Sterling silver jewelry is attractive and lustrous, but over time it tends to lose its luster and become tarnished. This happens when the silver reacts with moisture and air leading it to oxidize. To restore the piece to its original shine, the jewelry needs to be properly cleaned and taken care of.
Here are some ways to clean sterling silver:
- Remove gritty or greasy dust and dirt by gently washing your silver with a non-lemon-scented dish soap. Dry and buff the silver with a soft, clean cloth.
- Remove light tarnish with a liquid non-abrasive, unscented aloe-free hand sanitizer, such as Purell, or Windex with vinegar. Moisten a large cotton ball and rotate it regularly as you clean the tarnish. Dry the silver with a cotton dish towel.
- Remove light tarnish, with a special “polishing cloth.“
- Remove darker tarnish with a commercial silver cleaner. Don’t use a product for copper or brass, as it might be too abrasive and leave scratches on the sterling silver.
- Remove tarnish via electrochemical (galvanic) reduction. Submerge aluminum or an aluminum alloy plate in a warm baking soda solution. When the silver comes into contact with the plate in the solution, the tarnish vanishes. This method may scratch your silver, and silver cleaned this way may tarnish more quickly than silver that’s polished.
- Remove tarnish inside a teapot or coffeepot with a five-minute denture cleaning tablet. Fill the teapot or coffeepot with two cups of warm water and add the denture cleaning tablet. Submerge your tarnished silver, and let it stand for ten minutes. Rinse the silver with warm water .
Prevention of tarnishing
Are you wondering if there is prevention to the cause of tarnishing? Well there are some steps you can take to help avoid the chemical reaction that causes this corrosive layer on your silver jewelry.
- Gently rub a small amount of conditioner into the material and blend with a soft cloth. This polishes the silver and protects it.
- Place some chalk into the box or drawer of where your jewelry is stored. Chalk absorbs the moisture in the air, essentially stalling the Sulphur components from reaching the silver.
- You should make an effort to regularly clean your jewelry – regular cleaning protects it from discoloration.
- Try not to swim in chlorinated pools or clean using bleach or ammonia containing products, while wearing your silver jewelry.