Cleaning Sterling Silver

cleaning sterling silver

Cleaning sterling silver is very easy and simple but yet many peoples are misguided not to wear sterling silver much because it will tarnishes.

Sterling silver jewelry can be tarnish by oxidation when come into contact with sulfur chemicals present in the air and forms silver sulfide which are black in color and darken the silver.

Tarnish can also be caused by exposure to external products and common things we do for example lotion, perfume, hair products, sweating etc.

The good news is that tarnish can be prevented by some planning and occasional polishing.

Follow these instructions will help you clean your sterling silver without causing damage and make your items last longer so tarnish will not be your major concern any more.

Cleaning Product

Chemicals such as Alcohol, acetone, ammonia, bleach and chlorine should never come into contact with the sterling silver because it can cause permanent damage.

Use mild cleaner and make sure that it is dilute with water. You can also use warm water with a mild soap, non abrasive tooth paste, baking soda, mild phosphate free detergents but it is recommend that you should use commercial silver cleaners because it is specially designed for cleaning sterling silver jewelry.

Cleaning and Polishing

During drying process, you can prevent your sterling silver jewelry from being scratched and other damages by using commercial cleaning materials or 100% cotton materials such as old T-shirts, sweat shirts, cotton balls etc. Do not use tissues because it will leave scratch marks especially jewelry that has gemstones such as pearls mounted on it.

Using a cotton or silver cloth are really great and useful in taking off the natural oils that are left over on sterling silver jewelry from your skin.

There are number of creams, dips and polishes that can take tarnish out and work really great with cotton cloth. When cleaning your sterling silver you must always clean it in lengthwise motion (up and down) not in circular motion. Eventhough light scratching during cleaning is inevitable but it can be minimized by gentle lengthwise motion.

Polishing should be done quickly and all traces must be completely removed. If polish traces is left behind then it will cause dull around the area.

Cleaning Brush

Brush is used when the area that you want to clean are unreachable by your cloth.

Be really careful when choosing the type of brush used for cleaning sterling silver jewelry. Choose the one that are soft and flexible such as baby tooth brush for example which can be used in both dry and wet case. Stay away from abrasive style brushes and hard bristle brushes with horsehair.

Storage and Container

After cleaning sterling silver should be kept inside a tarnish proof cloth and airtight container. Do whatever possible to keep your jewelry away from gases, salts and air.

Always store sterling silver in a separate box from other jewelry with sharp corner to avoid scratches or gemstones break in worst case.

Avoid exposure or store in moist or wet place since humidity and open air are contribute to corrosion in sterling silver jewelry.

Store your pieces in a special jewelry bag container (commercially available) if you are not planning to wear sterling silver jewelry in the near future.

Store your sterling silver jewelry in a dark and cool place such as in a jewelry box in amongst your clothes and stay away from heat whenever possible especially under direct sunlight.

Avoid storing your sterling silver jewelry in a paper or cardboard because these object contains trace of sulfur that can accelerate oxidization process. If it is really unavoidable then you might consider putting your item in airtight container such as zip lock bag first before packing.

Keep in mind that the lesser your sterling silver expose to the air or light, the lesser tarnished it will become so storing place and method is very important.


If you follow these simple cleaning methods and storage mentioned above then you can make your sterling silver jewelry shine brightly as if it were new and assured that it will last for a very long time.

Always clean your sterling silver jewelry after wearing to reduce tarnish and store it in the place that are less exposure to the air and light to reduce oxidization.