How to clean silver jewelry

November 28, 2018 by · Comments Off on How to clean silver jewelry
Filed under: how to clean silver jewelry 

Silver is a versatile metal with a soft luster that makes for beautiful jewelry. Unfortunately, silver is also pretty fragile compared to many more commonly-used metals, and it can quickly develop tarnish, stains, or scratches.

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Polishing

Simply polishing your silver works well when the tarnishing is not too severe. It’s also the best method for cleaning oxidized silver, as you can stay away from the intentionally tarnished areas.

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.

Be careful with silver-plated items, as excessive polishing can remove the plating (depending on the thickness) and leave pieces worse than when they started.

Professional care

If your pieces are heavily tarnished and you don’t have the time to clean them, take them to a professional silver cleaner. Very old, fragile, or valuable pieces should also be cleaned by a professional.

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.