There is a difference between oxidised silver and tarnished silver. Oxidised silver is mostly used for making traditional, chunky jewellery. It has a characteristic dark, antique look. Oxidised silver is purposefully exposed to air containing sulphur to get a dark, shine-free look. On the other hand, tarnishing of the silver occurs because of poor storage conditions. The silver reacts with hydrogen sulfide or sulphur present in the air and gets covered in an unsightly black coating. No one wants to own tarnished silver jewellery. Fortunately, it is reversible. Given below are some of the most effective methods to clean your tarnished silver jewellery.
Ingredients to Keep Handy:
a) Dishwashing liquid
c) Boiling water
d) Aluminum foil
f) Baking soda
j) Olive oil
k) Microfibre cloth
How to Clean Silver Jewellery
Silver jewellery loses its shine due to constant exposure to sweat, body lotions, perfumes, etc. You can clean it at home by following the steps given below.
Method 1: Using Baking Soda
Step 1: Cover a Bowl with Aluminum Foil
Take a deep bottom pan and cover its insides with an aluminum foil. Press the foil around the surface of the bowl to ensure that the foil sits perfectly in the bowl.
Step 2: Add Boiling Water
Pour boiling water in the foil-covered pan.
Step 3: Add Cleaning Salts
Add ¼ cup of baking soda along with 2 tsp. of kosher salt in the pan. You will see the salts reacting with water and forming bubbles.
Step 4: Immerse Your Silver Jewellery
Put your silver jewellery in the pan and let it sit for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally with a glass stirrer. Ensure that the chain does not bump against the sides of the pan or intertwines with the stirrer. Be gentle.
Step 5: Wipe Dry Your Chain
Take out the silver jewellery and wipe it dry with a clean, cotton cloth.
Method 2: Using Dishwashing Gel
Step 1: Prepare Cleaning Solution
Add 2 drops of dishwashing liquid in a bowl of warm water. You can use Vim Dishwash Gel. It is easily available in the market.
Step 2: Soak Silver Jewellery in Cleaning Solution
Immerse the silver jewellery in the soap solution for 10 minutes. Scrub with a soft-bristle brush if there’s dirt on the chain.
Step 3: Rinse
Rinse your jewellery with warm water and dry it thoroughly using silver cloth or a microfibre cloth.
Method 3: Using Detergent
Step 1: Add Detergent to Water
Add 2 drops of detergent in a bowl of hot water.
Step 2: Soak
Put your silver jewellery in the detergent water and leave it there for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Rinse
Rinse your silver jewellery in warm water and pat it dry with a microfibre cloth.
How to Clean Sterling Silver?
Sterling silver jewellery contains other metals apart from silver. For example, copper. They can be cheaper but they are more prone to tarnishing. You can use soap water to clean your sterling silver jewellery, however if you are not satisfied with the result, you can try the following methods.
Method 1: Using Lemon and Baby Oil
Step 1: Prepare Solution
Mix ½ cup of lemon juice with 1 tsp. of baby oil. Soak a cloth with this solution and wipe your silver item with it.
Step 2: Wash the Silver Item
Wash the silver piece using warm soapy water. You can use Vim Dishwash Gel for this as it is easily available in the market. Rinse with warm water.
Step 3: Dry
Wipe the silver piece dry with a microfibre cloth.
Method 2: Using Baking Soda
Step 1: Make Baking Soda Paste
Create a thick paste using water and baking soda. Apply the paste on your silver piece and let it rest for 20-25 minutes. And rinse with water.
Step 2: Wash the Silver Piece
Clean the paste residue using warm soapy water. Rinse and wipe your silver piece dry using a microfibre cloth.
Step 3: Allow Air-Drying
Allow the jewellery to air-dry completely before storing it away.
When Should You Seek Professional Help
Please note that silver is porous and can be easily damaged. You can wash your everyday silver items at home. But, for intricate silver jewellery embedded with precious stones like diamond and emerald, it is best to seek professional help. Do not use steel wool to scrub your silver items. Use the cleaning products as per the instructions. Excessive cleaning can result in metal loss. For best results, you should work on a soft board or a cushioned surface. You can use a cardboard covered in blotting paper. Ensure that the area where you are cleaning your silver items receives good lighting. If you are unable to meet these cleaning requirements, it is best to count on a professional for thorough cleaning of your silver items.
How to Prevent the Tarnishing of Your Silver
The only way to protect your silver items from tarnishing is to keep them protected. Limit their exposure to moisture, air and heat.
Storing your silver jewellery properly can do wonders in enhancing its lifespan. For superior protection, wrap them up in anti-tarnish bags. Keep these bags in cool, dark place. Silver should always be stored in places where there is no or low humidity. Place pieces of chalk, charcoal or silica gel packets near your silver items. The gel packets and chalk will absorb the extra moisture and keep your silver protected.
Practice caution. Always remove your silver jewellery before you take a shower or go swimming. Put on your silver jewellery after 15 minutes of applying lotion or perfume. This way you can be sure that the lotion has seeped into your body and will not react with your jewellery. Small changes can have a big impact on maintaining the shine on your silver chain and bracelet.
You may find it surprising but wearing your silver piece everyday can help maintain its shine and luster. The daily wear and tear actually prevents silver from putting on a dark layer.
Show your silver the love it deserves. Basic cleaning regularly can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
Always clean gently. Silver is a fine and delicate material. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to scrub the nooks and crevices of your silver items but do not apply pressure. You may end up doing irreversible damage to your silver piece.