Jewelry Trends

“Can Sterling Silver Get Wet?” And Other Questions About Sterling Silver Care

Rachel Akmakjian


Rachel Akmakjian

You likely know sterling silver as the stronger, less pure, and arguably better sibling to pure silver. Whereas pure silver is a fragile, delicate metal and unsuitable for many uses (including in jewelry pieces with gemstone settings), sterling silver is the most durable and affordable compared to many other precious metals. For this reason, the metal alloy is in jewelry boxes and cases, where it is more favorable over pure silver.

All that said, sterling silver jewelry is not indestructible. You’ll want to take proper care of your sterling silver jewelry to keep it looking its best for years.


Clean Sterling Silver

What You Will Learn

Can You Get Sterling Silver Wet?

First, let’s talk about the most innocuous substance that comes into contact with your jewelry daily: water. You probably think it’s pretty innocent, right? There are no harsh chemicals. You might not even use soap.

But can 925 sterling silver get wet at all?

In truth, it’s a bit of a tricky question. In limited quantities, pure water won’t immediately harm your sterling jewelry. However, it’s difficult to confirm that all water that comes into contact with your jewelry is pure. Even the plain water that comes out of your tap at home contains some degree of harsh chemicals. Plus, even the lightest touch of water on your sterling silver can, over time and with repeated offenses, cause damage.

For these reasons, it’s best to remove sterling silver jewelry so that it doesn’t get wet rather than risk the tarnish that could occur otherwise. Don’t wear sterling silver in a pool, hot tub, hot spring, shower, or bathtub, and remove sterling silver rings before washing your hands or doing the dishes. (Even all-natural hot springs contain minerals that can damage your jewelry significantly.)

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What About Pure Silver?

But what about pure silver? If you’re thinking of just pure silver, not sterling silver, can you get silver wet?

While it’s true that pure silver is not apt to tarnish the way that sterling silver does, it’s still a good idea to keep this delicate metal away from any liquids that could contain harsh chemicals of any type.

How to Clean Sterling Silver

But if the answer to “Can you get 925 sterling silver wet?” is a resounding “No!”… Well, then, how do you clean sterling silver?

The best way to clean sterling silver is simply using a very soft, silver-specific cloth to buff the metal clean. If that doesn’t work, you can use a very mild dish detergent and warm water, but don’t let the jewelry sit in the water. Rinse it off and then dry it thoroughly.

When you clean sterling silver, avoid using so-called jewelry cleaning “hacks” that encourage you to use baking soda, vinegar, or other pantry items to clean your jewelry. These are not trusted, tested, professional cleaning methods, and there’s always the chance that you’ll irreparably damage your high quality sterling silver.

But wait — if we said the answer to “Can sterling silver get wet” was a big “No,” why are we saying you can use water to clean your sterling silver jewelry?

It all comes down to conditions.

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Why can you use water to clean sterling silver if you shouldn’t get sterling silver wet?

When you wear your sterling silver necklace in the shower or pool, the pool chemicals will most definitely damage the silver. Then, in the shower, even if you don’t use chemical-laden shampoos and conditioners, the necklace will still be wet for an extended period of time. It’s unlikely that, right after you hop out of the shower, you’ll spend the extra time wiping and thoroughly drying every link in your necklace. On top of all this, these are conditions wherein the humidity levels are likely relatively high, and humidity all on its own can cause tarnishing.

In other words, the chances of damage are much higher in these situations that guarantee exposure to harsh chemicals or extended exposure to water. When you attentively clean sterling silver, however, you’re more likely to be careful and quick about thoroughly drying every nook and cranny.

Prevention is the Best Method for Keeping Your Sterling Silver Clean

Avoiding damaging sterling silver wet situations is just one example of the very best way to ensure your sterling silver stays clean and tarnish-free is by ensuring it doesn’t get tarnished or dirty in the first place.

Beyond keeping your sterling silver jewelry dry, consider

  • Wearing your jewelry often
    Wearing your silver more frequently can help prevent tarnishing, as the oils in your skin naturally act as a preventative barrier.
  • Putting your jewelry on last
    As you get ready, you use a lot of different cosmetics and other harsh chemicals. Think about it. Perfume, body lotion, hairspray — it all helps you put together your look. Still, it also can wreak havoc on your favorite jewelry.To keep your jewelry looking lovely, put your jewelry on last, right before you walk out the door, so you’re not inadvertently spraying your favorite necklace with Chanel or covering your rings in texturizing spray.
  • Storing your jewelry appropriately
    Choose a dry, dark, climate-controlled spot for storing your sterling silver jewelry. After you remove your jewelry each day, dry it off with your handy jewelry and silver-specific cleaning cloth before storing it. This practice will help remove any oils, dirt, grime, or moisture the jewelry picks up throughout the day.

preventive measures

Keep Your Sterling Silver Safe

Don’t just keep your sterling silver safe from tarnishing and other water and care-related damage. Keep it safe from accidents, loss, and theft, too. After all, what’s your plan if you take your rings off to keep them safe while you’re at the pool, and then you realize they’re missing from your beach bag after your swim? Or, what will you do if you take your rings off to do the dishes, and then a family member accidentally knocks them down the drain?

If you have jewelry insurance, you have coverage in nightmare situations like these. BriteCo’s comprehensive policies cover your worst accidents and mishaps, ensuring you can keep wearing the pieces you love without worry. Get your quote today.

Also Check:

Does Clear Nail Polish Keep Jewelry From Tarnishing?
How to Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry? | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance
How to Clean Silver Jewelry | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance

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Rachel's expertise is further enhanced by her distinction as a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA), equipping her with exceptional knowledge in gem identification and grading. Her education and experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the demands and expectations facing jewelers and customers in today’s evolving retail marketplace.