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Article: How To Clean Sterling Silver Jewellery

How To Clean Sterling Silver Jewellery

How To Clean Sterling Silver Jewellery

Sterling silver jewellery is known for its timeless allure and beautiful lustre, but over time with use, it can lose its shine. To maintain the lustre and appearance of your silver jewellery, you need to regularly take care and cleaning of your jewellery pieces. But how do you clean sterling silver jewellery?

In this blog, we cover exactly how to clean sterling silver jewellery. We’ll cover different ways to clean sterling silver jewellery using household items like baking soda, vinegar, dish soap, lemon juice and even olive oil! We’ll also provide methods that require more specialist items like polishing cloths, saline solutions and ultrasonic cleaners. Whether you are new to silver jewellery, or a pro, we have a method outlined in this blog that is suitable for everyone!

How to clean sterling silver jewellery (8 methods you need to know) 

Method 1 - Baking soda + Water

baking soda and water

Cleaning sterling silver jewellery with baking soda and water is great if your jewellery needs a thorough and deep clean. Baking soda will help to remove any oils and dirt off your silver jewellery, whilst also restoring its shine and lustre.

Supplies you’ll need

  • Baking soda
  • Bowl
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Soft bristle brush or toothbrush

 

Steps to clean your sterling silver jewellery with baking soda and water
  1. Mix baking soda and lukewarm water in a 2:1 ratio inside of a bowl. Mix the materials to form the cleaning paste.
  2. Apply this to your sterling silver jewellery and leave it on for a minute.
  3. Gently rub the paste off the jewellery with a microfibre cloth. Use a soft brush for a deeper clean of hard-to-reach dirt.
  4. Then rinse the paste off with cold water and dry with a microfibre cloth.

Method 2 - Baking Soda and Vinegar

baking soda and vinegar

Cleaning your sterling silver jewellery with baking soda and vinegar is great for removing grim and dirt from your silver jewellery effectively. Similar to the previous method, this combination of materials also helps to restore the shine and lustre of your silver jewellery.

Supplies you’ll need
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Bowl
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Soft bristle brush or toothbrush

 

Steps to clean your sterling silver jewellery with baking soda and vinegar
  1. Mix water and some baking soda in a bowl to create a cleaning paste.
  2. Apply this mixture to your sterling silver jewellery and leave it on for a minute.
  3. Rinse this off in lukewarm water and dry with a soft cloth.
  4. With the rest of the baking soda and water mixture, add one part of the vinegar.
  5. Add your sterling silver jewellery into this mixture and leave for 5 minutes.
  6. Rinse with lukewarm water and dry thoroughly with a microfibre cloth.

Method 3 - Dish Soap + Water

dish soap and water

Using dish soap and water to clean your sterling silver jewellery is great if you are looking for a more gentle cleaning method. This cleaning method can be done more regularly as it uses less harsh material. This is a great method to remove dirt and grime from your jewellery effectively, but may not have the same tarnish-removing effects as the previous two methods.

Supplies you’ll need

  • Dish soap
  • Bowl
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Soft bristle brush or toothbrush

 

Steps to clean your sterling silver jewellery with dish soap and water
  1. Mix a few drops of liquid dish soap with lukewarm water in a bowl.
  2. Submerge your sterling silver jewellery into the solution and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. This will help loosen any stubborn dirt and oil, making it easier to remove.
  3. For a more thorough clean, gently brush the jewellery with a soft bristle toothbrush.
  4. Rinse the piece thoroughly under lukewarm water to remove the soap.
  5. Dry off the jewellery piece with a microfibre cloth.

Method 4 - Saline Solution

salt and water solution

Using a saline solution is another effective way to clean your silver jewellery. This method is particularly good for cleaning piercing jewellery like earrings or belly button jewellery as a saline solution has antibacterial properties.

Supplies you’ll need

  • Saline solution
  • Bowl
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Soft bristle brush or toothbrush

 

Steps to clean your sterling silver jewellery with saline solution and water
  1. Place your sterling silver jewellery in a bowl full of saline solution and let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Then rinse the jewellery with clean water to get rid of any leftover dirt and grime.
  3. Pat dry the jewellery gently with a microfibre cloth.

Method 5 - Polishing Cloth

grey polishing cloths

This method requires minimal supplies and is great if your sterling silver jewellery is heavily tarnished. This makes it a great method for sterling silver rings and bracelets, as these tend to tarnish more so than necklaces. 

Supplies you’ll need

  • Polishing cloth

Steps to clean your sterling silver jewellery with a polishing cloth
  1. Use a silver polishing cloth and rub gently on the surface of the jewellery
  2. Rub up and down and avoid rubbing in circles to avoid scratches
  3. Rinse the jewellery in water water to remove the tarnish

Method 6 - Lemon Juice and Olive Oil

lemon juice and olive oil

This method is less known, however is still very effective. Both lemon juice and olive oil will remove tarnish off your jewellery, whilst also removing dirt and grime.

Supplies you’ll need

  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Bowl
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Soft bristle brush or toothbrush

Steps to clean your sterling silver jewellery with lemon juice and olive oil
  1. Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive oil in a large bowl
  2. Take your microfibre cloth and dip it into the cleaning solution.
  3. Polish over the silver jewellery with this soaked microfibre cloth.
  4. Once polishing is done, rinse the jewellery in lukewarm water
  5. Dry with a microfibre towel.

Method 7 - Silver cleaning solution

silver cleaning solution

Using a silver cleaning solution is a fast and convenient way to clean your sterling silver jewellery. Often these solutions cost more than using household products and will be harsher to use on your jewellery. However, using a silver cleaning solution is highly effective.

Supplies you’ll need

  • Silver cleaning solution
  • Bowl
  • Polishing cloth
  • Microfibre cloth

 

Steps to clean your sterling silver jewellery with silver cleaning solution

  1. Dip your sterling silver jewellery into the sterling silver cleaning solution. Usually, you will only have to leave it in the solution for a couple of seconds.
  2. Take your sterling silver jewellery out of the cleaning solution.
  3. Rinse jewellery with lukewarm water
  4. Dry off your jewellery with a microfibre cloth.
  5. For more extensive cleaning, you can even use a polishing cloth to finish off the jewellery after using the silver cleaning solution.

Method 8 - Ultrasonic Cleaner

jewellery ultrasonic cleaner

This is another fast and convenient way to clean your sterling silver jewellery. Using an ultrasonic cleaner is very effective and is a great investment if you want to clean multiple pieces of jewellery at once.

Supplies needed

  • Ultrasonic cleaner
  • Mild dish soap or jewellery cleaning solution
  • Distilled water
  • Microfibre cloth

 

Steps to clean your sterling silver jewellery with an ultrasonic cleaner

  1. Prepare the ultrasonic cleaner by filling the tank with distilled water. Add a small amount of dish soap or jewellery cleaning solution into the water. Ensure that you follow the manufacturer's recommendation for the dilution ratio for this.
  2. Place your sterling silver jewellery in the ultrasonic cleaner
  3. Start the ultrasonic cleaner, set the timer and activate the cleaning cycle
  4. Once the cleaning is complete, remove the jewellery from the ultrasonic cleaner.
  5. Rinse the jewellery using lukewarm water
  6. Pat dry with a microfibre cloth.

 

FAQ’s about cleaning sterling silver jewellery

How often should you clean sterling silver jewellery?

You should clean your sterling silver jewellery anytime you notice it losing its colour and tarnishing. For everyday silver jewellery pieces, cleaning every other month is sufficient. For silver jewellery, you wear less often, only a few times a year is necessary to keep your pieces looking brand new.

What should you not clean sterling silver with?

  • Avoid using paper towels. These have a rough texture that can scratch the surface of silver jewellery.
  • Avoid using toothpaste. Toothpaste can clean silver, however is very abrasive and will likely scratch silver.
  • Avoid using very hot water. This can cause the silver to expand and warp in shape as you clean it.
  • Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners when cleaning sterling silver jewellery that features gemstones or diamonds. Ultrasonic waves can cause dislodge gemstones and diamonds.

How do you make sterling silver jewellery shiny again?

The best way to make your sterling silver jewellery shiny again is by using a mixture of baking soda and water in a 2:1 ratio. Rub this paste onto your silver jewellery gently and leave on for 1-2 minutes. After application, wipe clean with a microfibre cloth. Finally, wash the jewellery piece under lukewarm water and dry it with a microfibre cloth.

How do professionals clean sterling silver?

Professional sterling silver jewellery cleaning methods can vary. However, if you do take your sterling silver jewellery to a jeweller, this is usually the method they will follow.
  1. Submerge the jewellery in a cleaning solution using an ultrasonic cleaner.
  2. Polish the jewellery with a high-speed spinning wheel. This removes scratches and abrasions from jewellery.
  3. Wash the jewellery piece under a strong blast of steam, getting rid of any stubborn grime and dirt.

How should I store my sterling silver jewellery?

  • The best place to store your sterling silver jewellery is in a soft velour pouch to avoid scratching.
  • Each sterling silver jewellery piece you have should be stored separately so they don’t rub together, scratch or tangle.
  • Store your sterling silver jewellery in zip lock bags or anti-tarnish bags to reduce exposure to moisture and oxygen. Moisture and oxygen exposure can cause tarnishing.
  • Keep in a dark, cool and dry place.

How often should I polish my sterling silver jewellery?

For everyday sterling silver jewellery pieces, polish every few weeks to a couple of months. For silver jewellery that is worn less regularly, a few times a year should be sufficient.

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