I've had a few customers reach out for advice on how to keep their sterling silver jewellery shining bright and I thought you might be curious too! Silver will naturally tarnish over time, but the way you care for it can help to keep it shining bright for as long as possible. Try to keep jewellery out of direct contact with perfume, solvents (such as nail polish remover), rubber, uncoated wood and newspaper. Contact with air pollution and with sulphurous foods can also cause silver to tarnish prematurely. Skin acidity can also speed up this process.
Wash pieces in warm, soapy water after use. Be especially thorough if they came in contact with any foods containing sulfides, such as eggs, salt, salad dressings, garlic or tomatoes. To remove tarnish, use a silver polishing cloth. For a brighter polish, follow one of these methods:
The Detergent Method
You will need:
Mild dish detergent
Soft sponge or soft toothbrush
Microfibre towel or cloth
1. Fill a bowl with warm water, enough to fully cover the silver.
2. Add detergent and mix.
3. Place silver items in the bowl. Use a soft sponge or toothbrush to gently scrub off dirt and tarnish. Don't allow them to soak for too long to prevent water spots.
4. Take each piece out individually and run it under water to rinse off the soap.
5. Use a dry microfibre towel or cloth to dry the silver, making sure you don't miss any cracks and crevices.
6. Give your silver a polish with a polishing cloth.
The Aluminium Foil Method
You will need:
1. Cover the interior of a heat safe bowl with aluminium foil, shiny side up.
2. Add to the bowl 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 a cup of white vinegar and mix the solution until all dissolved.
3. Pour in enough boiling water into the mixture to cover your silver items and stir.
4. Use tongs to carefully place your silver items into the bowl. Allow the silver to sit for about 5 minutes before turning your silver and waiting 5 more minutes.
5. Pick out your silver and place onto a polishing cloth. Let it sit for a moment to cool before polishing the piece, focussing on previously tarnished areas to make sure they are completely clean.
Store silver away from uncoated wood (I used to store mine in uncoated wooden boxes, whoops!), rubber - even rubber bands - and newspaper. Please don't wrap your jewellery in newspaper! Instead, wrap your jewellery individually in a silver polishing cloth, some muslin cloth or in acid free archival-quality tissue paper before popping it in an anti-tarnish box. This could be an anti-tarnish jewellery box, an acid free cardboard box or a coated wooden box. If you don't have access to any of these wraps, the next best option is to store your jewellery individually in plastic zip bags, making sure to get rid of any extra air before sealing. Wrapping or sealing jewellery individually will also help to keep different jewellery pieces from scratching or tangling together.