Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry

Cleaning your sterling silver jewelry doesn’t have to be scary.  It’s really easy and can be added into your routine just like laundering your clothes after wearing.  Before I share about cleaning your jewelry, I want to cover some of the ways your jewelry becomes dirty (tarnished).

Sterling silver has properties that cause it to tarnish and it’s a natural occurrence just from being exposed to the air.  Don’t think there’s anything wrong with your jewelry item when it begins to turn from the shiny finish it had when first purchased to a darker dull look.  You can return that high polished finish easily when you follow some simple instructions.

First let me cover some things that you don’t want to do with your jewelry.  Never expose it to chemicals.  You might be surprised that chemicals are lurking around every corner.  For instance your make-up, hair products, sunscreens and lotions are culprits for containing chemicals that can cause permanent damage to your jewelry.

Household cleaning agents also contain chemicals that can permanently damage your jewelry.  Take special care never to wear your jewelry when cleaning or applying makeup, fixing your hair, using household chemicals, showering or even washing your hands with unknown content soaps.  You cannot insure that the cleaning agents you are using are chemical free.

To prevent any exposure to your jewelry make it the last thing you put on before you walk out the door and the first thing you remove when returning home.

Also, you will not want to wear your sterling silver jewelry in swimming pools or hot tubs because chlorine can permanently damage the finish.

Those are some of the things to be aware of when you are wearing your jewelry but next I want to share what you should and shouldn’t do to clean it.  Liquid jewelry cleaners are not recommended because of the various chemicals they contain.  These chemicals can actually do more damage to your precious pieces, especially the ones that contain gemstones.  Beyond it doing damage to your jewelry, it can also be a poisonous product that you don’t’ want to have in your home.  Toxicologists have identified silver jewelry cleaner as one of top 10 toxins.

What we do recommend to clean your jewelry is a polishing cloth that has been specially treated to contain rouge, or a polishing compound, that brings back that beautiful luster.  It’s easy to use and if you do it on a regular basis, say once a week if you wear a piece regularly and less frequently if you have an item stored.

About storing your jewelry, please don’t place it in your jewelry box without first putting it in an airtight plastic bag.  Any bag will do, even a zip lock sandwich bag.  It’s not the look of the bag that matters, it’s the function and when you keep air away from your sterling items it reduces the frequency of tarnish.

The more you wear your item, the less it will tarnish but don’t forget to give it a weekly cleaning.  Think of it like you would your clothes; they need laundered and so does your jewelry.

The first thing we recommend is that you use a natural soap for a gentle washing by creating a lather in your hands and then add your jewelry piece and rub it around between your hands.  Rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cotton cloth.  After drying completely, store in airtight bag.

If you find that the gentle washing didn’t completely remove the tarnish and return the shine, use the specially treated polishing cloth by gently rubbing the cloth over your jewelry.  We do carry a cloth specially created to clean sterling silver.  Click on this link to purchase one and bring back that beautiful luster to your jewelry: Polishing Cloth

Funny story, I once had a customer call me to complain that her polishing cloth didn’t work.  She said after it became dirty she washed it and after that it didn’t work.  I asked why she thought it was dirty and she said because it turned black in areas.  Unfortunately for her, she washed out all the cleaning rouge in the cloth and that’s why it stopped working.    When the black comes to the surface of the cloth that doesn’t mean it’s dirty, that’s the result of the rouge and tarnish meeting.  That’s how it’s supposed to look.

A little word of warning, polishing cloths are not recommended for silver or gold plated items and you will not want to rub the cloth over any gemstones but rather only apply it to sterling silver metal.  And while I’m mentioning gemstones, be careful when it comes to exposing your gemstones to liquids.  Some stones are more porous than others and exposing them long term to liquids will cause damage.

Genuine gemstones and sterling silver jewelry are a perfect combination of nature and beauty and you can enjoy them for years to come with proper care.  We hope this information has taken the scare out of cleaning your sterling silver jewelry and that is helpful in keeping your jewelry looking beautiful.

Let it shine,


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