Silver Jewellery: Clean and Care

January 02, 2017

There are many elements in our daily lives that can cause our jewellery to tarnish rapidly, and where possible, should be avoided. Saying that, ‘we’ are merely human and most likely won't be wrapped up in cottonwool. So, why don’t we start by telling you…

“Your silver CAN be saved, no matter how tarnished and discoloured it might look!”

Tarnish. Tarnish. Tarnish.
Tarnished jewellery doesn’t mean the end of your jewellery. Imagine Cinderella’s scenario, she’s still beautiful underneath all the dirt and grime right? Your jewellery just needs a little TLC too and it will scrub up just as well as our Cin. So before you toss that blackened/yellowed pair of earrings to the pit of the universe, read on!

Let’s us first look at the various evil factors that can affect our silver jewellery so you can try and avoid what you can. Later, we’ll look at what to do if they can’t be avoided.

Bad Things
Here are a few things around us that can cause jewellery to tarnish, in some cases, quicker than others. 

  • Perfume
  • Hairspray
  • Moisturiser, cosmetic products, some toiletries
  • Household cleaning products
  • Various wax, including leather wax
  • Washing detergents and bleach
  • Foods such as eggs and onions
  • Air pollution (particularly in urban and industrial areas)
  • Pool water
  • Acidic skin
  • High sulphur content in your water (can you smell rotten egg in your water?)
  • Latex
  • Wool
  • Sun, sea, sand

Now let’s look at what we can realistically do to avoid these 'bad things'.

Possible Preventions

  • Remove jewellery before showering, swimming, playing sports and doing housework.
  • Leave putting on jewellery as the last step of your getting ready routine.
  • Remove jewellery before heading to the beach.
  • Remove jewellery before receiving any beauty treatments.
  • Don’t sleep in your jewellery. It can scratch you as well as getting scratched.
  • Wash & dry your jewellery regularly (cleaning guide coming up).
  • Don’t use tissue, paper towel or abrasive cloth to dry jewellery
  • Store well – dry/airtight is best and keep each pieces separated to avoid scratches.
  • When removing jewellery, ensure that it’s dry before storing.
  • Don’t have food fights (don’t forget, eggs are in mayonnaise too).

Silver ring cleaning with soapy water and a toothbrush
Clean well-Dry well-Store well

It's always a good idea to give your jewellery a clean now and then to keep it looking nice and new. It doesn't need to be an elaborate clean, just a good wash, rinse and dry - dry really well, then store really...really well. 

Regular Clean:

  • Clean thoroughly using washing up liquid and warm water with soft lint-free cloth or a soft toothbrush
  • Rinse well under running water
  • Dry well with a soft lint-free/microfiber cloth
  • Pieces with intricate details and hard to reach places – dry using a hair dryer on low heat
  • Check that your jewellery is completely dry before storing it away

Removing Tarnish:
When your jewellery starts to change colour, or if one day you reach into your jewellery box and find a black scary stain on your favourite pendant (certain chemicals can turn your jewellery overnight!), don't fret! Here are few simple ways to remove tarnish from your jewellery. 

Silver polishing cloth
Polishing cloths are great for bringing out the shine of silver and removing early stage of tarnish. This method is particularly effective for silver jewellery with smooth/shiny surfaces. Use back and forth movement rather than circular motion, moving to different parts of the cloth once the area is covered in black residue (tarnish you’ve just removed from the jewellery).

Silver bangle being cleaned with a silver polishing cloth

Olive oil & lemon juice
Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice with 1 tsp. olive oil. Dip a microfiber cloth in the solution and wring it out. Use the cloth to polish your silver jewellery, rinse under running water and dry well.

Baking soda & white vinegar
If your jewellery is quite heavily tarnished, try soaking it in 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tbsp. baking soda for a couple of hours. Don’t be alarmed if the solution fizzes up. Rinse under running water and dry well.

Baking soda & foil
You’ll need baking soda, salt, and foil. Line a saucepan or a heat proof container with foil (dull side down). Put your jewellery in the foil lined container and pour boiling water over it until it is covered, then add 1 tbsp. of baking soda and 1 tbsp. of salt. Gently stir until baking soda and salt granules are dissolved. You should start to see tarnish transferring from your jewellery to the foil within 5-10 minutes. Carefully remove jewellery from the hot water, then rinse under running water, dry and polish with a soft/lint-free cloth.

Ideally, jewellery should be stored in an airtight container - away from direct sunlight, moisture and heat. If you don’t have access to airtight storage such as Ziploc bags, try and keep your jewellery in a place with low humidity as much as possible - bathroom is definitely not the best place. Adding a bag of activated charcoal can also help to remove sulphur from the air around the silver. Silver surfaces can be delicate and they can scratch each other easily. Try and avoid storing multiple jewellery pieces in the same bag/box loosely if you can help it. 

Silver pendant sealed in a ziplock bag

Silver is a precious metal. Treat it well and it can stay looking good for a very long time. Remember, if you ever get into a situation where you’ve left it too long and your silver has become overly tarnished, it doesn’t mean the end. You can always take it to your nearest jewellers for their jewellery cleaning services.

If you purchased your jewellery from ArtsCraftsJewels and you need a little extra help bringing your jewellery back to life, let us know! We’re more than happy to help. Stay Fabulous!

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