It's time to clean your favorite pieces.

Apr 27, 2021 @ 3:33 pm
Advertisement
How To Clean Silver Jewelry
Credit: Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Jewelry is fun to buy, fun to wear, but not so fun to clean. If you're new to accessorizing, or normally just ship your pieces off to a jeweler for refurbishing, you might not know where to begin, especially because different finishes require different different polishing methods. So while you might know how to tackle yellow or rose gold, you might not know the best ways to clean silver jewelry, or vice-versa.

Trust me, you're not alone. Right now, I'm going through a phase where I can't go a day without accessorizing, even on days when I go from pajamas to loungewear. Naturally, I want to keep my pieces looking shiny and new, but with more wear comes more tears, and the pieces I gravitate towards the most could use a bit of sprucing up. However, because I'm a novice, I don't actually know how to clean silver jewelry the right way. To find out, I reached out to jewelry experts for some intel, and they shared their best tips, below.

RELATED:

A Windex and Peroxide Cocktail Will Eliminate Dirt and Bacteria

In a small bowl, designer Berna Gabriel of Gabriel & Co. says to mix together half of a cup of Windex window cleaner and half of a cup of hydrogen peroxide. Soak your silver jewelry in the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes and follow up by brushing off any excess residue with a clean, soft toothbrush. From there, rinse each individual piece of jewelry off under cold water and pat dry with a clean cloth.

"The Windex will get rid of the dirt your jewelry piece collects on a daily basis," Gabriel tells InStyle. "The Hydrogen peroxide will kill the bacteria the piece has met, leaving your silver spotless and clean."

Consult Your Kitchen Pantry to Clean Tarnished Pieces

Tarnished jewelry isn't done for. In fact, luster can be restored easily using two kitchen essentials already in your pantry: Baking soda and vinegar.

"Mix half of a cup of white vinegar with 2 tablespoons of baking soda into a shallow bowl and, once the mixing solution has dissolved well, place your silver jewelry into the bowl, letting it sit there for two to three hours," Gabriel says. "When your jewelry is ready, rinse them with warm water and pat dry with a clean cloth."

Toothpaste Doesn't Just Clean Teeth

Tarnished silver jewelry can go back to being shiny and bright using the same product that keeps your pearly whites, well, pearly: Toothpaste.

"All you need is a clean, soft-bristle brush and white toothpaste only," Gabriel tells us. "Apply a small amount of toothpaste to tarnished silver jewelry and brush gently until the tarnish is removed." The last step is to simply rinse your silver jewelry with warm water, pat dry with a clean cloth, and enjoy the shine.

Use Aluminum Foil On Heavily Tarnished Jewelry

For tarnished silver jewelry you barely recognize, Gabriel says aluminum foil, baking soda, and hot water are a terrific trio.

"You can even let the tarnished silver soak in the solution and extremely oxidized silver may just need light polishing."

How To Clean Silver Jewelry
Credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Keep Silver Jewelry Out of Chlorine

Founder and designer of Haverhill, Haverhill Leach says a common misconception about silver jewelry is that wearing these pieces a lot and often will lead to tarnish, but it's actually quite the opposite.

"Sterling silver is less apt to tarnish if you wear it often," she reveals. "The only time I would take my silver jewelry off is for swimming in chlorine or in the ocean."

She also recommends the jewelry be stored in a Ziploc, airtight bag, or container as "exposure to oxygen creates tarnish."

Use a Polishing Cloth After Every Wear

Want to stay on top of your jewelry hygiene? Invest in a good polishing cloth, preferably one made of  microfiber, says Charles Lichaa, founder, CEO, and creative director of 8 Other Reasons.

"Silver has a tendency to oxidize with wear, which can add character to your pieces," Lichaa says. "But, if you are after a shiny silver look or prefer your silver to shine, use a polishing cloth before and after every wear."

Invest In a Jewelry Cleaning Machine

Preferably one that uses only water and ultrasonic waves, says Lichaa. While this type of purchase can be pricey, Lichaa tells InStyle you can pick one up for under $50. Plus, he adds, it's worth the splurge.

"You can place all your silver pieces in there and let the machine do its work. I love mine. I've had pieces for years that still look brand new."

Use Dish Soap for a Quick Fix

It doesn't get much easier than a basic cocktail of dish soap and water. If you want to use your favorite suds, CEO and founder of Allurez, Raphi Mahgerefteh suggests mixing a few drops with warm water, dipping a soft cloth in the solution, and using it to rub the silver to remove tarnish. "Rinse with cool water and buff dry with another soft cloth," says Mahgerefteh.

Create a Salt Water and Baking Soda Solution

Gina Nam, the founder of AMYO, says this trusty combo should do the trick.

"Mix one tablespoon of salt, baking soda, and dish detergent with one cup hot water and let the jewelry sit in the solution for 10 minutes," Nam tells InStyle. For a more thorough cleaning, she recommends using a toothbrush to scrub the crevices. "Rinse after and gently rub jewelry with a silver cloth or microfiber towel to dry."

Use Some Hand Sanitizer

It's no secret that many of us have excessive amounts of hand sanitizer these days. To make it a multipurpose product, use it to clean your jewelry.

"Hand sanitizer removes tarnish on sterling silver," says Alexis Nido-Russo, founder of jewelry brand Local Eclectic.  "We recommend applying a dime sized amount to a microfiber cloth and gently rubbing your piece, then rinse with water."

Leave It to the Professionals

If the DIY life isn't for you, you can always take your pieces for a professional cleaning.

"For those special pieces, you can always take it to a jeweler for a professional clean yearly," Lichaa advises. "It's worth the investment for those keepsake pieces."