How to Clean Silver Jewelry

March 11th, 2022

You may notice your silver jewelry tarnishing more quickly than other pieces. This is because silver reacts with numerous chemicals in the environment, causing oxidation and forming a tarnish. Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that makes your silver jewelry appear a dull gray or black color.

Silver plated and sterling silver jewelry like necklaces, bracelets, and rings can tarnish after being in contact with your natural body oil and sweat. Chemicals in beauty products like lotions and perfumes may also react with your jewelry causing them to tarnish. Luckily, fine jewelry is easy to clean at home using products you already have available.

How to Clean Silver Jewelry

You can clean your sterling silver and silver plated jewelry using the same method.

To clean your silver pieces, you need to:

  • Mix a few drops of a gentle soap like dishwashing liquid or baby shampoo into warm water. The container you use should be big enough to fit the pieces you want to clean.
  • Let your jewelry soak in the soapy water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Use a soft cloth or soft-bristled brush, like a baby toothbrush, to clean your piece of jewelry.
  • Rinse off your jewelry in a separate container of warm water.
  • Dry your jewelry with a soft cloth, like a microfiber towel. Avoid using paper towels, which can scratch your silver jewelry. You can even use a silver polishing cloth designed to make your silver jewelry shine.
Silver jewelry soaking in cleaning solution

What to Avoid When Cleaning

Never clean your silver jewelry with abrasive cleaners or brushes. Some abrasive products can scratch or damage your jewelry since silver is a soft metal. You’ll want to avoid baking soda, dishwasher and laundry detergents, and acidic products like tomato sauce.

Consider taking your pieces to a jeweler if your jewelry needs a more thorough cleaning than a soft-bristled brush, and gentle soap can provide. They have the tools, like an ultrasonic cleaner and jewelry cleaning solvent, to professionally clean your silver jewelry safely.

A collection of cleaned silver jewelry

How To Protect Your Silver Jewelry

All silver jewelry loses its shine, but you can reduce how quickly it tarnishes. Storing your pieces away from chemicals and moisture when you’re not wearing them helps slow tarnishing. You can also buy rhodium plated silver jewelry. Rhodium plating protects the sterling silver underneath from oxidation.

You should also consider protecting your fine jewelry by getting it insured. Jewelry insurance protects your pieces against damage, theft, and loss. BriteCo offers a fast, easy and affordable way to get jewelry insurance. Use our online quote tool to get a custom quote in 60 seconds and get the coverage you need to protect your fine silver jewelry.

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About the Author

Dustin Sitar is the Director of Marketing and Operations at BriteCo dedicated to consistently serving and motivating customers through education and inspiration. Prior to joining BriteCo, Dustin was a Senior Analyst on the Merchandising Strategy team at Zappos.com focused on bringing new products to the market. He holds an MBA in Finance from the W.P. Carey School of Business.
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