We all have those signature jewellery pieces that we pretty much wear every day. Unfortunately, with everyday wear comes everyday challenges with keeping your jewellery in tip-top shape, particularly, silver jewellery. While silver jewellery is relatively durable, like anything it’s going to have trouble withstanding the throes of everyday life when worn frequently.
Over time, silver jewellery can become too vulnerable to tarnishing and discolouring. Tarnishing and discolouration is a chemical reaction that occurs when silver jewellery is exposed to moisture and sulphur in the air. This means if you live in an area where the climate is more humid, your jewellery is likely to tarnish a lot quicker. But tarnishing isn’t the only thing that can affect the appearance of your silver jewellery. Over time, frequently used products such as makeup, fake tan, soap and hand sanitiser as well as general dirt and grime can begin to build up. Impacting your jewellery’s appearance.
Fortunately, there are several budget-friendly ways that you can keep your silver jewellery looking as good as new. And best of all, you can do it all at home without the use of costly jewellery cleaning equipment.
Read on to find out how to clean silver jewellery without having to take a trip to the jewellers.
How To Clean Silver Jewellery Overview:
- How To Clean Silver Jewellery
- How To Clean Sterling Silver
- How To Clean Silver Diamond Jewellery
- How To Prevent Tarnish On Silver Jewellery
How To Clean Silver Jewellery In A Matter Of Minutes
While you certainly don’t have to be an expert, cleaning pure silver jewellery should be done with a great deal of care and precision as silver jewellery is quite soft and malleable. If you use the wrong cleaning supplies or scrub your pieces a little too hard, you run the risk of permanently damaging your silver jewellery. Thankfully, there is a myriad of tips and tricks out there on how to clean silver jewellery in only a matter of minutes. Some of the best ways you can clean your pure silver jewellery include:
An old-favourite for cleaning among jewellery lovers, toothpaste is ideal for polishing up silver jewellery as it is gentle and non-abrasive. It is after all used to keep your pearly whites looking fresh and camera-ready, so why not your jewellery as well?
To use this method to get your silver jewellery looking spick and span, simply, squeeze a small amount of non-gel and non-abrasive toothpaste onto a soft cloth or a paper napkin. Then, rub the cloth or napkin onto your jewellery in a subtle circular motion to help polish it and remove any tarnish. Once you have given your jewellery a good rub with the toothpaste, let it sit for five minutes and then wash it off with clear, warm water. This method should have your silver jewellery looking squeaky clean in no time.
Aluminium Foil + Laundry Detergent
Arguably one of the most common methods out for cleaning silver jewellery, this method is favoured for only slightly tarnished silver. As it is quite gentle, laundry detergent is often the preferred method for cleaning soft metals like silver metal, as it is less likely to be too abrasive. But don’t be fooled by how simple this cleaning method is as it’s very much effective.
To use dish soap to clean your jewellery, line a small bowl with aluminium foil, fill it with warm water and add a tablespoon of your go-to liquid laundry detergent. After that, stir your mix well and then place your silver jewellery in the bowl allowing it to soak for around one minute. Once they have been soaked, remove your jewellery with a pair of kitchen tongs and rinse them under some lukewarm water, laying them on a paper towel to dry when you are done.
Yes, you read that right. Not only is ketchup a.k.a tomato sauce an excellent condiment on your barbeque snag or burger, but it is also a handy cleaning tool. Especially when it is used to clean your silver jewellery. While it may be hard to believe, ketchup is great at cleaning silver jewellery as the acidity of the tomatoes reacts with the oxidation of tarnished silver, therefore helping to remove it.
To try out this saucy method on your tarnished silver, squeeze out a few drops of ketchup onto a paper towel and gently rub into onto your jewellery. If your silver jewellery is older and it is looking a bit more worse for wear thanks to build-up, squeeze out a few droplets of ketchup directly onto your pieces and leave them there for fifteen minutes. Once you are done, rinse off the sauce with warm water and dry the jewellery with a soft cloth.
Fizzy drinks are not only great for sugar indulgence or sore tummies, but they also make for a great cost-effective cleaning supply, especially lemon-lime soda. Lemon-lime sodas like Sprite are a great cleaning substitute for silver jewellery as the carbonated bubbles and acidity in the flavouring can aid in removing tarnish.
So, the next time you have some Sprite or another type of lemon-lime fizzy drink in your fridge that is about to go flat, pour some of it into a small plastic bowl and let your jewellery soak in it for around an hour. Once your hour is up, remove the jewellery, rinse it thoroughly with clear water and then dry it with a soft cloth or paper towel. Keep in mind that this method will only work for super-tarnished pieces.
How To Clean Sterling Silver Jewellery
The majority of silver jewellery in people’s collections today is sterling silver rather than pure silver. Not only is sterling silver a lot more wallet-friendly than pure silver, but it is also more durable than fine silver with the latter being quite soft and difficult to shape. While pure silver contains up to 99.9% of silver, sterling silver is known as a metal alloy and is commonly comprised of only 92.5% silver as well as 7.5% copper or zinc. Given their differing compositions, it is only natural that sterling silver cannot be cleaned in the same way as fine silver.
Learn more: why is silver good for jewellery
Aluminium Foil + Baking Soda
A handy cooking tool that has a great deal of versatility in the household, baking soda or bi-carb soda can be used to clean everything from kitchen surfaces and bathroom tiles to shoes. Therefore, it’s only natural that life hackers would also begin utilising it for their jewellery. Namely, their sterling silver jewellery. But be warned, you should avoid this method if your jewellery contains encrusted gemstones.
The process of using baking soda to clean your jewellery is much like the method of using laundry detergent. To start, find a small bowl and line it with alfoil. Next, pour in some warm (not hot or boiling) water and a tablespoon of baking soda. Mix the bowl around until the consistency of the baking soda is like a paste. Then, place your jewellery into the bowl and leave it in there until the baking soda mix becomes dry so that it will remove any tarnish. Once that is complete, rinse the hardened bits of baking soda off your jewellery with warm water and dry it with a soft, microfibre cloth. You can also use this exact same cleaning method using cornstarch if you have some sitting in your pantry at home.
For a rundown on how to clean silver jewellery using this method, check out the video at the top of the page.
White-Distilled Vinegar and Baking Soda
A common household product used for anything from cooking and pickling vegetables to mopping up floortiles and wiping dirty windows, white-distilled vinegar is an excellent tool for helping to restore the lustre and shine into your sterling silver jewellery. Although it is not ideal for antique items, when paired with baking soda, white vinegar can help do wonders for your sterling silver jewellery.
Simply, gather your silver jewellery into an appropriate sized bowl and then pour in the white-distilled vinegar so that it covers your pieces. Once that is done, add four tablespoons of baking soda for every cup of vinegar and then let your jewellery sit in the mixture for around an hour. When the hour is up, remove your jewellery and rinse off the mixture with warm or cold water, carefully drying it with a soft cloth when you are done.
Lemon and Olive Oil
Another hack that will help clean your sterling silver jewellery in only a matter of minutes is lemon and olive oil. While lemon provides the perfect acidic environment to remove any tarnish, olive oil has properties that can potentially help loosen grime and other stains. Together, lemon and olive oil make for a great concoction for helping to restore your sterling silver jewellery to its original glory.
Using either fresh lemon or store-bought juice, pour around half a cup of lemon juice into a small bowl and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Then, dip a soft cloth into the solution and gently rub it on your sterling silver until it shines once again. Once that is done, rinse off your piece in warm or cold water and dry it with a soft cloth.
How To Clean Silver Diamond Jewellery
Although they are one of the toughest and most durable minerals on earth, even diamonds require a little TLC sometimes. Giving your diamond jewellery a clean now and then will not only help the diamond maintain its bright sparkle, but will also help keep the overall condition of your piece in good knick. The same goes for silver diamond rings that are particularly vulnerable to tarnish and grime given they are worn on your hands and therefore exposed to all kinds of icky things that can wreak havoc on your diamond jewellery. Fortunately, there are many hacks out there on how to clean silver diamond jewellery. While diamonds are extremely tough, they are not completely indestructible. Diamonds also cannot be cleaned in the same way as silver jewellery as not only are they just not as effective but they may also impact the appearance of your diamond. Low and behold, here are some tips on how to clean silver diamond jewellery at home.
Warm Soapy Water
Diamonds are natural magnets for grease, dirt and grime, so arguably, one of the simplest and most effective ways to clean them is with dish soap and warm water. A cost-effective method that is easy, gentle and super reliable, warm soapy water can be used to clean all your jewellery, but it is especially good for cleaning your silver diamond jewellery. This method is not only ideal for restoring the shine in your diamond, but also ensures that you don’t do any damage to them when you are attempting to clean them. Not to mention, it’s so simple that even a small child could do it.
Grab some mild dish soap from the cupboard and add a few drops of it into a bowl filled with lukewarm water. Following this, place your diamond jewellery into the bowl and let it soak for around 10-15 minutes depending on how dirty the jewellery is. Once you have soaked your diamonds, remove them and gently scrub them with a soft-bristled toothbrush, paying special attention to those hard-to-reach crevices of your jewellery where dirt, grime and grease are prone to building up. After you have thoroughly scrubbed your pieces, rinse them off in clear water and dry them with a soft cloth-taking care not to bend and press too hard on any prongs. By undertaking these quick and easy cleans 1-2 times a week, your diamond jewellery will definitely stay spic and span.
Ammonia and Water
Ammonia is a strong chemical composed of hydrogen and nitrogen that is often used in the household for cleaning and in the garden to help keep plans thriving. While it is one of the riskier at-home jewellery cleaning methods, ammonia is a great way to get your diamonds looking good as new again. When mixed with water, ammonia is an excellent cleaning tool for diamond jewellery, especially diamond rings. However, given how strong it is, ammonia should only be used to clean your jewellery every once in a while as too much ammonia can cause damage to your jewellery’s setting and even the diamond itself. You should also avoid this method if you are cleaning antique jewellery, diamond jewellery with pure silver and/or precious gemstone jewellery.
Before you even attempt to start polishing your jewellery, it is a good idea to put on a pair of gloves. This will help you avoid the ammonia coming into contact with the skin and potentially causing mild irritation. Once you have done this, pour in around half a cup of clear ammonia into a small bowl with one and a half cups to two cups of water. Then, gently place your jewellery into the solution for ten minutes and let it soak. When that is done, remove your jewellery from the solution, then wipe and buff it with a soft cloth until it is dry and your ring or other diamonds look as good as the days you first laid your eyes on them.
Jewellery Cleansing Bath
For those looking for a little bit more of a professional clean without having to fork out a lot of money at the jewellers, you can always invest in an ultrasonic jewellery bath. A great solution for the daintier and difficult to clean items like diamond rings and silver diamond earrings, ultrasonic jewellery baths use vibrations and ultrasonic waves to lift dirt as well as other pollutants from your jewellery. While jewellery care products like jewellery baths are probably more appropriate for those who intend to clean their jewellery regularly, the results really do speak for themselves. As if you look closely you will see the dirt and gunk jump right off your jewellery when one of these cleaners works its magic.
Before you even attempt to start using your ultrasonic jewellery bath it is important to read the manual first. Silly little mistakes can have dire consequences on your jewellery. Once you have read the manual, pour some of the special jewellery solution supplied into the cleanser’s tank until you reach the allocated line. Following this, you will need to fill the machine up to the top with warm, not hot water. Next, depending on the size of your jewellery you will either need to place it onto the carousel or the ‘S-shaped hook. Once it is in position, switch on the machine and leave it on for 1-2 minutes maximum depending on how dirty the items are. After that, swift off the machine and remove your jewellery, rinse off the solution with water, then dry it with a soft cloth. And voila! Your diamond jewellery will be practically as good as new.
Check out the video below for a more in-depth look at how to use an ultrasonic jewellery cleansing bath at home.
How To Prevent Tarnish On Silver Jewellery
Now that you know how to clean silver jewellery, it is a good idea to learn how to prevent tarnish on jewellery in the first place. Although you should always try and give your jewellery a clean now and again to ensure its longevity and to get rid of any grime, tarnish is unfortunately inevitable when it comes to silver jewellery. But that is not to say the battle of tarnish is unbeatable. It is actually quite the contrary. By adopting a few small habits into your daily life, you can help avoid your jewellery becoming tarnished and at the same time ensure its longevity. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to prevent tarnish on silver jewellery.
Store Your Silver Jewellery In A Cool and Dry Spot
How you store your silver jewellery directly impacts its vulnerability or lack thereof to tarnish. Tarnishing occurs when your jewellery is exposed to sulphur and moisture in the air that leads to a chemical change. So, when storing your jewellery you should always aim to store it in a cool dry spot that is away from any potential moisture damage.
Avoid storing your jewellery in areas of the home that get too much sun or bathrooms as bathrooms can make your jewellery vulnerable to tarnish due to shower steam. Your safest bet for preventing tarnish on your silver jewellery is by storing it in a cool and dry spot that doesn’t get much sun, like your wardrobe or a linen cupboard. If you have a fair bit of jewellery, it is also a good idea to get yourself a jewellery box to be extra safe.
Learn more: how to store silver jewellery
Separate Your Jewellery
Something else that can leave your jewellery prone to tarnishing is storing your pieces too close together. Jewellery can be made up of many different metals and we’re not just talking gold and silver. Jewellery is produced in many metals including copper, zinc, titanium, brass, bronze, platinum, stainless steel and aluminium to name a few. These metals all have significantly different compositions and therefore different metals can react to one another when coming into contact one another, this can lead to tarnishing.
To prevent this from happening to your collection, try separating your jewellery by type including gold jewellery, silver jewellery, fine jewellery, antique jewellery and costume jewellery. The best way to keep your jewellery separated is by investing in a jewellery box with multiple sections and dividers.
Use Anti-Tarnish Cloths
Another great solution for keeping your pieces looking good as new, particularly when you are on the go are impregnated silver jewellery cleaning cloths. These small and soft microfibre cloths are impregnated with a solution that has been specially formulated to help clean silver jewellery.
Without requiring any solutions or cleaning products to use, jewellery polishing cloths will help remove any tarnish as well as any dirt and grime from the surface of your jewellery, allowing it to glisten and shine once again. Available at a relatively low-cost, impregnated jewellery is a quick, easy and effective method to keep your jewellery shining. This method is also ideal for those who are time-poor and are constantly on the go.
Store Your Jewellery With Chalk
You’re probably not alone if you went ‘huh?’ when you read chalk. A reminder early days of school when your teacher would write on the blackboard, chalk is not just a great tool for writing out algebra equations but is also very efficient at preventing tarnish on your jewellery.
As it is extremely dry, chalk is widely known to be a great moisture absorber and you should therefore consider storing a piece of chalk with your jewellery. With its absorbent abilities, chalk will help remove any dampness and chemical residue from your jewellery, thus helping it to maintain its shine for many years to come.
Watch Out For Perfume and Deodorant
We all like to smell our best, especially when around other people. So, it is only natural that fragrance and antiperspirants are a big part of our morning routine. But before you reach for one of your favourite Parisian scents or extra-strength deodorant you should consider the impact it may be having on your jewellery. Generally, perfume and antiperspirants are safe, however, many of the chemicals in them can interact with the metals in your silver jewellery-resulting in it becoming tarnished.
To avoid your care products causing your jewellery to become tarnished, avoid spraying on too much deodorant and/or perfume in the morning. You should also consider applying your beauty products before putting on your jewellery and avoid spraying in areas where your jewellery tends to sit. You can also attempt to polish your silver chains and bracelets with an impregnated cloth after every wear to be extra cautious.
Now that you know how to clean silver jewellery and prevent tarnishing, you can ensure your pieces maintain their shine for many years to come. Discover more handy tips and tricks that will help keep your pieces in good knick including how to store silver jewellery and whether wearing your silver jewellery every day causes it to tarnish.
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