How to Keep&Clean Handmade Sterling Silver Jewelry
Jewelry is always one of the fashion trends and topics. Between its luster, its brilliance, and its versatility, it's easy to see why silver is one of the most popular materials for jewelry.
Actually, caring for silver and reducing tarnish is as simple as doing the dishes. All you need is to arm yourself with a few tips for care and cleaning.
No1. Preventative care
Wear: You can avoid tarnish by wearing your jewelry often. The oils in your skin will “clean” the silver and keep it looking shiny.
Avoid exposure: Contact with household chemicals, perspiration, rubber, chlorinated water, or any substances which will cause corrosion and tarnish (e.g., mayonnaise, eggs, mustard, onions, latex, wool) — so it’s a good idea to remove silver jewelry when doing household chores.
Direct sunlight also causes silver to tarnish, so be sure to take off your silver jewelry before you go swimming and sunbathing.
Lotions, cosmetics, hair spray and hair products, and perfumes are also “enemies” of silver and will accelerate tarnishing. There’s a reason generations of women have been getting dressed with jewelry last, as a finishing touch!
No2. Storage: As exposure to air tarnishes it, storing silver in airtight plastic bags with anti-tarnish strips is a great preventative measure. Just make sure you don’t store multiple jewelry pieces in the same bag: silver is a soft metal, so the individual pieces can scratch each other. Link or chain bracelets should be kept unclasped or unhooked to prevent scratching as well. If you can’t use plastic bags, try to make sure that the storage area has low humidity.
Simply polishing your silver works well when the tarnishing is not too severe.
Silver is soft and can become scratched easily. You can use a special silver cloth to polish your items, but a lint-free flannel, microfiber, or other soft nonabrasive cloth will do as well. Do not use paper towels or tissues to polish your jewelry as they contain fibers that can scratch the silver.
When polishing, use long back-and-forth motions that mirror the grain of the silver. Do not rub in circles, as this will magnify any tiny scratches. Also, change to a different section of your cloth frequently to avoid placing tarnish back on the silver. You can use a Q-tip to get into small, detailed areas.
Toothpaste: You can use a little bit toothpaste to wash them, then use soft clean-cloth to wipe dry and keep them in the box safely. It must be one simple homemade way for everyone.
Soap and water: Warm water and a mild, ammonia- and phosphate-free dishwashing soap should be your first line of defense if the polishing cloth fails to remove tarnish. Soap and water should also be used to clean your pieces before using any of the methods listed below.
Olive oil and lemon juice: Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice with 1 tsp. olive oil in a bowl large enough to hold the cleaning solution and a small microfiber cloth. Dip the cloth in the solution and wring it out so that it doesn’t drip, then polish the silver, rinse, and dry.
White vinegar and baking soda: Use this gentle cleaner to remove heavy tarnish that's preventing you from polishing your silver. Soak the tarnished piece in a solution of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tbsp. baking soda (be prepared for the fizzing!) for two to three hours, then rinse and dry.
Baking soda, salt, aluminum foil: Line a glass roasting pan or the kitchen sink with aluminum foil, dull side facing down. Place the silver pieces on top of the aluminum foil. Then pour boiling water over the pieces until they are covered and add 2 tbsp. each of baking soda and salt. Stir the solution to allow the baking soda to dissolve — you don't want any granules scratching the metal.
Combination: If your pieces have very stubborn tarnish, you can use these treatments in succession to get them looking shiny again.
The reaction causes the tarnish to transfer to the foil, and in about 5-10 minutes you'll see the tarnish“magically”disappear from the jewelry. Rinse the jewelry with water, then dry and buff with a soft cloth. This is especially important for detailed or etched items, since polish can stick in small crevices and harden. After, dry the pieces with a microfiber cloth to prevent white water spot stains from forming. Haha! Your silver should be shining and ready to keep you looking fabulous and prettier.
Start to try one for your jewerlry today!