How to clean silver jewelry the right way

How to clean silver jewelry the right way

Important things to know about silver sterling

Many people are reluctant to clean their sterling silver jewelry out of fear that they will accidentally ruin it. However the reality is that silver is a much more tolerant metal than you might think on first consideration.

Here are a few important facts about sterling silver that you should keep in mind when deciding to clean your own silver:

1. Sterling silver is an alloy

Sterling silver is an alloy, which means it’s not 100% silver, but is instead made up of two or more metals. The majority of sterling silver is made up of real silver, in fact, is it 92.5% silver. The remaining 7.5% can consist of a plethora of different metals.

2. It varies in value

Although sterling silver is not 100% silver, its high silver content means that its value will fluctuate in line with the value of silver. Unsurprisingly, pure silver is valued higher than sterling silver.

3. It’s stronger than pure silver

Sterling silver is stronger than pure silver due to the fact that it’s an alloy. The added metals that are present within sterling silver increase its overall strength.

Pure silver is a relatively soft metal, meaning it’s susceptible to scratches, dents and contortions. Hopefully, this eases your mind when considering cleaning your silver jewelry. Keep in mind that it’s stronger than pure silver so it can withstand more.

4. It’s fairly hypoallergenic

Although sterling silver is not pure silver and is mixed with other kinds of metals, the most common type of metal that it is mixed with is copper. The mixture of copper and silver is unlikely to cause any kind of allergic reaction, unlike their nickel and brass counterparts.

It’s therefore one of the safest kinds of jewelry to wear as its components are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.

How to prevent your silver from tarnishing

Although it’s impossible to avoid tarnishing completely, there are some things that you can do to prevent your silver from tarnishing more than it should. The following tips will help you delay the overall process of tarnishing and ensure your jewelry is in the best condition for as many years as possible.

Clean it after you wear it

After wearing your silver jewelry, you can use warm water and a cloth to wipe it down before you store it. This is a quick and easy step that can be integrated into your daily routine to help slow down the tarnishing process as much as possible.

Take rings off then cooking

Taking your rings off when cooking and washing up is a good habit to get into as it will help maintain the longevity of your jewelry. Cooking oils and other ingredients can speed up the tarnishing process if they come into contact with your silver jewelry.


Be conscious about how you choose to store your sterling silver. The main thing that you want to avoid is humidity, as it exponentially speeds up the tarnishing process. Make sure to keep your silver jewelry in a jewelry box or enclosed space that is not too warm.

How do you untarnish silver jewelry

Professional jewelers clean your tarnished silver jewelry by using a cleaning cloth and cleaning solution. This a formula created specifically with silver jewelry in mind. The clothes are 100% cotton and include a form of anti-tarnish oil. They also use a solution that the jewelry can be submerged in.

Best DIY methods to clean silver jewelry

Although professionals do it in a very specific manner, there are different ways to clean silver jewelry. Here are some of the best ways to clean silver jewelry at home:

Baking soda paste

Baking soda is the holy grail of cleaning, and it’s no different when it comes to cleaning sterling silver jewelry. This baking soda paste is easy to make at home and is a foolproof method to clean your silver.

Simply add a spoonful of baking soda into half a spoonful of water. You want two parts baking soda to one part water. Mix it together until it has formed a paste. Then, all you need to do is rub the paste into the jewelry and make sure you apply it into all the crevices. Once the chain, ring, bracelet or earring has been completely covered in the paste, rinse it off and dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Vinegar and baking soda

If the water and baking soda paste was not strong enough to do the job, you might have to substitute the water for vinegar to accomplish the desired result. This method takes a little longer and involves soaking the jewelry, but is a much stronger solution than the baking soda and water paste.

All you need to do is mix ½ a cup of white vinegar and two tablespoons of baking soda into a bowl or a cup. Once completely mixed in, place your jewelry into the solution and let it sit there for a couple of hours. Once it has sat there for a substantial amount of time, take it out and rinse off any excess solution and polish it with a soft cloth.


This is a method that you might not have heard of, or be cautious to try, but as weird as it sounds toothpaste will help you remove tarnish from your sterling silver jewelry.

Mix a small amount of toothpaste with a little bit of water and use a clean toothbrush to scrub it into your silver jewelry. Then simply rinse the jewelry. The most important thing to remember here is not to use whitening toothpaste as the ingredients used in whitening formula may damage your jewelry.

Soap and water

Sometimes, the simplest method is the best solution to your problem. Mixing a little bit of soap and water and placing your jewelry collection into the solution will often be all it takes. Once your jewelry is sitting in the water, simply use your hands to wash them and pat them dry with a soft cloth.

What is the quickest way to clean silver?

Here is the material you will need:

  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of white salt
  • ½ a cup of white vinegar
  • 1 sheet of tin foil
  • 1 bowl
  • 1 cloth


  1. First things first, boil your water.
  2. Whilst your water is boiling, you can prep everything else. Get your bowl in front of you and line it with tin foil, making sure the shiny side is facing up.
  3. Once the bowl is lined, add the salt and baking powder on top of the tin foil.
  4. Now, slowly add your vinegar on top of your salt and baking soda. The mixture will begin to fizz a little so do this step gradually so you don’t overwhelm the combination. The aim is to ensure all of the salt and baking soda is dissolved.
  5. Once everything is dissolved, you can add in your boiling water.
  6. Next it’s time to drop in your jewelry. You simply drop your collection into the solution and watch the chemical reaction do its job.
  7. Now it’s time to take each piece of jewelry out and polish them with your cloth. When you’re taking the jewelry out of the bowl, be careful as the water will be hot.

Following this quick and easy method will ensure your sterling silver comes out looking as good as new. If you have all the components at home, it’s a low-cost alternative to going to a jeweler.

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