How to Clean Your Silver Jewelry at Home
Silver jewelry is becoming increasingly popular in recent years as it is more affordable than gold and adds a special shine to both casual and formal outfits. However, over time your silver jewelry can lose its sheen, discolor, darken, and cover with a layer of tarnish.
What Is Tarnish?
When your silver jewelry comes into contact with sulfur gases in the air, It forms a thin layer of corrosion, and that layer is called tarnish. The majority of silver jewelry is protected from corrosion by a covering of corrosion-resistant rhodium.
Silver jewelry is a great choice for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it is simple to clean, even at home, using common household items. On the internet, you may find a variety of silver cleaning DIY methods, but be careful because many of them will cause more harm than good. Many common household cleaning products like vinegar and witch hazel are acidic and can damage jewelry. So here are some safe DIY methods to clean your silver jewelry at home using household products without harming it.
But first, you need to find out what type of silver is used in your jewelry, as each type requires different care. The two most common types are
- Sterling Silver jewelry that contains silver 92.5% and copper 7.5%
- Silver-plated jewelry is only covered with a thin layer of silver.
You should be more careful with silver-plated jewelry as it is more fragile. From the following methods only 1,7, 8 methods are recommended for silver-plated jewelry.
Notice: You should be extra careful if your ring or necklace has opals, pearls, turquoise, coral stone, or other natural materials. It is better to trust those pieces to professionals. The same goes for antique and vintage jewelry.
Dish Soap And Warm Water
This simple method is safe for all kinds of silver jewelry, even ones with gemstones.
Mix ammonia-free dish soap and warm water in a bowl. Keep stirring until bubbles form. Put your jewelry in it and let it soak for 5 minutes, then take them out of the water brush with a soft toothbrush. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth or paper towel. This method will remove the dirt and give the piece its shine back.
Cornflour And Water
Make a thick cornflour paste with water and apply it to the silver item. Leave the mixture to dry completely then rub it off with a soft cloth. This will restore the shine of your jewelry.
You might have heard of this one. Soak the jewelry for 5-10 minutes in a cup of beer. Remove the item and wipe it down with a clean soft cloth.
Coca-cola has been used to clean a range of things. Surprisingly enough it worked and it works with the silver too. Soak the jewelry in Coca-Cola for 10 minutes, then remove and rub with a cloth. This method is effective only in the case of slightly tarnished jewelry.
It might sound strange but yes you can clean your jewelry with ketchup. Squeeze ketchup on the jewelry and rub it carefully. If the tarnish persists, cover it with ketchup and leave it for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with water after rubbing with a soft microfibre towel.
Soda And Water
Mix 2 parts water with 1 part baking soda and you should have a paste-like substance. Apply it on your piece of leave to seep into the metal for one hour then scrub it with a soft-bristled toothbrush. After that, rinse the piece in warm water and dry it with a clean cloth.
Silver Polishing Cloth
Of course, you might not find silver polishing cloth in your pantry but this is an affordable and most importantly safe way to clean your jewelry. Jewelry polish cleaning cloth will remove dirt and tarnish as well as give the pieces their shine back.
Baking Soda And Aluminum Foil
The method is the most effective of the above mentioned and works even in the toughest of tarnish situations. You need baking soda, aluminum foil, a glass or ceramic bowl, boiling water, and a soft cleaning cloth.
- Fold aluminum foil and put it in the bowl with the shiny side up. Avoid using a metal bowl since the metal will react with the aluminum foil, use a glass or plastic bowl instead.
- Put your jewelry in the bowl on the aluminum foil. Make sure that the jewelry is touching the aluminum foil.
- Activate 2 tablespoons of soda with boiling water
- Pour boiling water with soda into the bowl. Make sure that the jewelry is fully submerged in the water.
- Leave for 2-5 minutes then take out the jewelry. if the tarnishing is severe, leave it for 10 minutes or more
- Rinse it under the cool weather and dry with a soft cleaning cloth.
After using any of the above-mentioned methods make sure to completely dry the jewelry. Remember moisture will speed up the tarnishing.
How to Prevent or Slow Down Tarnishing?
You won’t be able to completely prevent tarnishing, but you can slow it down and extend the life of your jewelry by following these simple steps.
- Keep it in a closed, dark, and dry place. Try wearing them frequently as natural oils produced by our body are protecting silver from tarnishing.
- Avoid wearing it while swimming pool and showering as chlorinated water can harm silver.
- Try to not leave your jewelry in the bathroom or in any other place with high humidity. Moisture speeds up the tarnishing. You can also keep a piece of chalk in your jewelry box, the chalk will absorb the moisture in the air.
- Take the jewelry off while doing house chores. As was already mentioned, harsh chemicals contained in the house cleaning products can damage silver jewelry especially silver-plated ones.
- Tarnishing can also be caused by your lotion and perfume, so remove your jewelry when applying them and wait until after the soak in before putting it back on.
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