Fast and Easy Tips to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry

Mini Schnauzer Dog Sterling Silver Photo Necklace on Curb Chain

Right when you're ready to head out the door, you realize your favorite silver piece of jewelry - the special one - is all dark and tarnished. It's the daily pieces we wear every day that don't need cleaning as much, so cleaning our jewelry just isn't something we think about. 

No, it's not because it's not as precious as the other pieces, it's had another composite added to it to make it stronger. In fact, the silver pieces in your jewelry box are likely made of sterling silver rather than pure silver. Sterling silver typically contains about 7.5% copper, making it stronger than pure 99.9% silver (which is rare) but also more likely to tarnish. (Copper is the primary culprit behind tarnish on sterling silver jewelry.)

To tell if your jewelry is sterling silver versus silver-plated, check the clasp for a marking that says 9.25, 925/1000, Sterling, S/S, or Sterling 9.25. If your necklace or bracelet doesn't have these markings, it's probably silver-plated.

Keep your Sterling Silver Jewelry Looking New:

  • Keep in a cloth bag or microfiber wrap. This will help keep the silver from becoming exposed to air and sun.
  • Do not hang in the bathroom. Keep your silver away from moisture or hair products.
  • Clean or wipe down before putting your silver away. This will help your silver sparkle longer, but you will still need to clean of body oils, lotions, and hair products occasionally.
  • Wear your pieces frequently! Believe it or not, the daily use and handling of your silver will keep the tarnish from building up.

Cleaning Tarnished Silver:

  • Safest and most gentle way: Fill a container with warm water and mild dishwashing liquid dishwashing soap or baby shampoo. Place jewelry in the container and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. With a soft bristle brush, such as a soft toothbrush, brush all the cracks and crevices. Then dry with a soft silver cleaning cloth. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.
  • Other methods you can try, but with caution, include toothpaste (my favorite for quick in-a-pinch), baking soda paste - not for all gems and stones, and aluminum foil tub and salt. Do a quick Pinterest search and you're sure to find several!

We hope this helped you in taking care of your sterling silver necklace and that you may enjoy your keepsake jewelry for years to come!

(The information here represents the opinions of the author only, and is not intended to represent expert advice. The reader is advised to use their best judgement and research on the topic.)
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