Who doesn’t adore silver jewelry? We’ve all felt that magnetic pull towards a stunning silver necklace or those adorable silver earrings that just scream ‘wear me.’ Silver has this magical ability to make us feel a bit royal. There is something about its shimmer that goes beyond time and trends, making it the ideal choice for both the casual outings and glamorous occasions.
But just like other precious things, silver jewelry needs a tad bit of care. Ever seen a gorgeous silver piece covered in a dull black coating? It zaps away all its radiance. As beautiful as silver is, exposure to air takes its toll, turning it black. Silver reacts with the sulfur in the air and voila! Enter silver sulfide, the whack black coating that shows up uninvited. Not only does it rob the jewelry of its beauty, but it also leaves marks on the skin when worn. The only remedy of this misery is a thorough cleanse to restore the original charm of our favorite jewelry piece. Let’s discuss this cleaning process and steps to clean silver jewelry at home.
Understanding your Silver Jewelry
Now before we dive into the cleaning process, let’s familiarise ourselves with the types of silver jewelry to have a clearer perspective on the upcoming journey. Typically, silver pieces are crafted from sterling silver or coated with silver rather than being pure silver. These have a lower percentage of silver and are more likely to tarnish and lose its lustre.
- Pure Silver- Rare and precious, pure silver contains a whopping 99.9% silver.
- Sterling Silver- It is the sturdy cousin, made up of around 7.5% copper and 92.5% silver. Cleaning sterling silver is fairly easy and also it is more durable than other kinds.
- Silver Plated- Having a delicate layer of silver spread over metals like copper, brass or bronze, they demand a gentle touch when cleaning, to keep that silver layer happy and intact.
How often should you clean Silver Jewelry?
It’s a common habit to wait until our bracelets, earrings, and necklaces turn black before giving them a good clean. While this might seem convenient, it’s recommended to include cleaning into your routine every fortnight. By making it a regular practice, you’ll keep your jewelry shining and sparkling without the need to wait for that noticeable tarnish.
Cleaning Silver at Home
While we have always heard of reaching out to the store-bought jeweler for cleaning, there’s also a fantastic DIY cleaner waiting to be discovered right at home. You don’t necessarily require a bunch of specialized cleaning products to keep your jewelry looking brand new! Simply search through your drawers at home and use everyday items to seamlessly integrate the cleaning process.
How to make Silver Shine
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to ‘How to clean silver jewelry.’ What works on Athena Square might not work on The Regal Band. Feel free to test and try different methods to find what suits your silver jewelry best. Here is one of the methods, using regular cleaners like dish soap:
- Any brush with soft bristles
- Detergent or dish soap
- Microfiber cloth
- A Large bowl
Step 1: Mix detergent or dish soap with water
In a bowl, mix a bit of dish soap or detergent with warm water, ensuring it is NOT too hot.
Step 2: Soak the Jewelry
Place your silver jewelry into the mix and let it soak for five to seven minutes. If it’s been a while since the last cleaning, consider extending the soak a bit.
Step 3: Get Brushing
After its soothing soak, carefully take it out and lightly brush the crevices with a soft brush.
Step 4: Rinse and Dry
Return the jewelry to lukewarm water for a rinse. Then, gently rub and pat it dry with a microfiber towel. Since silver tarnishes easily, it is advisable to use a silver polishing cloth after each cleaning to maintain the metal’s shine.
How do You Clean Heavily Tarnished Silver Jewelry
While extremely oxidized silver may require polishing, there are cleaning methods that work well for heavily tarnished silver. The method described below uses electrolytic action instead of chemical-polish abrasion, effectively removing tarnish from oxidized silver without affecting the core metal.
- A container big enough for the silver jewelry
- Aluminum foil
- Baking soda
- Hot water
Step 1: Wrap your silver jewelry in aluminum foil. Next, prepare a solution in a container by combining hot water with a few tablespoons of baking soda. Adjust the baking soda quantity based on your jewelry’s size or tarnish level.
Step 2: Wrap your silver items in foil and place them in a hot water and baking soda solution. Let it work its magic for a while. If the water cools, add more hot water. Check periodically; if tarnish persists, rewrap and soak again.
Step 3: Unwrap the silver, you will notice the tarnish transferred to the foil. Wash and rinse the jewelry, then dry with a soft cloth. Optionally, polish with any silver polish for that extra shine.
How to prevent tarnish
While silver cleaning is undoubtedly an option, taking steps to prevent tarnish can be an even more effective way to keep your silver jewelry shiny and looking brand new for a prolonged period.
Wear silver jewelry often
It might sound a bit surprising, but wearing your silver jewelry often actually helps maintain its shine, thanks to the natural oils from your skin. This simple act is one of the most effective ways to prevent tarnishing, far better than letting it sit idly in a jewelry box.
Remove during household chores
Contact with chemical substances like chlorinated water, household cleaners, and sweat can speed up the corrosion process of silver. That’s why it’s crucial to remove silver items before engaging in cleaning or washing activities to safeguard them against unnecessary wear.
Avoid direct sunlight
To maintain the luster of your silver, it’s recommended to take off your pieces before heading to the beach, pool, or any other areas directly exposed to sunlight. Sun exposure can accelerate tarnishing, so a little precaution goes a long way in preserving the brilliance of your cherished silver items.
While we have choices to clean and maintain the allure of our beautiful jewelry, it’s equally important to prioritize preventive measures against damages. We’ve got to be like bodyguards for our bling, shielding them from any potential harm. Think of it as giving your jewelry a VIP treatment – not just for today but for the long haul.