How to Clean Silver Jewelry

November 13, 2017

How to Clean Silver Jewelry

Sterling Silver tarnishes over time. If it is not cleaned occasionally with a polishing cloth it will start to turn color, eventually turning black. You only need to clean the silver and give it a good polish and it will look shiny again. The following steps are for silver and gemstone jewelry. Please note, these directions to not apply to jewelry containing pearls or opals. 

Step #1
For cleaning you want to put a little mild dish soap in the palm of your hand and soap it up. Use a soft tooth brush to loosen up any body oils or skin care products from the smaller areas that might be on it. Rinse in lukewarm water. Do not let it sit in water, you just want to get the soap off of the jewelry.

Dry it off well and let it sit out to air dry for a good 2-4 hours.
Step #2
The best option for polishing your sterling silver jewelry and to prevent damage to the color or surface of the gemstones is to use a polishing cloth specific to sterling silver jewelry.
Polishing cloths specifically for jewelry can be purchased at larger department stores or your favourite online retailer.

Step #3
When in doubt, have your local jeweler give it a polish. Steam cleaning is a good option. Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners as the can break and damage gemstones and the settings.

Storage & Preventing Tarnish
When not wearing your sterling silver jewelry, remember to store them out of direct sunlight in a jewelry box. Also, storing them in ziplock bags helps slow down the tarnishing process that occurs with sterling silver jewelry.

 General Information for Caring for Your Jewelry
  • Avoid contact with cosmetics such as hairspray, lotion, perfume, shaving cream, soap, etc. These products can leave a residue on jewelry, creating a dull film that is difficult to remove. If possible let beauty products absorb into your skin before putting on your jewelry.
  • Remove your jewelry before doing housework. Household cleaners can cause hard-to-remove build-up and leave dulling scratches. Always remove your jewelry before working with chlorine bleach. 
  • Keep your jewelry away from extreme heat and cold. Rapid increases in temperature may cause fractures in some gemstones.
  • Store each piece of jewelry individually (i.e., in individual containers, compartments, pouches or bags). Metal can scratch or scuff other metal. 
  • For bracelets and necklaces, always fasten the clasp when storing to reduce tangling.
  • Ensure that your jewelry is completely dry before placing it in an enclosed space. Moisture fosters tarnish and can weaken springs and clasps. Certain gemstones may also suffer from water damage.