Want to keep your silver sparkling like the day you got it? You can! With some proper care and storage, you can keep the tarnish away.
Tarnish is a reaction when silver is exposed to gases with sulfur. The silver gets darker and a dark layer forms on the surface.
The good news is, you can get that layer off and prevent it from taking the shine away from your favorite pieces.
Check out these tips to keep silver from tarnishing so your silver can shine on.
1. Limit Exposure to Other Chemicals
It's nearly impossible to prevent silver from tarnishing some over time. But you can slow it down by cleaning your silver jewelry after each wear, because the oils from your skin can contaminate the surface and cause the silver to oxidize and tarnish.
You can wash your jewelry in warm water. Be sure to dry with a soft cloth. The key is keeping your silver dry, so remember to take off your rings when you wash your hands.
You should limit your silver's contact with harmful substances. For example, you should never wear your silver jewelry in the shower or bath. And don't forget to take off your silver rings when you cook, exercise, work outside, or wash dishes.
Avoid wearing silver necklaces with wool clothing because the wool has oils.
Latex also can speed up tarnishing. You should avoid wearing silver jewelry around latex such as gloves if you work in the healthcare industry.
Do not put on your jewelry until your hair and makeup are done. Also, spray your perfume on before you add your silver jewelry.
2. How to Store Silver
Since silver tarnishes when it is exposed to air, you can store individual pieces of jewelry in sealed plastic bags to prevent air exposure. You should keep your jewelry separated and wrapped individually to keep it pristine.
You can also wrap or cover your jewelry with a silver tarnish cloth. You can buy several yards at a fabric store if you have larger silver items to cover.
If you store your jewelry in drawers, you can cut pieces to fit inside these drawers or the compartments in your jewelry box or tray.
The first thing you should do if you don’t want to tarnish your metal is to divide them up into the different metals, because different types of metals interact with each other.
Copper needs to be separated from stainless steel because it can cause it to tarnish.
Make sure you store your jewelry in a cool, dry place. You want to avoid the UV rays also. Don't store the jewelry too close to your bathroom where the humidity can build up and harm your metals.
If you have a jewelry box, add activated charcoal or silica-gel to your box. They both absorb moisture to help prevent tarnish. If you live in a warm climate, you might want to add one of these items regularly to your jewelry box or storage area to keep them dry.
3. Cleaning Tarnish
If your silver is tarnished, you can get off the black coating with silver polish. Tarnish-polishing cream is a popular form or a simple cleaning solution. You can also use a silver polishing cloth.
For severe tarnish on your good jewelry, you can take it to your local jewelers for a professional cleaning.
There are also other tricks to remove tarnish:
- Ketchup (yes, ketchup)
- Hand sanitizer
- Lemon-lime soda
- Window cleaner
- Hair conditioner
You can use these products to polish your jewelry.
You can also line a glass bowl with aluminum foil. Add one to two tablespoons of baking soda and salt. Dip your silver pieces and let them sit for about five minutes.
When the tarnish comes off, rinse your jewelry with water. Use a soft cloth to dry it.
You should avoid toothpaste that is too abrasive because it can scratch your jewelry. This means you probably don't want to use toothpaste if you are cleaning a large flat surface like a plate or tray with toothpaste.
The same is true with baking soda. It can also be abrasive, so use caution on softer silver products.
4. Plate Your Silver
Some silver items today are plated to prevent tarnishing. The metals used to plate are typically rhodium and pure silver.
The process of plating sliver is called flashing. This is a temporary fix because the coating ultimately wears off. It wears off even quicker if you wear your jewelry or polish often.
Luckily, you can get your pieces re-plated.
5. Don't Let Your Silver Jewelry Lay Around
Even when you jump in the shower, you should always put your jewelry away. Small amounts of exposure to moisture and air can cause tarnish over time.
You want to limit its exposure with air, so store it properly in an airtight container immediately after taking it off to prevent silver tarnish.
Keep Silver From Tarnishing: Final Thoughts
Silver is a beautiful and versatile metal for jewelry. However, it can easily lose its luster to tarnish.
Tarnish happens with exposure to oxygen and sulfur. Air pollution, exposure to chemicals in perfume, deodorant, hairspray, lotions, and high humidity can cause tarnish.
This is why it's important to store your silver properly and clean it to keep silver from tarnishing.
Looking for a simple jewelry cleaner? Look no further. Check out our Simple Shine products to make your jewelry shine and sparkle like the day you got it.
You can also find other tips to keep your jewelry and shoes clean on our blog.