How To Clean Silver Jewellery

Silver jewellery can tarnish easily, you may notice your silver rings, necklaces and bracelets looking rather rusty and discoloured after wearing them for some time. It is common to forget about the jewellery sitting in a box, waiting to be worn for that special occasion. However, it’s when silver jewellery is left for a while in a warm, dark area, and then exposed to air again, that a reaction occurs, leaving your silver with a black tarnish. Luckily, cleaning silver jewellery is pretty simple. Once you know how to do it, you can restore it to its former shine in no time. To keep your silver jewellery clean, consider buying a specialised cloth for it, and store it correctly to prevent tarnish. If you want to make your silver sparkle again, we will show you how to do exactly that.

Sterling Silver, Silver-Plated, Pure Silver

The make-up of the silver jewellery can help you figure out the best ways to clean silver and how easily it will become tarnished. 

You can tell if a piece of jewellery is sterling silver by looking for a tiny marking that reads “925”. This can be found on the inside of a ring, or the small tag that hangs at the end of the chain of a necklace or bracelet. This indicates the jewellery item is 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent another sort of metal such as copper. A silver-plated piece has a thin layer of silver over another metal, like nickel or copper. Pure silver, just like the name, is made from 100 percent complete silver without any other metals. All types of silver lose their shine after some time, but pure silver doesn’t tarnish or lose its shine as quickly as others.

Here are 4 simple steps to clean silver jewellery:

  1. Add a few drops of washing-up liquid to a bowl of warm water and stir it to create a froth. Leave the jewellery to sit in the soapy water for about 5 minutes.
  2. With a soft toothbrush, scrub at the tarnished piece and make sure to get to the crevices. 
  3. Rinse each jewellery piece clean in another bowl with clean, warm water. If you choose to run it under water over the sink, use a bath or waste plug to prevent your jewellery from going down the drain.
  4. Dry each item thoroughly with a soft cloth. Don’t use tissue paper as it can scratch your silver jewellery.

How To Clean Sterling Silver Jewellery

If your piece has the “925” marking on it, you know for sure it’s a sterling silver piece of jewellery. Baking soda is an abrasive natural cleaning agent great for removing tarnishes on sterling silver jewellery. Make sure to be completely certain whether the jewellery is sterling silver as baking soda will scratch other types of silver.

  1. Start by mixing 2 parts baking soda with 1 part water to create a paste, then with a soft cloth, apply the paste to your jewellery. 
  2. Leave the paste to dry onto the silver jewellery piece to remove the discolouration or black tarnish.
  3. Rinse off the excess baking soda with water, then dry your jewellery with a soft or microfibre cloth.

Alternatively, soak your sterling silver in a bowl of white vinegar with 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in it, and leave the sterling silver in the bowl for about 2 hours. After 2 to 3 hours, remove the jewellery from the bowl, and dry the piece thoroughly with a microfiber cloth. If you have polish, use it as soon as the jewellery is dry. This method can also be used with cornstarch.

Other Ways To Clean Silver Jewellery

Here are some alternative methods for cleaning silver jewellery:

Lemon Juice And Olive Oil

For this method, mix half a cup of lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Dip a clean microfiber or soft cloth into the cleaning mixture, then rub the silver jewellery until it sparkles. Proceed to rinse and dry your jewellery thoroughly.

Vinegar And Baking Soda

Combine half a cup of white vinegar with 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a bowl. Leave the silver jewellery in the bowl for 2 to 3 hours, then rinse and polish the silver jewellery.


NB – Do not use this method for silver plated jewellery.

Toothpaste works as a fast and effective cleaner when cleaning silver jewellery. All you need is some diluted toothpaste and a soft toothbrush, at which point you can  follow the same processes as above. Make sure not to use specific whitening toothpaste.

After reading this, you should be able to grab your tarnished jewellery pieces and clean them back to a pristine condition. To take away – store your jewellery properly in a soft, anti-tarnish bag, in a cool, dark place. Make sure to store silver jewellery somewhere with as little humidity as possible – you can do this by putting a piece of chalk or a silica gel bag to help absorb moisture. Remember not to leave silver jewellery in the bathroom, and remove jewellery before doing anything in water like washing dishes or swimming. Lastly, the easiest way to prevent discolouration or tarnish is to wear your jewellery, the daily friction of our lives can work miracles for making silver sparkle. 

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