Published September 17, 2021

Best Ways to Clean your Beautiful Silver Jewelry

Have you recently spotted a beautiful silver necklace or bracelet and are wondering how difficult it would be to care for this gorgeous new piece?

Silver jewelry is extremely popular due to its sophisticated aspect, luster, durability and versatility, allowing jewelry lovers to wear their timeless pieces for any occasions from a white-tie gala to a casual dinner down the street! But if you’ve never owned silver jewelry, you might be worried about tarnish.

Well, you’re not alone.

After all, that’s one of the main concerns when it comes to adding silver jewelry to jewelry boxes. The good news is that caring for silver jewelry is as easy as doing the dishes! Ok, that doesn’t sound too exciting, but you get the idea. It’s quick and really easy to do!

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered!

In this post, we’ve listed a few tips on how to clean silver jewelry so that you can confidently purchase that piece you’ve been dreaming about ;)

Why Does Silver Jewelry Tarnish?

Sterling silver is widely used in the jewelry industry because of its durability, malleability, and strength. So much so that it has become the backbone of many stunning jewelry collections.

Sterling silver is made of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent of other metals, including copper. Now, have you ever seen these black or dark grey patches on silver jewelry like rings, earrings, or chains and thought that these looked rusty? Well, rather than being rusty, these pieces have simply been tarnished due to a basic chemical reaction. Yep, it all comes down to Science!

How you ask?

When the copper contained in sterling silver interacts with the moisture in the air, it can create corrosion leading your jewelry pieces to tarnish over time.

The great news is that this is easy to fix and, with the right steps, restoring the shine to your original pieces will only take minutes.

Commercial Jewelry Cleaning Products

Commercial Silver Cleaners

Silver cleaners are cleaning products specifically designed to clean silver items from jewelry to silverware. These can come in the form of cream, foam, or clear products.

Now, some of the commercial silver cleaners available contain harsh chemicals such as ammonia and will require you to thoroughly rinse your jewelry after using them. There’s also a risk of damaging your pieces over time, so don’t use this method too often. However, other products are made with less abrasive formulations that don’t contain harsh chemicals. As a result, they are gentler on jewelry and lessen the risk of damaging your items.

To avoid drama, make sure to carefully read the ingredient list and instructions when purchasing a silver cleaner.

Polishing Cloths

Another way to turn your tarnished silver jewelry back into gorgeous pieces is to use polishing cloths. High-quality polishing cloths are usually made of premium cotton and contain both a silver cleaner and an anti-tarnish agent.

Here again, make sure you’re not using abrasive cloths but gentle ones that will give your items a nice shine without causing any damage.

Use the compound side of the cloth to rub all areas of your item. Then, turn your cloth over and use the buffing side to massage all areas of your jewelry to remove the compound and brighten up the item. And ta-da! Your silver jewelry should look as new 😉

Note that a polishing cloth usually lasts about two years so make sure to replace it as time goes.

Not only will polishing cloths make your jewelry clean and shiny again, but they’ll also protect your beautiful pieces and slow down tarnishing in the future.

DIY Methods to Clean Your Silver Jewelry

While special silver cleaners and polishing cloths are great, you can also clean your favorite silver jewelry using a few basic ingredients you can find around the house.

Use Mild Soap and Water

If the tarnish on your jewelry is only minor, you can simply use a mild soap and some water to get rid of it.

  1. Fill a cup of water.

  2. Add a few drops of mild soap.

  3. Rub the jewelry with a soft cloth in long strokes.

  4. Rinse abundantly with warm water and dry with a soft, cotton cloth.

Note that you shouldn’t submerge jewelry pieces with inset stones. Instead, dip a soft cloth in the cup and gently wipe the item. And when selecting the soap, be careful to choose a mild soap and not a heavy degreaser.

Try a Baking Soda Paste

The baking soda paste method will not only remove tarnish, but it will also give your items a nice shine.

  1. Put three tablespoons of baking soda into a cup and add one tablespoon of water. This will produce a paste.

  2. Apply the paste onto your jewelry pieces using a soft cotton cloth and gently rub. For tricky areas that you can’t reach with your cloth, use a baby toothbrush.

  3. Wipe the items with soapy water (remember to use mild soap) and dry with a soft cotton cloth.

Use the Aluminum Foil Method

This method is particularly helpful for tarnished pieces such as chains because they are harder to clean using a cloth. Using aluminum foil creates a reaction known as ion exchange which turns the tarnish (oxidized silver) back into silver. Line the bottom of a bowl with a piece of aluminum foil.

  1. Place your jewelry items on the aluminum foil.

  2. Boil the equivalent of a cup of water and add one tablespoon of baking soda into the boiling pot. Stir the baking soda and wait until it becomes slightly fizzy.

  3. Gently and slowly pour the water into the sink but be careful not to move the jewelry around.

  4. Let it all sit for 5 minutes, and remove the jewelry items using a wooden spoon.

  5. Rinse abundantly and dry with a soft cotton cloth.

Extra tip: if the items are not tarnish-free after the first attempt, repeat the process.

We hope this article has shed some light on how to clean your silver jewelry and will encourage you to go after that fantastic piece you so desperately want!

Looking for some inspiration?

At Tiary, we’re all about doing things a little differently to provide our customers with the best silver jewelry items, the sustainable way. Every single one of our jewelry pieces is made to work, meaning that there is no waste in the process, and you get a custom item that fits your personal preferences. What’s more, we’ve incorporated argentium silver, a high-quality, tarnish-resistant silver alloy, to our casted pieces to help keep your jewelry from tarnishing. Intrigued? Don’t hesitate to browse our range to find something truly special for you or your loved ones.