Can You Wear Sterling Silver in The Shower?

If you own precious silver jewellery that you love, then you know it is hard to take it off. At the same time, you want to protect and preserve those perfect pieces. The problem is it can be difficult to know when your jewellery is really at risk of damage. 

If you are reading this page, then you’ve probably wondered, “can you wear sterling silver in the shower?”. The answer isn’t definitive, but at most times you should probably avoid wearing any kind of jewellery in the shower. The heat and pressure of the water are enough to chip gold or silver-plated pieces, and yes it can potentially damage the sterling silver.  

Water itself isn’t highly damaging to sterling silver, though it does make sterling silver more susceptible to tarnish. It’s more so the other chemicals and minerals present in water that can cause a strong tarnishing and blackening of your silver.

Filtered shower water doesn’t contain anything that will damage silver, so if you’d like to, it is okay to wear silver in shower. However, constant exposure to water will cause silver to tarnish, so it may be better to leave sterling silver jewellery pieces out of the shower if you don’t want to have to clean them all the time. 

Let’s look at this in more detail to answer the question, can you wear sterling silver in the shower?


Sterling Silver And Tarnishing

If you wear sterling silver daily you can pretty much be sure that it will tarnish over time even to a small degree. Exposure to moisture and humidity - like in the shower - can accelerate this process, which is why it’s not the best idea to bring your sterling silver into the bathroom.

Pure silver has a chemical reaction to sulfur which causes silver to smudge and blacken. This process is called tarnishing (or oxidising), and though it sounds pretty bad, it can often be polished away using warm soapy water. This does become a big problem if the silver is constantly tarnishing or becomes much darker. The process of cleaning silver can be time-consuming and can potentially rub away some of your silver each time you try it. 

Any sulfur present in the air can react with sterling silver and create a surface of silver sulfide. This surface is what causes the discolouration and blackening effect. When this surface is cleaned, the silver content in the silver sulfide is lost, which can make constant cleaning damaging to your item. Thankfully there is a way to reverse this chemical reaction and retain your silver, but more on that later. 

Rhodium plating is a common solution to tarnish used in sterling silver jewellery. A coating of this white metal helps sterling silver resist tarnish, while keeping its shiny, light appearance. Some of the sterling silver jewellery you own now probably has rhodium plating. 

Learn more: Does Sterling Silver Tarnish if Worn Daily?

Can You Wear Sterling Silver In The Shower?

So, can you wear sterling silver in the shower? The answer is yes, if you’re happy to clean it often when it tarnishes.

Can I Wear Sterling Silver In The Ocean?

Ok, what about wearing sterling silver in saltwater - is that okay? It’s best not to wear sterling silver jewellery when swimming in the ocean. As we’ve touched on, water won’t damage silver but can speed up the tarnishing process. There are also a few other factors that make swimming at the beach more damaging to your silver than you might’ve thought. 

The high salt content in seawater can leave marks on your jewellery and corrode and weaken precious metals like silver over time. This isn’t cause for panic, as the erosion effect should only occur to your silver if it’s left in salty water for a long time, plus any salt marks can be cleaned afterwards. 

Sand in the water and on the beach can also cause some minor scratching to your sterling silver jewellery. The silver itself is quite strong and shouldn’t scratch easily, but the rhodium plating on some sterling silver jewellery is susceptible to being worn and scratched off.

Perhaps most important of all is that sterling silver rings and earrings are easily lost when swimming in the ocean. The water, salt and even the sunscreen you put on your hands make it easy for rings to slip off when you’re swimming. It’s best for sterling silver jewellery - or any jewellery for that matter - to be left in a safe place before swimming.

Can I Wear Sterling Silver In The Pool?

What about at a pool party - can you wear silver in the pool? Pools contain high amounts of chlorine, which is great for killing bacteria and oxidising dirt or unwanted substances. What is less great is that chlorine also oxidises or tarnishes sterling silver. Heated pools like jacuzzis or spas also contain high amounts of chlorine, plus heat which can really discolour your sterling silver jewellery. 

You may have heard some horror stories about silver and chlorine, and yes, the chemical present in nearly all swimming pools can leave your silver looking black and dull. As with nearly all tarnishing, however, this can be cleaned. 

Learn more: How to clean silver jewellery

Best of luck to you with your sterling silver! Hopefully, you’re now well equipped to answer the question, can you wear sterling silver in the shower. Remember, all advice in this blog serves merely as a guide and by no means do you have to take off your sterling silver every time you go in the water. Just be aware that if you avoid wearing sterling silver at certain places like the pool or shower, you won’t have to clean it as often.

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