Did you run out of jewelry cleaner?
If yes, don’t worry too much if you can’t go out and buy a new one. Consider it as a good thing since some jewelry cleaners aren’t safe to use.
Keep in mind that commercial jewelry cleaners may contain some poisonous ingredients, including ammonia and corrosive alkali. Breathing in the fumes from these chemicals may cause respiratory distress, low blood pressure, and other adverse symptoms.
To safely clean your jewelry, especially silver pieces, it’s best to stick to recommended DIY cleaning solutions. Here, we’ll discuss how to clean sterling silver jewelry at home with some common household items.
How to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry at Home: The Best DIY Solutions to Try
Fun fact: Pure silver is too soft, so it’s often mixed with another metal to make it stronger. In the case of sterling silver jewelry, the mix is usually 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper.
Tarnish occurs when the silver in your jewelry reacts with sulfur compounds in the air. The reaction results in silver sulfide, which is black. Now, if your silver jewelry pieces have tarnished, you can restore them to their original shine using ingredients you already have at home.
Check out the following DIY solutions for removing tarnish.
1. Baking Soda and Aluminum Foil
If you’re looking for the best way to clean sterling silver, this is it.
Remember how silver + sulfur compounds = silver sulfide? Well, this method helps remove tarnish by reversing that chemical reaction. To get started, prepare a dish or bowl, baking soda, aluminum foil, and boiling water.
Here’s what you’ll do. First, line the bowl or dish with foil (shiny side up). Next, boil some water.
It should be enough to fill the bowl or dish you’ll be using. Then, you need to add baking soda. Depending on how deep your bowl or dish is, you can use a tablespoon of baking soda for every 250 mL of water.
After that, you can put your silver pieces in the dish, making sure they’re in contact with the aluminum foil. Wait for 2 to 10 minutes, then remove your silver jewelry pieces from the solution. Let them dry, and your silver items should look as good as new.
2. Soap and Water
For the easiest way to clean silver jewelry, a few drops of liquid soap in warm water is the way to go.
Let your silver jewelry pieces sit in this solution for a few minutes, rinse, dry with a clean piece of cloth, and they should be back to their original luster. This method also works great for gold jewelry, as well as those with gemstones.
Important: Take care not to use too hot or too cold water on your jewelry pieces with gemstones. Some stones are super sensitive to temperature and pressure changes. Using boiling or freezing water might cause the stones to crack.
3. Lemon Juice and Olive Oil
If you search “how to clean sterling silver” online, you’re sure to come across a variety of DIY recipes with lemon juice as one of the main ingredients.
You see, lemon juice contains citric acid, which is a natural chelating agent. That means it can trap and remove metal ions. This is why lemon juice is also effective at removing other surface stains such as rust and lime deposits.
To make a lemon juice and olive oil jewelry cleaning solution, you need a teaspoon of olive oil and 125 mL (1/2 cup) of lemon juice. Soak your silver jewelry pieces in this solution for a few minutes, then rinse them in clean water. You can use a microfiber cloth to polish your silver pieces to make them extra sparkly.
4. Baking Soda and Water
This method works best for large silver items, but you can use it for your silver jewelry in a pinch.
In a bowl, combine baking soda and water until the mixture forms a pasty consistency. Dip a clean cloth into the paste, and gently rub it onto your silver pieces. You can use a baby toothbrush if your silver jewelry has fine details or engravings.
Just remember, you want to be as light-handed as possible when using this method. Baking soda is abrasive, and using too much force will scratch your silver jewelry. To remove the baking soda residue, rinse under running water, and immediately dry your silver jewelry with a clean, soft cloth.
Bonus: Some Tips to Prevent Your Silver Jewelry From Tarnishing
Knowing how to clean tarnished sterling silver is good, but learning how to prevent tarnishing from happening in the first place is better.
You can do this by wearing your silver jewelry often. This prevents tarnish from building up over time because the silver items you wear are most likely to rub against your clothes and other objects you come in contact with.
You can also slow down tarnishing by putting some chalk into the box or drawer where you store your silver jewelry. What this does is delay the sulfur compounds in the air from reaching your silver pieces since chalk is able to absorb moisture.
And if you want the most effective way to maintain the brilliance of your silver jewelry, seek a professional’s help. Not only do they know how to clean sterling silver properly, but they can also take care of your most delicate pieces.
For example, if you bought wholesale silver pendants and you don’t have time to clean them regularly, you can trust that a jewelry cleaning expert can give your pieces the extra TLC they need.
Don’t Let Tarnish Keep You From Wearing Your Favorite Silver Jewelry
Now that you’ve learned about how to clean sterling silver jewelry at home, you should find it easier to keep your favorite pieces shiny.
But if you need more tips for cleaning your jewelry, don’t hesitate to check out our jewelry archives. You may also want to browse our other sections such as fashion news, makeup tips, and so on for more interesting content.