Originally posted on https://womenlite.com/care-sterling-silver-jewelry/
Even if you’re not a fan of the Bard, you’ve heard his famous line from the Merchant of Venice. Who knows, perhaps Shakespeare was a bit jaded. He was right about one thing when it comes to glittery objects.
All that glitters isn’t gold — it might just be silver.
Take Care Of All Your Sterling Silver Jewelry:
Silver is just as precious as gold, even if it’s not as expensive. If you love silver but rarely wear it because most of your collection looks less than lustrous, this post is for you.
All silver needs are a little tender loving care. If you love the glitter but aren’t sure how to clean sterling silver jewelry, read these tips.
Why Does Silver Tarnish?
There’s not much of a mystery behind tarnishing.
Exposure to oxygen along with the oxidation that occurs when the metals in silver react with sulfur makes it easy for silver to tarnish. High humidity can create an environment conducive to tarnishing.
Also, if your silver comes in contact with certain chemicals, it will tarnish more easily. Limit direct exposure to:
Bleach is another chemical that can cause tarnishing of silver jewelry. It’s best to remove silver rings and bracelets before using bleach. Hint: Swimming pool water contains chlorine, the primary ingredient of bleach.
Polish Your Silver Pieces
Did your grandmother own a silver tea service or sterling silver flatware?
If she did, you likely know all about the silver polishing ritual. She handed you the polishing cloth and a can of silver polish. Give your silver jewelry the same tender treatment.
You can buy the cloth and a cleaning solution at any store that sells sterling silver jewelry.
Be extremely careful about what products you use to clean your silver. Never apply any product designed to polish metal on fine jewelry. If you’re not sure whether a product is suitable, ask your jeweler.
The Baking Soda Fix
Instead of crying over tarnished silver, go to the pantry. Even kitchens belonging to girls who don’t enjoy cooking have a box or two of baking soda sitting around. You may also keep a bottle of white vinegar.
If your kitchen is short on either or both of these, make a run to the grocery store. You won’t spend more than a dollar or two.
Mix up a solution of ½ cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda. Watch it fizz for a minute and then drop your silver jewelry in. Soak for 2-3 hours. Rinse well and dry.
It’s hard to believe such a gentle cleaner can get rid of stubborn old tarnish, but it can! Now, it’s time to plan a special night out so you can show off your silver baubles.
Water and Silver
You’ve heard about the relationship between oil and water. It’s as if they have a natural dislike of each other. Water and silver don’t make good friends either, but they won’t naturally repel each other.
While this isn’t a cleaning tip, if you follow our advice, you won’t need to clean your silver pieces as often.
You can’t avoid all water when wearing silver jewelry. You can, however, avoid excessive exposure to moisture.
Take off your silver rings before washing dishes, gardening, or swimming. Don’t forget about bracelets and necklaces. Remove them before showering, and of course, don’t wear them in the pool or at the beach.
Do these tips and you’ll find your silver keeps its shimmer longer.
Speaking of moisture, have you seen the ads for miracle silver cleaners? It’s best to stay away from them. Warm water, mild detergent, and a soft toothbrush are all you need.
If you’re enticed by the ads, or a friend shares a recipe for her home-made silver cleaning solution, ask your jeweler before trying it on your precious jewelry pieces.
Silver Jewelry with Gemstones
Cleaning silver jewelry isn’t much of a challenge. Your jeweler may even give you the okay for one of the miracle cleaners. Maybe a dip or specially treated cloth.
You can also take your silver pieces to a jewelry store where a jeweler can clean them in an ultrasonic cleaner.
What do you when the setting of your sterling silver ring includes a gemstone or two? Care instructions may change at that point! Popular stones for silver settings include:
- Lapis Lazuli
Ultrasonic cleaners use heat and vibrations to clean jewelry. You shouldn’t drop any jewelry set with these gemstones in an ultrasonic cleaner. They’re brittle and prone to damage.
Check with your jeweler before you clean any silver piece for the first time, but especially if you’re cleaning gemstones as well. Most gems love a warm water bath with mild soap and a soft toothbrush. Your jeweler knows best and will help you choose the best cleaning methods for these special pieces.
What About Toothpaste?
Toothpaste is often touted as a perfectly fine cleaning solution for sterling silver. It isn’t safe for all sterling silver pieces. Toothpaste can cause damage to silver!
Many toothpaste brands contain abrasives. That’s how they remove tartar and other stains from your teeth. Those tooth polishing particles can scratch silver jewelry.
Avoid cleaning with toothpaste! Sterling silver, silver that’s highly polished, and any silver-plated pieces should not get a cleaning with toothpaste. They might feel hard and durable, but they’re soft and susceptible to scratching.
Remember, this is TLC for silver, so just buff them with the polishing cloth.
Now You Know How to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry
Go to your jewelry box, or the top of your dresser and retrieve all those beautiful silver rings, necklaces, and bracelets. Dingy isn’t a word you’ll ever use again when you talk about your silver jewelry.
Now that you know how to clean sterling silver jewelry, you have no excuses for not showing off your collection!
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