Why bother going to a fine jewelry store to purchase quality sterling silver jewelry if you aren’t going to maintain it? Sterling silver likes to be worn: with daily wear, your jewelry gets the movement it needs to keep itself clean. But if you’re storing your sterling silver jewelry for another day, it will eventually begin to tarnish. Luckily, cleaning sterling silver is relatively easy.
Sterling silver is a soft metal, so it can be easily scratched. When handling and cleaning your jewelry, you’ll need to take special care not to use anything too rough that will leave scratch marks.
Use a jewelry cleaning cloth or a cloth made of 100 percent cotton to gently remove residual make up and dirt. A clean brush no stiffer than a soft baby’s toothbrush can also be used, especially in conjunction with a few drops of mild dish liquid in ½ cup of warm water.
Another quick and easy way to clean your sterling silver jewelry is to submerge it in boiling water with baking soda and aluminum foil. Use a container in which your jewelry fits with enough room to be stirred. Start with a tablespoon of baking soda and a few half inch squares of foil. Add the boiling water and stir with a plastic or wooden utensil. If you notice a smell similar to rotten eggs, then it’s working. Make sure that the foil touches all parts of your jewelry so that the tarnish will adhere to it and not your jewelry. Once your jewelry is shiny again, rinse it with clean, cool water.
Extra care needs to be taken when cleaning your sterling silver jewelry if it has gemstones in it. Clean with care and according to manufacturer’s instructions, as some polishes and pastes are not meant for gemstones and will compromise their appearance. It is probably best to clean the area around the stone with a soft cloth dipped in a mild soap and water mixture.
If you want to give your jewelry a deeper clean and it doesn’t have a gemstone, things are a little easier. Excessive tarnish can be removed with silver polish or paste after gently removing excess residue with a clean, soft cloth. Again, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but use any polishing product sparingly.
Additional Care Tips
You can keep your sterling silver jewelry looking tarnish-free for longer by following these tips:
- After cleaning, make sure you jewelry is completely dry before storing it in an air-tight plastic or tarnish-proof bag
- Avoid contact with rubber and mostly acidic and base liquids
- Make your jewelry the last thing you put on when performing daily rituals, such as skin and hair care routines
- Store your jewelry with moisture-absorbent packets that are found in some medications and packaged accessories