Your Sterling Silver Jewelry: Cleaning & Preventing Tarnish [PART 2]
Now that you know the causes of tarnish, it's time to learn how to treat it and more tips for preventing it in the first place! In our first article, you can learn why sterling silver jewelry tarnishes.
Safely removing tarnish from your sterling silver jewelry
There are many tarnish-removal methods available on the internet. Unfortunately, it's hard to sort out the ideas that work from those that don't. Even worse are the remedies (like toothpaste) that might remove the tarnish but which will definitely damage freshwater pearls or Swarovski crystals that are nestled amongst the silver!
If your beautiful piece of handcrafted jewelry incorporates freshwater pearls, you'll want to use a soft jewelry polishing cloth to clean them and any other beads and findings around them. It may take a little extra care and time, but we're sure you'll agree that their delicate beauty is worth the extra effort! We include a jewelry polishing cloth with each order of $50 or more. They are also available from Amazon.
This is also the preferred method for cleaning Swarovski crystals. Although, if your crystals are really dirty you can wash them using warm water, a tiny bit of mild soap or phosphate-free dishwashing liquid, and a soft brush like a toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth. Do not wash Swarovski's simulated pearls. Clean them just as you would real pearls.
For jewelry that doesn't include freshwater pearls or Swarovski crystals, we recommend a gentle jewelry cleaner specially formulated for sterling silver like Simple Shine Gentle Jewelry Cleaning Solution. You simply place a piece of tarnished jewelry in the included basket, dip it briefly, remove and rinse thoroughly, then use a soft cloth to wipe it dry. Don't dip any jewelry which has oxidized. If there's any doubt, it's better to use a jewelry polishing cloth instead.
Tips for preventing tarnish
Storing your jewelry in zip bags when you're not wearing it will cut down on tarnish, especially if you squeeze as much air out as possible before sealing the bag. Remember, it's the sulfur compounds in that air that causes tarnish. The more of it that you can keep out, the better!
Since humidity helps form silver sulfide, it's best to keep your jewelry as dry as possible when you're not wearing it. That includes not leaving it in the bathroom! Besides the high humidity, bathrooms contain an assortment of chemicals that aren't good for your jewelry. Cosmetics and hair products especially are bad for jewelry so you want to limit its exposure to them. That's another reason for gently washing and drying your jewelry frequently.
Keeping silica gel packets where you store your jewelry will help keep the humidity down. For more tips on caring for your sterling silver and other fine jewelry, check out the 'cleaning' articles on our blog. We want you to enjoy your handcrafted beaded jewelry for many years to come! If you have questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Always remember: Your jewelry should be the last thing you put on, the first thing you take off, and it should always be cleaned before being put away!
Sources (not linked):
- Its Pool Time but not for your Sterling Silver Jewels
- Cleaning your Swarovski Crystal
- Silver Tarnishes because it Reacts With
- Does Sterling Silver Tarnish
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