How to Clean: Sterling Silver Jewellery

How to Clean:
Sterling Silver Jewellery

 

This one goes out to all of the cool tones lovers. Your pieces have arrived and now you're wondering: how do you keep them shining for as long as possible? When it comes to cleaning sterling silver, we've got you covered with our go-to advice. Let's get into it.

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What is Sterling Silver vs Silver-Plated?

925 sterling silver is an alloy made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. We plate our silver jewellery in rhodium, which gives it extra shine and durability. Rhodium is one of the costliest precious metals due to its rarity. All of our sterling silver pieces are stamped with ‘925’ to certify their authenticity.

Our sterling-silver plated pieces are plated with sterling silver on brass with a layer of anti-tarnish on top. These pieces are still incredibly durable and plated with exactly the same process as our sterling silver, however they are not marked with a '925' stamp as they are not 92.5% pure silver.

 

Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?

Sterling silver can in fact tarnish – it’s a natural reaction of silver when exposed to elements like oxygen and sulphur compounds in the air, forming a dark layer on the surface and diminishing its shine. It’s never permanent though, and sterling silver jewellery can be easily restored to its original incredible-ness. Our sterling silver jewellery is rhodium-plated which protects it and helps reduce long-term tarnishing. 

Sterling silver can also tarnish when exposed to chemicals present in perfume, hairspray, make-up, nail polish remover, body oils, sun tan lotion and deodorant. Our number one rule is to keep away the chemicals.

Regular cleaning and proper storage can help prevent tarnish from occurring. Additionally, wearing your sterling silver jewellery frequently can also help minimise tarnishing as the natural oils in your skin can act as a protective barrier. 

 

How to Clean Sterling Silver in Three Steps

  1. -/- Gently rub your piece with a soft microfibre cloth to polish it.
  2. -/- For deeper cleaning, use mild washing up liquid with warm water and a soft-bristle toothbrush.
  3. -/- Rinse with lukewarm water and dry with a clean cloth.

How Should I Store My Silver?

That soft-lined pouch that came in your recyclable Missoma packaging? Reuse it to store your jewellery pieces individually so they don’t rub together, scratch or tangle. Generally, your silver jewellery should be kept in a dark, cool and dry place. Living in a humid environment? Store your pieces with a small packet of desiccant crystals to help reduce tarnishing.

 

How Often Should I Polish My Silver?

We suggest a gentle polishing every few weeks to a couple of months, depending on how often you wear your jewellery. Less frequently worn pieces only need to be polished at most a few times a year. It’s really all about prevention by keeping your favourite styles away from chemicals and by storing them in the best way possible.

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Tips for Cleaning Silver Earrings

We all want a shining ear stack. Cleaning silver earrings can be done easily with a few simple steps. Gently rub the earrings with the soft, non-abrasive, and lint-free cloth or chamois to remove surface dirt and oils. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and dry with a clean cloth. To prevent future tarnish, store your silver earrings in a dark, cool place and avoid exposing them to harsh chemicals or moisture. Regular, gentle cleaning will help keep your silver earrings looking their best.

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Tips for Cleaning Silver Rings

Wanting to clean your stacking or statement rings? For deeper cleaning, use a mild washing up liquid with warm water, with a soft-bristle toothbrush, being careful not to damage any gemstones. Rinse the ring thoroughly with lukewarm water and dry it with a clean cloth.

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Tips for Cleaning Silver Necklaces

When it comes to cleaning your silver layers – whether they're chains, pendant necklaces, or intricate designs – it really is simple. Use your soft microfibre cloth to rub the necklace's surface gently. As with rings and earrings, if the tarnish is looking stubborn you can always use a soft-bristle toothbrush for extra cleaning power. We don’t recommend the use of any jewellery polishing cloths which have been treated with cleaners or polishing agents.

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FAQ'S

What is the best home remedy to clean sterling silver jewellery?

While we don’t recommend them, there are alternative cleaning hacks you can use with your sterling silver pieces including baking soda. We would suggest working instead with mild washing up liquid and a soft cloth.

Working Time: Cleaning sterling silver is a relatively quick process, typically taking about 15-30 minutes per item, depending on the tarnish level and intricacy of the design. Additional time may be needed for drying and polishing.

Skill Level: This cleaning method is suitable for individuals with basic to intermediate cleaning skills. No specialised expertise is required, but a gentle touch and attention to detail are important to avoid damaging the silver.

Total Time: The total time required for cleaning sterling silver can vary based on the number of items you need to clean. On average, plan for 30 minutes per piece, including cleaning, rinsing, and drying time.

To clean sterling silver, you will need the following equipment: a soft microfibre or lint-free cloth, mild washing-up liquid, a soft-bristle toothbrush, lukewarm water, a clean and dry cloth for polishing.

What is the best way to clean a sterling silver necklace?

Our cleaning tips above are our recommended way of taking care of your silver necklaces. However, especially with intricate or gemstone-studded necklaces, you might want to rely on local specialised cleaning services tailored to your specific piece.

What is the safest way to clean silver jewellery?

Look to our advice above for the safest way to clean your pieces – unmissable tips you won't want to be without.

Can Toothpaste Clean Sterling Silver?

While tempting to reach for that handy tube of toothpaste for a quick silver polish, tread carefully. Toothpaste can remove
tarnish, but its abrasiveness poses risks to delicate sterling silver. Here's the lowdown:

Pros:

- Mildly Abrasive: Toothpaste's gentle abrasives (like silica) can buff away light tarnish.

- Convenient: Often readily available, making it an "in-a-pinch" solution.

Cons:

- Scratching: Abrasive particles can scratch soft sterling silver, leaving permanent damage.

- Harsh Chemicals: Whitening toothpastes and flavorings can be harsh on silver, causing dullness.

- Not Ideal for All: Unsuitable for heavily tarnished, highly polished, or antique silver.

Safer Alternatives:

- Silver Polish: Formulated specifically for safe and effective cleaning.

- Baking Soda & Water Paste: A gentle DIY option.

- Professional Cleaning: For valuable or heavily tarnished pieces.

Remember: When in doubt, opt for gentler methods to avoid harming your sterling silver.

Bonus Tip: Store silver properly to minimize tarnish!

Is Baking Soda good to clean sterling silver with?

Sparkling silver, tarnished blues? Baking soda beckons as a natural cleaning solution, but is it truly the hero your jewelry
craves? Let's weigh the pros and cons:

Pros:

- Gentle Abrasive: Lifts mild tarnish without harsh chemicals.

- Readily Available: A budget-friendly option lurking in most pantries.

- Polishing Power: Buffing with a baking soda paste restores shine.

Cons:

- Not for Heavy Tarnish: May struggle with stubborn tarnish, requiring more effort.

- Scratching Risk: Overzealous scrubbing with coarse baking soda can scratch delicate silver.

- Not Ideal for All: Unsuitable for heavily polished or antique pieces, as it can dull the finish.

The Verdict:

Baking soda can be a good option for light cleaning and polishing, but proceed with caution! Use a soft cloth and gentle pressure, and consider alternatives like silver polish or professional cleaning for heavily tarnished or delicate pieces.

Bonus Tip: Store silver properly in airtight containers to minimize tarnish buildup!

 

How do you clean silver that has turned black?

Don't despair over blackened silver! Here are proven methods to restore its gleam:

For Light Tarnish:

- DIY Magic: Whip up a paste of baking soda and water. Gently rub with a soft cloth, rinse, and buff dry.

- Toothpaste Trick (Use With Caution!): Apply a pea-sized amount of non-whitening toothpaste. Rub gently, rinse thoroughly, and buff dry. Remember: This
method can scratch, so test on a small area first.

For Moderate Tarnish:

- Aluminum Foil Power: Line a bowl with aluminum foil, add hot water, baking soda, and salt. Immerse silver, let it soak (check progress!), rinse, and buff dry.

- Vinegar & Water Soak: Mix half white vinegar with lukewarm water. Soak silver for 2-3 hours, rinse, and buff dry. Caution: Not suitable for gemstones or delicate pieces.

For Heavy Tarnish or Delicate Items:

- Silver Polish Savior: Invest in a silver polish formulated for your specific type of silver. Follow the instructions carefully.

- Professional Touch: Seek a jeweler for expert cleaning and polishing, especially for valuable or intricate pieces.

Bonus Tip: Store silver in airtight containers with
anti-tarnish strips to prevent future blackening!

Can Coca Cola Clean Tarnished Silver?

While cola's acidity might seem like a quick fix for tarnished silver, proceed with caution! Here's the breakdown:

Pros:

- Acidic Power: The phosphoric acid in cola can dissolve mild tarnish.

- Convenient: A readily available "in-a-pinch" solution.

Cons:

- Scratching Risk: The carbonation and sugar can be abrasive, potentially scratching delicate silver.

- Uneven Cleaning: May leave streaks or splotches, requiring additional polishing.

- Harsh Chemicals: Flavorings and colorings in cola can dull or damage the silver's finish.

Alternatives:

- Silver Polish: Formulated for safe and effective cleaning.

- Baking Soda & Water Paste: A gentle DIY option.

- Professional Cleaning: For valuable or heavily tarnished pieces.

Verdict: While cola might work in a pinch for mild tarnish, its harshness and potential for damage make it a risky choice. Opt for gentler methods to keep your silver sparkling safely!

Bonus Tip: Store silver properly to minimize tarnish buildup!