Cleaning and Caring For Your Sterling Silver Jewelry!

My love of sterling silver began a long time ago when I couldn’t take my eyes off of the shine and sparkle that reflects off of silver, which is as beautiful as sunlight shimmering and dancing on the surface of the ocean. I definitely didn’t fall in love with dull, brown-ish, tarnished silver. I can only imagine that others prefer shiny silver over tarnished silver, so here are some great tips and tricks for cleaning and caring for your sterling silver jewelry so it keeps its sparkle!

Cleaning Your Tarnished Silver:

1. Polishing Cloths

Polishing cloths are very convenient and easy to use for taking tarnish off of silver and for polishing silver that has been oxidized. At FusionBeads.com, we carry Pro Polish Pads and the Brilliant Polishing Cloth. Pro Polish Pads are made of a thin tight-bond foam with permanently bonded micro-abrasions and they are available in packs of ten. The Brilliant Polishing Cloth is treated with a chemical agent which cuts through tarnish better than many other cloths and inhibits tarnish from reappearing. This cloth is much more flexible than the Pro Polish Pads, so it can be used more easily to remove tarnish from non-smooth surfaces.

2. Shinebrite® Silver Dip

Shinebrite® is a very easy to use silver dip. Simply dip your jewelry into the jar, or even drop it into the basket in the jar, and let it sit for two minutes. Pull the basket out of the jar and rinse your jewelry in warm water. That’s all it takes! It will remove tarnish (and even Liver of Sulphur) from every part of your jewelry, even in the grooves that are hard to reach with a polishing cloth. It contains chemical agents, so be careful not to let the liquid come in contact with your skin. You can put crystals and other metals into this dip, but I recommend that you avoid dipping pearls, glass or antiqued metal into it as the finishes can come off. If you aren’t sure whether or not you can dip something into Shinebrite®, just test one bead or one area by dipping it in by itself and see if a reaction occurs.

3. Rock Tumbler

Our 3-pound rock tumbler, when used with stainless steel shot and dish detergent, is meant to polish and harden sterling silver, however it will remove any tarnish as well. This is a nice alternative to using chemical agents, and it also polishes your sterling so that it looks its best. Be careful when tumbling finished pieces that have delicate parts as you don’t want to break any beads in the tumbler. Check out our Using a Tumbler – Polishing technique to learn more about using the tumbler for cleaning!

4. Using Aluminum and Baking Soda at Home

If you want to use household items to clean your silver, you can try filling an aluminum pan with near-boiling water, then adding a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. Next, simply place your jewelry in the pan so that it touches the aluminum. It needs to touch the aluminum for the reaction to take place. If the tarnish isn’t coming off right away, you can try adding a little more baking soda until you see a bit of bubbling on the jewelry. Be careful when adding very hot water to an aluminum pan, because the pan can become flimsy. Since aluminum is a good conductor of heat, the pan will become very hot, so you may want to put a pot holder beneath it when you start. After the tarnish has come off, you can rinse your jewelry in warm water and use a cloth to remove any film left by the baking soda.

Caring for your sterling silver jewelry:

Keep your silver away from moisture! Do not store your jewelry in the bathroom, which gets filled with steam every time you take a shower. If you live in a humid climate or anywhere near the water, you may want to consider storing your jewelry in an airtight container or in sealed bags. You can store your jewelry with anti-tarnish strips to help avoid the tarnishing process as well. If you have pieces that seem to tarnish easily, try wearing them more often as jewelry that is worn often seems to tarnish at a slower rate. However, you may also want to use a polishing cloth to wipe dirt and oils off of your jewelry after you’ve been wearing it.

Keep Your Silver Shiny! – Sara

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