The best way to clean silver jewellery
Unlike gold, you’ll need to clean silver jewellery from time to time to make sure it’s always looking its best and stays ready to wear at a moment’s notice.
Silver tarnishes over time as a result of a chemical reaction between the metals in the silver and moisture, as well as sulphur that’s naturally present in the air. Some cosmetics, perfumes and sunscreen can also cause silver to tarnish.
Initially your silver may lose its bright and lustrous quality and the more the tarnish develops over time, the darker it’ll get, until it eventually turns an unsightly dark grey or black. It’s not all about appearances though, the tarnish from silver can rub off onto clothes, so to avoid stains use silver cleaner regularly to keep tarnish at bay.
How do you clean tarnished silver jewellery?
There are numerous ways to clean silver jewellery. You can tackle the tarnish with eco-friendly household staples like bicarbonate of soda, and even cola can remove that dreaded dulled appearance.
If you’d prefer to keep a ready-made silver cleaner to hand, they come in many forms. You can choose between easy-to-use baths and dips, as well as polishes. A silver polishing cloth comes with a cleaner embedded in the cloth so keeping one of these in your jewellery box is great for last-minute buffing.
What’s the best way to clean silver rings, earrings and bracelets?
Fiddly pieces of jewellery require a bit of care, particularly if they contain stones or pearls. We suggest using a cream cleaner, silver polishing cloth or the simple DIY method below.
- Mix a paste of roughly 3 parts bicarbonate of soda to one part water and apply to your silver jewellery, taking care to avoid stones or pearls.
- Rub the paste into the silver with a lint free or microfibre cloth until you see the shine starting to return. A soft toothbrush is a useful tool to get into intricate areas that are tricky to reach.
- Rinse off the paste and buff with a soft dry lint free cloth to remove any remaining tarnish and bring out the shine.
GHI Tip: Avoid getting silver cleaner on inset stones and pearls as they’re easily damaged by cleaning products, including the more eco-friendly DIY versions. Take extra care when cleaning this type of silver jewellery.
What’s the best way to clean silver chains?
There’s no point trying to polish the tarnish from your silver chain, you’ll be there all day! This is where dips and baths come in handy. You can buy a proprietary mix like QuickShine Jewellery Bath, just be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging. Alternatively, follow the steps below for an eco-friendly DIY silver bath.
- Line a bowl with aluminium foil – shiny side up.
- Fill with enough boiling water to submerge your chain.
- Add 1 tbsp of bicarbonate of soda per 500ml water.
- Add your chain and leave to soak for up to 30 minutes.
- Remove from the bath, rinse away any residues and buff with a soft lint free cloth to remove any remaining tarnish.
Note: Heavily tarnished items may require a second bath.
You can also try submerging chains in a bath of cola; the acid should remove the tarnish. But only leave the chain in the cola for a short time and remove as soon as the tarnish has disappeared. Rinse off the cola straight away and buff with a soft lint free cloth
How do you clean sterling silver?
When it comes to cleaning, whether you have solid silver, silver plated jewellery or sterling silver, there’s no difference in how you should tackle the tarnish.
How should you store silver jewellery?
It’s impossible to prevent silver from tarnishing but storing it correctly can help. Silver doesn’t tarnish in completely dry air and the higher the humidity, the faster it’ll tarnish. So the key is to limit the exposure to both air and moisture. You can do this by wrapping your jewellery in a cloth or storing it in a felt pouch or even a zip lock bag.
Some people recommend keeping the silica sachets that come in packages and popping them in your jewellery box. The silica keeps moisture at bay, so may help to slow down the tarnishing process. And you should never leave your silver jewellery in the bathroom where the air is humid.