Jewelry Is The Last Thing You Put On, And The First Thing You Take Off
Before we discuss how to properly clean your sterling silver jewelry, we strongly suggest to never clean old, or extremely valuable pieces (such as heirlooms) yourself. Please take the jewelry to a professional jewelry cleaning service.
All sterling silver jewelry has to be cared for properly-regardless of if it is high end silver or not. Over time, any sterling silver jewelry exposed to air will tarnish. The moisture and sulfur in the air causes the copper to react, causing the jewelry to tarnish. If the area has high humidity and air pollution, silver has a tendency to tarnish faster.
How Pure The Silver Is Will Also Determine How Quickly The Silver Will Tarnish
The closer the silver is to 100% pure, the easier it is to bend and tarnish. Silver that is 950/.950 will tarnish at a quicker rate than 925/.925
Most Sterling Silver Jewelry Sold In Stores Today Is 92.5/.925
Some sterling silver jewelry has been intentionally oxidized for its appearance. Many people love the look, but because excessive polishing and cleaning of oxidized jewelry can cause some of the jewelry details to be lost, please clean oxidized jewelry separately.
Believe it or not, one of the best ways to help keep your sterling silver jewelry clean is to wear it. The oils from your skin can help keep the jewelry clean, and help keep its shine and brilliance.
To avoid corrosion, please do not allow your sterling silver jewelry to have any contact with:
- Skin Products (lotions etc)
- Hair Products
- Direct Sunlight
- Sulfur (such as found in wool, latex, etc)
- Chlorine (including chlorine found in pools)
- Household Cleaners/Chemicals
Polishing is acceptable for any type of sterling silver. If you don't have a special cloth made for polishing sterling silver, a microfiber or non abrasive cloth should be fine.
Avoid using tissue or paper towels to polish/clean. They may scratch the silver. Polish going back and forth-not rubbing in circles. Rubbing in circles will only highlight any scratches. Going back and forth mirror the silvers grain.
Soap and Water
Your first course of action (if polishing does not work), should be to use a phosphate free dish-washing soap, and water.
If soap and water wasn't enough to clean the sterling silver jewelry, apply a pea sized amount of baking soda with water to make a paste and gently polish the jewelry with it. You may need to employ a different tactic if your jewelry is oxidized.
You may also need to add more water to make a thinner paste if your jewelry is etched, detailed or has an engraving/stamp. A soft-bristled toothbrush can be used to reach any crevices.
When finished, rinse the jewelry with warm water before drying it with a clean cloth.
White Vinegar and Baking Soda
Baking soda and white vinegar is a non-abrasive way to remove heavy tarnishing. Mix a half cup of white vinegar with 2 tbsp. of baking soda, and soak the tarnished jewelry in it for up to three hours. Please do not just leave the jewelry in the solution. Constantly check on the soaking jewelry until it has been cleaned to your satisfaction.
Do not be alarmed if the solution creates a "fizz".
Always check with a professional jewelry cleaner before using any of the cleaning suggestions listed