We forget, though, that over the days, weeks, and months, our activities take a toll on our lovely sterling silver jewelry. It can tarnish and is sensitive to oxygen. Worst case scenario is your silver turns almost black!
Caring for your sterling silver can be simple if your head is in the game.
Exactly what constitutes “sterling” silver?
True sterling silver is actually 92.5% silver. It’s mixed with other types of metals like copper to strengthen the finished piece since silver alone is too weak to sustain its condition for long. You can identify sterling silver by looking for one of the following stamps:
All of these mean the same thing, but it’s good to know when prepping your jewelry for cleaning.
Different Methods for Cleaning Your Sterling Silver
It pays to know a few different ways to clean your silver jewelry. You’ll find that most methods of cleaning can be done at home in between bingeing episodes of your fave show.
Before we dive in, if your sterling silver jewelry contains delicate gems, you’ll need to find an alternate cleaning method that suits the gem’s sensitivity.
Clean Silver with a Special Cleaners
Let’s start off easy.
Polish, special cloths, even gloves--you’ll find quite the assortment of silver-polishing options when you search online.
There is no one perfect product, but for starters, you may want to just get a simple polishing cloth that contains polishing compounds. Not only can you restore your sterling silver shine, but you can also remove oxidation with the right polishing cloth.
Other products you’ll see on the market include:
- Polish mitts - Yes. They exist. And they’re that kind of cute where you don’t know why it’s cute. Choose one in your favorite color and be careful when using it. Silver scratches easily, which would just be really uncool.
- Polish gloves - Same thing, but with places for your fingers!
- Just polish - Yup. You can get a tub of silver polish from almost any major retailer (just be sure it’s good to go for jewelry). Then, use an old cotton cloth to apply the polish. You can wipe off the extra and/or run your sterling silver piece through some warm water. Just be sure to dry it off!
- Foams - It sounds kind of extra, but you can also find foam polish for sterling silver.
- Special jewelry cleaners - Read the labels carefully, but you’ll find some cool brands that make excellent liquid cleaners designed especially for your bling.
- Wadding - Sometimes you can find a good metal wadding polish set. Wadding is a cluster of special cotton that you just tear a piece of it off to polish your sterling silver.
If you don’t want to purchase any of these, you can try the next method at home for just a couple bucks!
Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda
Ready to restore the luster and shine of your silver? What about saying goodbye to tarnished pieces?
Well then, grab your aluminum foil, some warm-to-hot water (not boiling!), and your preferred brand of baking soda. It’s time to clean.
- Line a pan with aluminum foil, shiny side up.
- Place your sterling silver pieces on top of the foil. Be sure they’re not touching.
- Throw in around two tablespoons of baking soda or enough to cover your jewelry.
- Pour hot (not boiling) water over the baking soda to activate it. It’s best to pour a little bit at a time to ensure you really mix up the baking soda and water for maximum cleaning.
Now go do some yoga or meditation for around half an hour--give yourself a break, you deserve it! When your timer goes off, simply extract your silver jewelry from the solution and dry off with a soft cloth.
Doesn’t it look better? Your BFF and fam will notice, we’re sure of it!
Ultrasonic Cleaners and Sterling Silver
If your pieces have really intricate designs, you may want to consider an automatic jewelry cleaner. Ultrasonic cleaners were invented just for this. They hold a prepared solution that creates micro-bubbles that lift away residue on your jewelry. It’s all moved around by ultrasound.
Be careful though. If your silver has a gem setting, you may run the risk of the gems falling out.
Go to Your Jeweler
Get your piece professionally cleaned when all else fails. We know you have a lot on your plate, so don’t be afraid to drop off your pieces and let the experts handle it. You’ll have the reassurance they have your back and won’t damage your sterling silver.
Some cooler companies (like us) do offer lifetime tarnish guarantees so you can sit back and let the pros handle your sterling silver with care and experience!
How to Care for Your Sterling Silver Jewelry
When you’re not wearing or cleaning your sterling silver, you need proper storage in order to keep your pieces from damage and oxidation.
When you’re about to hop into bed, take a few moments to wipe down your jewelry.
Save Your Sterling Silver: Wipe it Off
We know it’s gross, but your body and routines are constantly affecting your sterling silver. Our skin produces oils that transfer to your jewelry. Over time, this can cause tarnishing and dulling. Also, the soaps, lotions, and perfumes you use will gnaw away at the fabulosity of your silver.
It’s best to purchase a dedicated polishing rag and habitually wipe down your jewelry at the end of the day when you remove it.
Sterling Silver Storage
Sterling silver does not like to hang out with other sterling silver pieces. That’s why you should separate your pieces when storing them so they don’t touch each other. Those loners will thank you for it later!
If you don’t have an airtight jewelry box, your sterling silver will suffer. Oxygen and pollutants in the air will tarnish your silver jewelry over time. Until you can get yourself a chic jewelry box, try putting sterling silver in a specialized baggie and keep it in a dark place. Just be sure to let the air out before you close the baggie shut! The less exposure to oxygen, the better.
Warning: don’t use plastic bags, plastic wraps, or rubber bands for storage! Both contain acids that will tarnish and even physically damage your silver sweeties.
When you purchase sterling silver pieces, you can even just keep the packaging that they came in.
We’ve Got Your Quality Sterling Silver Jewelry Right Here
At the end of the day, your sterling silver pieces should be crafted with love and attention, and better yet, it should tell a story, too.
We want all of your sterling silver jewelry to mean something. That’s why we founded Rellery. Our jewelry is ethically crafted in the USA, and we cut out the snooty salespeople who try to sell you poorly-made pieces at exorbitant prices.
You’ll find sterling silver rings, bracelets, necklaces, and more that make perfect gifts for mama, your sis, and your BFF. Create something they’ll cherish forever!
Plus, our close-knit team will deliver your pieces straight to your door in beautified packaging that makes you feel special. Because we care.
We promise you’ll fall in love with our jewelry. You’ll also get a lifetime tarnish guarantee which means that you can easily send your sterling silver back to us when it’s time and we’ll revive it to its original luster, so what have you got to lose? Come explore and find that unique special something that’s perfect for what you need it for.