If not cared for properly, even high-end sterling silver items can appear a little discoloured or dirty over time.
This occurs when oxygen or sulfur makes contact with silver, which can tarnish its lustre.
To ensure your jewelry continues to look as good as new, we're offering tips on how to clean sterling silver.
WEAR THE ITEMS
One of the best ways to prevent sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing is by wearing it.
Your skin's oils can actually help to keep the jewelry clean and maintain its brilliance.
There are certain substances and chemicals that can cause the sterling silver to corrode.
You must keep the jewelry away from:
- Household chemicals
- Chlorinated water
- Substances containing sulfur (latex, wool, eggs, mustard, etc.)
- Direct sunlight
So, avoid wearing jewelry when performing household chores. It's also important to put jewelry on last, so it doesn't come into contact with beauty products or perfume.
Polishing is a great way to spruce up sterling silver that hasn't tarnished too much. It's also a helpful way to clean oxidized silver, too.
We recommend using a special silver cloth to polish the accessories. If you don't have one, use a microfiber or non-abrasive cloth.
Never use tissues or paper towels to clean the items, as they could potentially scratch the silver.
The best polishing method is to use back and forth motions that mirror the silver's grain.
You might think rubbing in circles is the best method, but this will only highlight any scratches.
Has polishing not worked? Not to worry, here's how to clean sterling silver at home...
Cleaning Sterling Silver at Home
Polishing sometimes isn't enough to clean your sterling silver.
If you want to know how to clean sterling silver at home, you'll be glad to know there are many options to try.
- SOAP AND WATER
Soap and warm water is a classic cleaning method, and it can breathe new life into your sterling silver.
Combine warm water with mild ammonia, such as a bar of phosphate-free dishwashing soap.
This should be your first port of call if polishing doesn't work. Try this before you move onto other options.
- BAKING SODA AND WATER
If the soap doesn't work, combine water with baking soda to make a paste. You should apply a pea-sized amount of the paste to a clean cloth to polish the silver.
If you have stamped, etched or detailed jewelry, we suggest adding more water to make a thinner paste. You should also use a soft-bristled toothbrush to reach any crevices.
Once done, run the item under warm water before drying it with a clean cloth. It may soon look as good as new.
- LEMON JUICE AND OLIVE OIL
Lemon juice is known to clean dirty dark spots on items due to the acid.
If you want to know how to clean sterling silver, lemon juice and olive oil could be the best option for your item.
All you need to do is mix 1/2 cup of lemon juice with only a tsp. of olive oil in a large bowl.
Dip a small microfiber cloth into the cleaning solution before wringing it out. You can then polish the silver, rinse it under warm water and dry it with a clean cloth.
- BAKING SODA AND WHITE VINEGAR
If baking soda doesn't work with warm water, you could always try it with white vinegar, instead.
It's a gentle way to remove heavy tarnishing. Soak the tarnished jewelry in a solution of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tbsp. of baking soda.
You should soak the item in the solution for between two to three hours.
Don't be surprised if the solution fizzes!
- BAKING SODA, BOILING WATER, SALT, AND ALUMINIUM FOIL
If the above didn't work, create a chemical solution from baking soda, salt, boiling water and foil.
Grab some aluminium foil to line the kitchen sink or glass roasting pan. The dull side of the foil should be placed down.
The next step is to place the jewelry onto the foil and pour boiling water over the items until covered. You should then add 2 tbsp. each of salt and baking soda.
Stir the solution to ensure the baking soda dissolves in the mix, as granules may scratch the metal.
The solution will cause any tarnish to be transferred to the aluminium foil. It may only take between 5 to 10 minutes to see a big difference to your jewelry.
Drain the solution using a colander and rinse the jewelry in warm water, before drying with a clean cloth.
We should warn you, the solution can smell a little like rotten eggs, but it could have your silver looking as good as new.
Buying from a reputable jewelry company and taking care of it properly will give you a lifetime of enjoyment from your piece. As with anything, a little bit of effort goes a long way!