sauna or hot yoga and cooking:Perspiration causes tarnishing and steam and humidity produced when cooking can also speed up the tarnishing process
- Keep your silver jewellery as dry as possible: Pure water is safe for silver jewellery, however, most of the water that comes out of the tap isn’t purified and contains chemicals that can cause it to tarnish and look dull. It’s not the end of the world to shower with silver on but it’s best to remove it. Always take it off before going into chlorinated pools and hot pools or give it a good rinse afterwards. Hot springs are the worst for silver jewellery because they contain sulphur, if you wear silver in a hot spring it will tarnish straight away so always remove it.
How to store silver jewellery to prevent tarnishing
Oxygen is one of the main culprits of tarnishing, which makes it so hard to avoid! To prevent tarnishing is it important to not just leave your silver jewellery in a drawer, on a nightstand or in an open trinket or jewellery box as it will be sure to start tarnishing quickly, especially if you don’t wear it often. Here are our silver storage tips:
- Store silver jewellery in an air-tight container: Keep the oxygen out with zip lock bags or speciality air-tight jewellery bags
- Keep jewellery in a cool dark place: To avoid sunlight, heat and moisture which all accelerate tarnishing
- Don’t store several pieces together: This tip is more to prevent your jewellery from scratching causing damage or getting tangled. This is important due to the soft nature of silver which is easily scratched.
- Invest in anti-tarnish trips or cloths: You line your jewellery box with anti-tarnish strips or cloth to help prevent tarnishing. These cloths help to absorb sulphur and moisture to prevent tarnishing
- Don’t store in paper or cardboard boxes: These jewellery boxes may contain sulphur which can lead to an acceleration in tarnishing
- Put chalk in your jewellery box: Chalk will help to absorb the moisture in your jewellery box which will slow down the tarnishing process
- Put silica packs in your jewellery box: Every time you buy something new such as clothes, shoes, or even some food, check for silica bags. Instead of throwing them out, put them in your jewellery box as they will absorb moisture!
Cleaning tips for when your silver when is tarnished
Even if you follow all of the above tips, you will still likely end up with slightly tarnished and dull silver over time. Or perhaps you already have a collection of silver jewellery in dire need of a clean. Here are our tips for cleaning silver that won’t cause damage and will help your silver last a lifetime.
- Soap and water:The first port of call for cleaning silver should be soap and water or dishwashing liquid and water. This method of cleaning is the most gentle and should be the first thing you try to get your silver sparkling new.
- Baking soda and water: Create a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water. Apply to a cloth or old toothbrush and gently polish or scrub the jewellery.
- White vinegar and baking soda: When your jewellery is heavily tarnished this method is more effective at cleaning. Soak your jewellery in 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Leave for two to three hours.
- Polish after cleaning:Purchase a silver polishing cloth and give your silver a good polish after you have cleaned it with one of the above methods. Have it look brand new!
- Clean your jewellery regularly: The more you let tarnish build-up, the harsher you have to be to get it clean. So maintain your precious pieces by regularly giving them some attention.
There are other methods and products you can use to get silver clean fast, however, these can compromise the longevity of the silver so we recommend these more natural gentle methods for keeping your silver nice and clean!
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