You must have at least one sterling silver jewelry item in your jewelry box that you love to wear. Maybe, you are fond of that silver chain, or a simple silver ring because of the ease of wearing it. It is obvious that you want your silver jewelry to be sparkling even after wearing it for all these years. So, the one question that keeps on lingering in your mind is "how to clean sterling silver jewelry?" And at the time of purchase, the obvious concern is "does sterling silver tarnish or rust?"
In the era of the internet, where all the information is just one click away, the value of friendly advice still holds a significant position.
Although you have all the answers to the question “how to clean sterling silver jewelry?” here I am providing every piece of information that you may have missed about it.
1. When to clean the sterling silver jewelry?
I understand how much you worry about "how to clean sterling silver jewelry!" especially after wearing it daily for years. And how much it satisfies you to know the most genuine answers. But you should be careful about the number of times you are cleaning your silver jewelry.
Here, I am sharing some of the best times when cleaning should be considered.
• When it appears to tarnish
When the sterling silver jewelry seems to tarnish, which means, when it starts to lose the luster, it is the best time when one should start wondering “how to clean sterling silver jewelry..!” This is the phenomenon caused when the silver jewelry comes in contact with the air. The layer of tarnish can be removed from the silver jewelry by cleaning it, and it will again appear as if brand new.
• When it has been too long
If you have not cleaned your silver jewelry for quite some time, it may damage the jewelry piece. This will leave you confused about “how does sterling silver tarnish or rust?” Also, for hygiene purposes, it should be cleaned every once in a while. This will not only keep the silver jewelry maintain its luster, but will also keep it healthy as well. And, in case you are wondering, how to clean sterling silver jewelry, casually, then the one thing you should avoid doing is, using the jewelry cleaning chemicals.•
• When it is used daily
Some silver rings are so convenient that you do not take them off even while sleeping. This makes them prone to wear and tear. Also, these jewelry pieces will be exposed to cosmetics and sweat more than the ones that you wear occasionally. Then the question arises, "how to clean sterling silver jewelry?" So, you should take these jewelry pieces off, just to clean them with mild cleansers every once in a while.
2. Why and how does sterling silver tarnish or rust?
Some of you may not be satisfied with just the answer to 'how to clean sterling silver jewelry?'. But are also curious to know ‘how does sterling silver tarnish or rust..!’ on the first place..!
So, here I’m discussing the significant reasons because of which sterling silver tarnishes.
• Exposed to air
Oxygen does not react when exposed to the silver in normal conditions. However, it's the sulfur that is responsible for all the damage. The product of the reaction of silver and sulfur is 'silver sulphide' which forms a blackish layer on the sterling silver jewelry items. This is the answer to “how does sterling silver tarnish or rust?” The reaction, however, is prolonged that it will require time for it to be visible. But, once it is there, you certainly will panic to know, how to clean sterling silver jewelry..! Obviously, you do not want your favourite jewelry to look dirty.
• Exposed to moisture
The moisture does not react with the silver and cause it to tarnish directly. Now, you must be wondering how exactly does sterling silver tarnish or rust..!! Well, moisture, works as a catalyst in the whole process. Exposing sterling silver jewelry pieces to any type of moisture, will damage them faster. Water will not directly impact the silver jewelry but will definitely ruin its luster. So, it's best to remove any silver jewelry before a hot water shower.
• FUN FACT (Does sterling silver tarnish or rust!)
It is surprising to know that it is not actually the silver in 925 sterling silver jewelry that tarnishes. The other metals present therein, especially copper, reacts with different elements making the sterling silver jewelry look dirty. Copper is the metal that makes silver jewelry durable and fit for daily use, giving it the much-required strength.
3. How to prevent tarnish for a long time
It is possible to delay the sterling silver jewelry to tarnish. This is for the people who are more conservative and do not want the damage in the first place.
So, here are the tips -
• Avoid exposure to sprays and cosmetics
When it comes to sterling silver jewelry, it is best to follow 'last on, first off' rule. This means that the jewelry should be worn last while going out and the first to be removed when you return. This is because without you even realizing the moisturizers, face washes, perfumes, etc. damage the silver jewelry and may also stick to the small, difficult to clean notches. This will leave you with just one thought “how to clean sterling silver jewelry..!”
• Avoid exposure to household chemicals
If you never take off your sterling silver jewelry even while doing the daily household chores, then this tip is for you. The chemicals present in the detergents and other cleaning agents will cause the sterling silver jewelry to tarnish very fast. Therefore, it is best if wearing sterling silver jewelry while doing household chores involving chemicals is avoided.
• Proper storage
The best way to store the sterling silver jewelry items is to put them in a closed and dry place. This is important to avoid direct contact with the air that contains moisture and sulfur, which reacts with the silver and copper, thus tarnishing it. So, storing the jewelry in separate plastic bags with interlocking seal is better than wondering, how to clean sterling silver jewelry.
4. Drawbacks of using jewelry cleaning chemicals
Although cleaning silver jewelry is essential, but the jewelry cleaning chemicals may have some adverse effects.
Here, I am mentioning them for you -
• It will take off a thin layer off the jewelry
If chemicals are being used for cleaning silver jewelry, then they will take off the outermost layer of the jewelry piece, thus exposing the silver layer underneath. This is how it makes the sterling silver jewelry look brilliant again. These chemicals will affect the weight and purity of the jewelry.
• If not appropriately rinsed, it will damage the jewelry
If they are not adequately cleaned from the silver jewelry, then it will drastically affect the jewelry piece. These chemicals will damage the metal as a result of the chemical reaction that will happen. And it may also affect your skin when you wear it.
• It harms the skin
If these jewelry cleaning chemicals can take off a layer of a solid metal while cleaning, imagine what they can do when exposed to the skin. So, while cleaning the sterling silver jewelry, be extremely careful and always wear rubber gloves. Also, it is recommended to read and follow the instructions provided with these cleaners.
The best suggestion is to know how to clean sterling silver jewelry naturally..!
5. How to clean sterling silver jewelry - methods and ways
So, you know everything about tarnishing, except how to clean sterling silver jewelry, if and when it happens.
So, here are seven sterling silver jewelry cleaning hacks to enhance your knowledge -
• Soap water for brilliant jewelry again..!
It is the best and the mildest way to clean sterling silver jewelry. Mix a small amount of dishwashing soap in boiling water. Dip a fiber cloth in the solution and with to & fro motion, clean the tarnished silver jewelry. Another way of using the soapy water for cleaning silver jewelry is, boiling the jewelry pieces in the soap water for 2-3 minutes and rinse with cold & clean water. Dry the sterling silver jewelry piece nicely in the end.
• Baking soda for your sterling silver jewelry
To clean sterling silver jewelry with baking soda, all that is required is boiling water, baking soda, and aluminum foil. Just cover a nonstick pan with the aluminum foil and put the tarnished silver jewelry pieces on it. Mix a small amount of baking soda into boiling water and pour the mixture on the jewelry so it covers it completely. Let it sit for five to ten minutes. Take the jewelry pieces out with the help of salad sticks and wash them with clean water. It will leave you wondering that, does sterling silver tarnish or rust, or was that just a dream..!!
• Cleaning sterling silver jewelry with vinegar
This is the easiest way to remove tarnish from the silver jewelry. Put the jewel in the container and pour white vinegar onto it so that it is completely submerged in that. Let it sit for two to three hours, depending upon the tarnish that needs to be removed. Wash the silver jewelry with clean water and dry with a soft towel. I am sure this will be the permanent solution to the question “how to clean sterling silver jewelry?”
• Jewelry cleaners, the obvious answer to tarnished silver
Using chemical-based jewelry cleaners will be very effective for silver jewelry pieces which are profoundly affected by the tarnish. Pour a small amount of jewelry cleaner on a cotton ball and rub the tarnished silver jewelry in to and fro motion with it. It will surprisingly remove all the tarnish leaving the jewelry look brilliant again. But, be very cautious while using these chemicals and never use them with bare hands.
• Surprising use of toothpaste (it is not to make your smile bright)
This is the silver jewelry cleaner that is readily available in every home. Take a small amount of toothpaste and put it on the tarnished silver jewelry piece. Rub it for a few minutes with your fingers or a soft cloth, adding a few drops of water if required. When you see that the tarnish fading, wash it with lukewarm water and dry with a soft cotton cloth. For this method, always use white toothpaste and not the gel-based one. This is the best home remedy to the question “how to clean sterling silver jewelry?”
• Let your silver jewelry get high on brilliance..! (Rubbing Alcohol)
Rubbing alcohol is a perfect substance to clean tarnishes from the silver jewelry. Take rubbing alcohol and water and mix them in the ratio of 1:4. Then dampen a clean & soft cloth in the mixture. Rub the tarnished or corroded sterling silver with this cloth to see the tarnish magically disappear. After that, either wash the silver jewelry with clean water and dry with a soft towel or directly wipe it with a clean & dry cloth.
• Polishing, to add a little extra value
Some of you must have the sterling silver jewelry pieces that are heavily tarnished. The best way to get rid of that is re-polished. It will cover the uppermost layer of the tarnished silver jewelry with a clean coat of silver, making it look brand new again. However, the basic cleaning of jewelry is done. This method will obviously involve some cost but will certainly give a brilliant shine to the otherwise tarnished jewelry.
So, now you know everything about the tarnishing of silver, i.e., the frequency of cleaning, the reasons, preventive measures, drawbacks, and how to clean sterling silver jewelry.
You are now armed with the best piece of knowledge regarding sterling silver tarnishes or rust.
‘YOU CARE FOR YOUR JEWELRY.. AND WE CARE FOR YOU..!!’