How To Clean Silver Jewelry: A Step by Step Guide

How To Clean Silver Jewelry: A Step by Step Guide

At BISOULOVELY, we make jewelry for magical girls. It’s our mission to create earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, and all sorts of fun pieces that add a touch of whimsy and wonder to your everyday outfits. We hope you love our baubles as much as we do, and we want you to be able to enjoy them for as long as possible.

We use so many types of beautiful metals and stones to make our one-of-a-kind pieces. From yellow gold to shiny silver, every metal finish requires some special TLC when it comes to cleaning. It can be confusing to know if you’re using the wrong cleaning method, especially when working with a new material.

If you’re new to cleaning silver, don’t be intimidated. We’ve got you covered! Below, we’re doing a deep dive into how to clean and care for your beloved silver pieces.

What Type of Silver Does BISOULOVELY Use?

All of our darling pieces start with a sterling silver base. We use sterling silver .925, a durable alloy made from a combination of 92.5% silver and 7.5% of another metal like copper or nickel.

Pure silver is very fine, but sterling silver is much more durable. This makes sterling silver it an easy contender for making fanciful jewelry pieces. It’s also less prone to tarnishing, so your beloved baubles can shimmer for much longer.

After creating our sterling silver base, we cover our pieces in rose gold, yellow gold, or rhodium. And, voilá! You have a beautiful BISOULOVELY piece. By caring for your whimsical adornments, you can enjoy your BISOULOVELY jewels for years to come.

When Is It Time To Clean Your Jewelry?

When it comes to cleaning jewelry, there is no exact timeframe to follow. You’ll know it is time to refurbish your favorite baubles when they start showing wear and tear.

When silver is exposed to air and other elements, a chemical reaction can occur. This causes the metal to tarnish or oxidize, essentially discoloring the metal and dulling its shine. Tarnished silver loses its shiny luster and instead has a dull, dark film covering the metal.

If you’re buying a plated piece, refer to our guide on how to care for plated jewelry — it needs to be treated differently than silver! But if you need advice on how to treat your tarnished silver, look no further.

Luckily, tarnish is not permanent. There are plenty of ways you can clean your silver pieces at home.

7 Tried and True Methods To Clean Your Silver Jewelry

You can always ship your pieces off to a jeweler to get them cleaned professionally, but these at-home jewelry cleaning fixes can help your silver jewelry shine like they’re brand new!

The Dish Soap and Water Method

When we clean sterling silver pieces, we love DIY methods that rely on household items you already own, like ketchup, cornstarch, and even lemon juice. The dish soap method is a simple, affordable, and oh-so-easy way to help your jewelry sparkle again.

To start, fill a small bowl with warm water. Add a drop or so of dish soap or laundry detergent and mix everything up. Then, grab a microfiber cloth and dip it into the soapy solution.

Retrieve your silver piece, and rub it gently with the soapy, soft cloth. Next, rinse your piece of jewelry with cold water and dry it off with a fresh, clean towel. Don’t use a paper towel, as these can scratch your jewelry.

You can stop the process here, but if you have a silver polishing cloth, now’s a wonderful time to buff your piece for added shine.

Wondering how to buff? Just take a microfiber cloth and work it around the piece in a circular motion. This will get the scratches out and get remove tarnish.

The Toothbrush Method

If you like the sudsy, soapy option above, this method adds a small tweak for a little extra love. Make the soap and water solution just like you did above, but let the jewelry soak in the solution for about five minutes.

After that, take a soft toothbrush and gently scrub the silver piece. You’ll want to get into all of the small crevices to make sure the tarnish really goes away. Then, rinse the jewelry and dry it.

Whatever you do, don’t use this toothbrush for brushing your teeth, okay?

The Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda Method

This is another easy, at-home method that makes use of your pantry essentials. This method is wonderful if you have multiple pieces you want to clean at once. You’ll need a large bowl to hold all of your silver pieces, aluminum foil, boiling water, and baking soda.

To start, take your aluminum foil and line the bowl. Then, fill the aluminum-lined bowl with a cup of boiling water and one tablespoon of baking soda. If you need more hot water to cover all of your silver items, add one tablespoon of baking soda per every cup of boiling water.

Add your earrings, bracelets, or any other silver pieces you want to zhuzh into the bowl. You can even use this to spruce up some silverware! Your silver rings, necklaces, bracelets, and other pieces should be touching the aluminum foil — this is important because it creates a chemical reaction that cleans the silver!

Once in the bowl, let the pieces sit for five to ten minutes. The more tarnished the silver, the more time you can leave the pieces soaking in the bowl. When time is up, take your pieces out of the baking soda solution and buff them with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.

The Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

This is nearly the same process as the method above, with an added ingredient for some extra cleaning intensity: white vinegar. White vinegar is made of acetic acid, a natural disinfectant that kills many common germs like salmonella and E. coli.

First thing’s first: You’ll want to repeat the process listed above. Once you have the aluminum foil and bowl set up with baking soda and water, you’ll want to add a teaspoon of salt and a cup of distilled white vinegar. Then, repeat the process as listed above.

This is great if your silver is very tarnished, and you need to get some extra shine.

The Toothpaste Method

Toothpaste can be used for so much more than cleaning your teeth. You’ve probably used it to get rid of pimples, but have you ever tried using your toothpaste to clean your jewelry? If not, now is the time!

Before you start this method, make sure you know exactly which type of toothpaste you are using because not all formulas are created equal. Whitening toothpaste is not gentle enough, and charcoal toothpaste will likely be too physically abrasive for the metal.

Add a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to a soft-bristled toothbrush or a microfiber cloth. Take the cloth or toothbrush and gently rub the silver until you see the tarnish disappear. Rinse the piece with warm water, making sure all signs of toothpaste residue are gone. Lastly, give your piece a nice dry with a clean cloth.

The Silver Polish Method

If you prefer to save your toothpaste for your teeth, no worries! Plenty of retailers sell commercial jewelry cleaners that are formulated to polish and protect your favorite pieces. There are cream and liquid options on the market — what you choose is completely up to you!

Once you pick the commercial silver cleaner you want, make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging. Your silver pieces will sparkle like they’re new.

The Take-It-to-the-Jewelers Method

We love affordable, at-home cleaning solutions, but if you would rather outsource your cleaning there are lots of options for that, too.

Bringing your favorite pieces to a jeweler for professionally cleaning is a wonderful way to ensure that your pieces are thoroughly cleaned. Plus, jewelers are experts, so you know your beloved jewels will be handled with the utmost care.

Practice Prevention

At the end of the day, prevention is the best medicine. If you take good care of your jewelry, you can prolong its lifespan before it tarnishes. You’ll want to keep your jewelry away from excessive chemical exposure. Even too much water can damage your bangles.

In terms of best care practices, it’s always a thoughtful idea to take your jewelry off before you shower, swim, put on lotion, or even spritz on perfume.

When not wearing your jewelry, keep it stored in a cool, dark place. We have plenty of whimsical jewelry boxes to keep your pieces safe while adding a beautiful touch of fantasy to your space.

Enjoy Your Sparkling Silver

We hope this piece helped you decide how to best care for your sterling silver jewelry pieces. Clean away, and enjoy your shining, shimmering silver jewels!

Sources:

The Facts on Silver | Dartmouth

Reliable and Scientific Tips for Cleaning With Vinegar | NSF

What Is the Definition of Oxidized Metal? | ThoughtCo