Learn how to clean silver jewellery. Top tips and techniques to keep your silver jewellery looking as good as new. A bit of time and knowledge and your silver jewellery can sparkle for a lifetime.
Discover DIY techniques that will keep your silver sparkling
No one likes the word tarnish. But silver and tarnish can go hand in hand if silver is not cared for properly. Tarnish is a natural occurrence. Over time it can affect all items of silver, including jewellery.
Tarnish is corrosion. As silver gets exposed to air, a chemical reaction can occur if the air contains sulphur or hydrogen sulphur. For this reason, advice is that you keep silver jewellery in an airtight container. But jewellery is designed to be worn, not to sit in airtight containers. And everyday jewellery like engagement and wedding rings will probably never see the inside of an airtight container.
Is it possible to prevent tarnish on silver?
In short, no, unless you are willing to lock your jewellery away forever. However, there are lots of things you can do to slow down the process.
Storing silver jewellery
If possible, use an airtight container when you are not going to be wearing the jewellery. If there is no airtight container available, then store each piece of jewellery separately in a soft bag. Keeping jewellery separate avoids any potential scratches. Keep this bag somewhere dry and cool. A silica gel bag inside the soft bag will help keep moisture at bay, as would a piece of chalk. You could also buy anti-tarnish strips and pop them in the bag too.
Sunlight and jewellery
Sunlight makes jewellery glint and shine and look amazing whilst you are out and about. Just don’t leave your jewellery in the sunlight for long periods. Sunlight will speed up the tarnishing process, so avoid putting your silver rings on the bedside table if that table sits in sunlight most of the day.
Swimming with jewellery
Getting into a chlorinated pool is a big no for silver jewellery. The chemicals can react and cause damage and speed up the tarnishing process. So best to leave your precious jewellery at home or in the locker if you are taking a swim.
Sunbathing and jewellery
Firstly, you’ll be out in the sunshine for prolonged periods which we mentioned earlier is not great for silver jewellery. But you’ll be covering yourself in a lotion too, which can get into the intricate designs of your jewellery and again speed up the tarnishing effect. Avoid white tan lines and take the rings off before sunbathing if you can.
Personal products and jewellery
Nearly all personal products will have chemicals in them that could affect silver tarnishing. Perfume, lotions, makeup, hair spray are just some. Avoid the product sticking onto the outside of the jewellery by putting jewellery on after your products.
Wear it to protect it
It is a bit contrary to suggest keeping your jewellery in an airtight container to protect it and now write wear it to protect it. But regularly wearing your jewellery helps keep it from tarnishing. Simple wear of movement helps to keep the tarnish down. Even your body’s natural oils can help keep the jewellery nice and shiny too.
How to clean silver jewellery yourself
You don’t always need to go to a professional jeweller to clean your silver jewellery. However, if you are in doubt, then you definitely should use the services of a professional.
For most instances, it is easy and safe to clean silver jewellery at home.
How to clean silver jewellery with a silver polish
The most obvious route is to buy some specialist silver polish and use a soft polishing cloth. You only need a small amount of polish which you put directly onto the cloth. Then rub the cloth over the ring in an up and down motion. Rubbing in circles can show up any existing scratches, something you’ll want to avoid.
Pre-treated and ready to use cleaning cloths are available too. Here is a silver polish cloth we tested ourselves.
Moving around the ring, adjust the cloth, so you are not rubbing tarnish back onto the ring. When you are happy your rubbing has achieved the desired effect, wash the ring in warm water and dry properly with a soft dry cloth.
How to clean sterling silver jewellery with washing up liquid
A simple technique is to fill a small bowl with warm water, add washing up liquid and pop in the jewellery. Let it soak, then wash it off when ready. This method won’t get off all marks but will remove the greasy build-up common from everyday use. If you take a sponge or toothbrush, you can clean the jewellery in the soapy mix for added grime removal.
How to clean silver jewellery with Aluminium foil and laundry detergent
One up from washing up liquid is this DIY trick. Line a small bowl with aluminium foil and pour hot water inside. Add laundry detergent and stir. Place your jewellery inside the bowl and leave for around a minute. Take the jewellery out with tongs, wash with warm water and leave it out to dry.
How to clean jewellery with Aluminium and baking powder
If you want to know how to clean silver jewellery with aluminium foil, this is a popular method. Line a bowl with aluminium foil and add hot water. Add one tablespoon of baking soda for every cup of water added. Pop in the jewellery and leave for around 2-3 minutes. Remove the jewellery (it may be hot, so be careful) and leave it to dry.
How to clean silver jewellery with toothpaste
Toothpaste doesn’t just keep your teeth nice and clean; it can work wonders on silver rings and jewellery too. Just use a small amount on a soft sponge or toothbrush, rub it into the ring as you go. You can leave the toothpaste on for a few minutes to work its wonder, and then when done, wash off with warm water.
How to clean silver jewellery naturally
All of the above methods use products in the house. But for natural cleaning, old fashioned lemon juice and salt is a great option. Just fill up a bowl with hot water, add the juice of a lemon and 2-3 tablespoons of salt. Stir and then add your jewellery. Leave to soak for around 5 minutes. Remove (careful of the heat) and dry with a soft cloth.
How to clean silver jewellery with ketchup
Yes, you read that right, ketchup. This works much the same way as toothpaste and is equally effective. Just rub a small amount of ketchup on the ring with a toothbrush or sponge, leave on for a few minutes and wash off with warm water. Prepare to be amazed.
How to clean silver jewellery – rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings
As you can see, there are lots of DIY methods for cleaning silver jewellery at home. We would recommend that anything delicate or intricate goes to a professional jewellery cleaner. They will have the specialist kit to make sure nothing gets damaged and can clean those hard-to-reach spots.
However, there is plenty you can do to clean all types of silver jewellery.
How to clean silver chains
Try the washing up method first and then move onto aluminium and baking soda. If you are still not happy, then brush with toothpaste, but make sure the chain is strong enough to take brushing.
How to clean a silver necklace
Use the same methods outlined above. Make sure that the necklace is not too delicate to take a direct cleaning method. Soaking is better if the silver necklace is delicate.
How to clean silver earrings
As earrings are small, it is sometimes hard to clean with a brush, but if your silver earring design is simple, then a toothbrush will work well. Again, the soaking methods are the least likely to cause breakage.
How to clean silver rings
Silver rings are sturdier, so accept all the above DIY methods.
How to clean silver bracelet
Silver bracelets are usually strong and require a bit more effort to clean with a cloth, sponge or toothbrush. All the methods should work well on a bracelet.
How to clean silver jewellery – summary
You can clean silver jewellery at home easily, using many of the items you’ll find stocked on your shelves. You can buy silver polish and special silver polishing cloth too.
Without a doubt, the best cleaning will come from a professional. If you are cleaning something very intricate, delicate, valuable and perhaps old, then a professional jewellery cleaning is a great solution.
However, DIY silver cleaning solutions offer quick and easy cleaning at a fraction of the cost. With a little elbow grease or just some patience as you watch the jewellery soak, you’ll be amazed at how clean and bright your jewellery becomes. Keep your jewellery clean regularly to make sure no tarnish can build up and make what should be bright and sparkling, dull and lifeless.
And remember when the jewellery is clean and not being worn, store your precious jewellery out of the sunlight, in a soft bag (with chalk or silica gel pack inside) in a cool, dry place.
At Abiza, we want you to love our jewellery forever, so we hope these simple tips will help keep your jewellery sparkling for years to come.