How to clean sterling silver (silver 925)
Using a Cloth
- You can clean silver using a soft cotton or flannel polishing cloth to enhance shine. Avoid harsh fabrics, as they may create tiny scratches on the surface. Rub gently as silver is malleable. When cleaning, always rub silver with straight, direct strokes, as circular motions are likely to cause abrasions.
- Silver polish comes in the form of a paste. Coat the chain liberally and let it sit for five minutes. Scrub the chain lightly with a toothbrush and rinse it under warm water. To make a home substitute silver polish, combine 100 ml of warm water and a small amount of mild washing up liquid. Use a soft brush to both apply and scrub the cleaner on the silver.
- Boil just enough water to cover the pieces of silver. Next line a glass or plastic dish with a slight crumbled piece of aluminum foil and lay the chain on top, making certain that the silver is in direct contact with the aluminum foil. Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda onto the chain and then pour enough boiling water to submerge it completely. The reaction should promote bubbling. To ensure that all of the silver surfaces come in contact with the aluminum foil, gently move the chain around using a wooden or plastic utensil. When clean rinse the chain under warm running water and wipe dry.
- Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners use sound waves to remove dirt, soap residue, and oils. Do not use ultrasonic cleaners with silver jewelry that contain gemstones, as this may cause discoloration, chips or cracks to the gems surface.
How to clean silver plated jewelry without dangerous chemicals?
- All silver plated jewelry tarnishes at some point, as the chemicals from daily wear and the exposed layer of silver react with air to change the color of a piece. Silver plated jewelry has a very thin layer of silver that covers a non-precious base metal. Because the coating is so thin on the base, cleaning needs to be careful but complete to keep up an item’s shine.
- Step 1: Mix 1 tsp. mild liquid dish soap with lukewarm water in a small bowl.
- Step 2: Dip a soft cloth in the soapy water and then gently scrub your jewelry while keeping it submerged in the bowl. Concentrate on any grooves or ridges the piece may have. Don’t scrub too hard, though, or you risk scratching the item. Clean the jewelry for no longer than 10 minutes, then rinse and dry it with a clean, lint-free cloth.
- Clean your silver plated jewelry at least once every two weeks to a month with this method to maintain its shine. This technique works on rings, earrings or larger pieces.
- This method should be done every two months or whenever your piece needs a deeper cleaning:
- Step 1: Line the bottom of a small bowl with a piece of aluminum foil.
- Step 2: Add the salt and baking soda to the bowl, then add enough hot water so that your jewelry piece will be covered. Mix the solution so the powders dissolve.
- Step 3: Add the jewelry to the bowl, and let it sit, ensuring that the jewelry touches the aluminum foil. Black and yellow flakes will begin to break off or float up in the water as the sulfur (what darkens the jewelry) separates from the silver and is attracted to the aluminum in the bowl.
- Step 4: Remove the piece after 10 minutes, or when you see that the tarnish or dirt seems to have mostly disappeared.
- Step 5: Rinse the jewelry under lukewarm water, then dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
- Humidity encourages tarnishing, so always store silver plated jewelry in a cool, dry place. A simple plastic bag will work wonders. Keep items dry in separate compartments. While you can use polishing cloths or jewelry cleaners on silver plated items it is not advised. They can scratch the piece or cause more harm than good. The above method is safe, inexpensive and effective!
- Letting an item sit for too long in water could cause corrosion of delicate parts on some jewelry. Always take off your silver plated jewelry before swimming, showering or cleaning as well as when putting on makeup or using hair care products or perfumes. The water and chemicals used during these activities could cause the item to tarnish more quickly.
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