Jewelry & Watches
A Jewelry Lover’s Guide on How to Clean Sterling Silver
If you’re a jewelry lover, sterling silver is probably one of your go-to’s for both everyday wear and special occasions. Throw it on and you’re ready to go.
But, have you ever opened your jewelry box only to find that your favorite silver necklace looks dirty and discolored? The tarnish is harmless, but it might make you want to wear something else instead.
Luckily, you can rescue your favorite jewelry with a few simple cleaning methods. Keep reading to find out how to clean sterling silver.
Make Sure It’s Sterling Silver
Before you can clean sterling correctly, you need to be able to recognize it. If it has a marking that says 925, it’s sterling silver. You can also spot sterling if it’s very tarnished or sounds high-pitched when you tap on it.
Sterling silver is an alloy, which means it’s a combination of several metals. The most common type for jewelry is 92.5% silver mixed with copper and sometimes nickel. These extra metals make sterling silver stronger and more scratch-resistant, but it also makes it more likely to tarnish.
Polish and Wash It
If your jewelry is in fact sterling, you can try polishing it first. Use a microfiber cloth or a special cloth for silver. Use side to side motions that match the direction of the grain.
If that doesn’t remove much of the tarnish, you can use soap and water. Fill a glass with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap or baby soap. Let your jewelry soak in the water for five minutes, then brush it with a clean toothbrush.
Then, use a soft microfiber cloth (the same one you used for polishing) to rub the jewelry dry. This method is safe enough for fine jewelry or pure silver.
Try a Commercial Silver Cleaner
For a quick way to clean your silver, you can try a cleaning solution that’s specially formulated for silver. You can typically find this cleaner at most drugstores, but know that it has a very strong smell.
Make sure to read the instructions on the jar first, but most times you’ll dip the jewelry in the cleaner for a few minutes.
How to Clean Sterling Silver with Pantry Staples
You can also try several at-home cleaning methods to remove tarnish. No matter the method you choose, finish by rinsing and drying the jewelry with a soft cloth.
One method is to make a thick paste of two tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of water. Rub the paste on your jewelry, rinse it off, and use a soft cloth to dry it.
Another method is to combine a teaspoon of olive oil and a half cup of lemon juice. Dip a soft cloth in the solution and rub it onto the jewelry.
You can also mix two tablespoons of baking soda with a half cup of vinegar. Soak your silver for a few hours, then rinse and dry.
Restore Your Silver Jewelry Today
With the right cleaning products and care, you can restore the shine of your sterling silver jewelry. Once you know how to clean sterling silver, it will look great for years to come.
To keep it tarnish-free, wear your sterling as often as possible and store it in a dry place away from
sunlight. It’s also best to skip silver if you’re going swimming or cleaning with chemicals.
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