Keep your silver sparkling with these expert-recommended tips.

Claire Harmeyer
August 12, 2020
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Sparkling silver necklaces, rings, and the like are staples many women have in their jewelry boxes. The classic appeal of these pieces means we want to keep them looking shiny and brand-new for as long as possible, but sometimes proper care can fall by the wayside. To extend the life of your favorite silver baubles, you'll need to be mindful when it comes to storage, cleaning, and wear. Quality care is key for the longevity of your jewelry, so listen up for experts' top tips on how to clean silver jewelry.

How to prevent tarnish on silver jewelry:

First thing's first: Get ahead of the game by doing as much as possible to prevent wear and tear on your jewelry from the start. This might come as a surprise, but the best way to prevent your silver jewelry from tarnishing is by wearing it often. "Not letting your jewelry sit in a box actually helps it maintain its shine," CEO and Founder of Tai Jewelry, Tai Rittichai, tells HelloGiggles. However, Rittichai recommends putting your jewelry on after you've applied any moisturizers, perfumes, or hair products since these chemicals can lead to tarnishing. "Also, avoid exposing your jewelry to moisture such as when washing the dishes, taking a shower, or swimming," Rittichai advises.

Now, when it comes to storage, lighting and temperature is key for maintaining shine on silver jewelry. "Sunlight, heat, and moisture accelerate tarnishing, so keep jewelry in a cool and dark place" Madeline Fraser, founder and CEO of Gemist, tells HelloGiggles. "Storing your pieces separately prevents any chance of jewelry scratching or tangling with each other."

How often should you clean silver jewelry?

Before we get into the logistics of how to clean silver jewelry, you should know what the sweet spot for tending to your pieces is. "As a general rule, rings, necklaces, and bracelets can be cleaned once a week to keep them sparkling," Rittichai says. "For hygienic reasons, you may want to clean the back of earrings more often."

However, cleaning your jewelry too often can lead to damage, so be mindful of when your pieces actually need some polishing. "Excessive cleaning of jewelry can lead to loss of detail and wearing off of plating, so regular but gentle treatment can prevent tarnish and dirt build-up," Rittichai explains.

How to clean silver jewelry:

The simplest and most effective process for cleaning silver jewelry involves two common products: soap and water.

  • Squirt any kind of soap into a bowl and add warm water.
  • Let your silver jewelry soak in the water for five-10 minutes.
  • Use a soft toothbrush or cotton swab to brush the surface of the jewelry.
  • For any tough dark spots, gently rub the silver with an impregnated polishing cloth. Rittichai recommends this Sunshine Polishing Cloth, while Fraser likes the Connoisseurs UltraSoft Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloth. (Note: Polishing cloths should not be used for plated or vermeil jewelry as it might remove the plating.)

Pro tip: Always protect gemstones when cleaning your jewelry. For instance, Rittichai says it's best to avoid using any chemicals on silver jewelry that includes pearls.

How to clean silver jewelry with aluminum foil:

  • Place one piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of a bowl and place your jewelry on top of it.
  • Bring one liter of water and one tablespoon of baking soda to a boil.
  • Pour the mixture into the bowl.
  • After five-10 minutes, remove the jewelry with kitchen tongs or your fingers if wearing a rubber glove. If the piece is still tarnished, try a longer soak time.
  • Dry the jewelry with a microfiber towel. Avoid paper towels, as they can scratch the jewelry.

"It will seem like magic," Fraser promises.