With a subtle but sleek finish, sterling silver is a timeless addition to every jewellery box. However, one of the downsides of sterling silver is that it can tarnish quickly if not cared for properly. The metal reacts with the air over time and, given its light colouring, this means that sterling silver jewellery can become noticeably discoloured over time, not to mention dirty if you love your accessories so much you rarely take them off!
Whether you want to bring jewellery that has lost its shine back to life or ensure you know how to preserve the bright beauty of a new high-end piece, knowing how to clean sterling silver jewellery will ensure you can keep your items looking their best. We’re delighted to share our expertise in this guide to cleaning sterling silver jewellery.
What Do You Need To Know About Sterling Silver Jewellery?
Before you start unnecessarily scrubbing your jewellery, it’s important to fully understand why sterling silver needs care over time and what you can do to give it the love it needs.
Silver is a particularly reactive metal and responds to the environment around it. When moisture comes into contact with the metal, including sweat and water, a process called oxidisation can occur which darkens the finish of sterling silver over time. Sterling silver jewellery is also particularly susceptible to corrosion if it comes into contact with certain chemicals like household cleaning products and perfumes.
To prevent the need to actively clean your sterling silver jewellery and try and limit the effects of tarnishing, there are several things you can do. Take your jewellery off when performing jobs around the house, never bathe, shower or swim with it on, and always store it away from direct sunlight.
Our Sterling Silver Jewellery Cleaning Tips
Despite wearing your sterling silver jewellery in the right way and doing what you can to limit the likelihood of damage, some tarnishing may still occur. This can leave any wearer wondering how to clean sterling silver jewellery, as you’ll want to make sure that you don’t try anything that makes discolouration worse.
Fear not, the process of cleaning sterling silver is nice and simple if you follow our top tips.
Wear Your Jewellery Regularly
This tip is especially important if you have rediscovered an old favourite that is looking a little worse for wear after being neglected at the bottom of your jewellery box. Wearing sterling silver jewellery regularly is a great way of keeping it clean as natural oils from your skin can do wonders when it comes to maintaining the finish of the metal.
Polish With The Right Materials
Before you embark on the process of deep cleaning your jewellery, you should also check whether the tarnishing can be reversed with a quick polish. The discolouration from oxidisation may sit right at the top of the metal and therefore polishing could be just what your jewellery needs. Make sure that you use the correct materials as paper or tissue is too harsh and might scratch your favourite necklace or bracelet. At a minimum, you should use a non-abrasive cloth in back-and-forth motions, but we recommend using a specialist silver cloth if possible.
Use The Right Cleaning Solution
If polishing doesn’t get the results you are hoping for, it’s time to learn how to clean sterling silver with a cleaning solution. There should be no issues with cleaning your jewellery at home, provided you use the right products with patience.
Starting the cleaning process with some mild dish soap and warm water can be surprisingly effective. Use a small brush, like a toothbrush, to gently clean all the hard-to-reach areas of your jewellery. Take care to avoid any non-metal components, like stones and pearls.
You can also purchase specialist silver cleaner but if you opt for this method, proceed with caution as these harsh chemicals can quickly wear away any remaining anti-tarnish properties of your sterling silver jeweller.
Speak To Professionals
Lastly, make sure that you always utilise professional expertise when it comes to sterling silver jewellery. If you are still not sure how to clean sterling silver jewellery yourself or simply do not have the time, there are many specialist cleaning services that you can take advantage of. While these will come at a cost, they can help you to ensure that you get the finish you desire without creating any further damage.
Similarly, we recommend that you always purchase your sterling silver jewellery from a specialist jeweller. With years of experience providing a high-quality service to both new and returning customers, Bonds The Jewellers has lots of expertise with sterling silver jewellery and a unique range of products to match, including earrings, pendants, cufflinks and more. Simply browse the full range online today and don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team if you have any questions.