3 Ways to Make Your Sterling Silver Jewelry Shine

There’s nothing worse than silver that’s lost its shine. If you’re guilty of wearing jewelry in the shower, when you’re cleaning, or while you’re cooking (it’s okay – we are too!), you might notice it looking dull. 

Sterling silver rings and bracelets are especially susceptible to this because of all the things our hands come into contact with throughout the day, but other pieces can get dull as well.

Far too often, sterling silver jewelry that begins to tarnish ends up tossed in a jewelry box because we don’t have the time to give it a deep clean. There are easier ways than cleaning to make your jewelry shine!

Here, we’ll provide our favorite tips about how to make sterling silver shine like it did the day you got it.

Note: This advice only applies to making silver shine. For some gemstones, these methods aren’t safe. Be sure you know how to clean sterling silver with gemstones before trying these polishing options on the stones themselves. In the meantime, clean just the sterling silver portions of your jewelry using these methods, polishing away from the gems.

What is Tarnishing?

In short, tarnishing (also called oxidation) is when your jewelry begins to look darker and less shiny. So, does sterling silver tarnish? In its purest form, silver will not tarnish. However, sterling silver can tarnish because of the alloy metals used to make the jewelry more durable.

Tarnished jewelry doesn’t mean that your jewelry is dirty or rusty.

Everyday behaviors result in tarnishing, so it’s inevitable. However, you can remove oxidation when it occurs. All you need is to know how to keep your jewelry shiny.

How to Prevent Tarnishing Before it Happens

The more you do to prevent your silver jewelry from tarnishing, the less frequently you’ll have to deep clean it. 

Here are a few tips to help prevent your sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing: 

Last On; First Off

Put jewelry on last when you’re getting ready in the morning or before going out. Water alone can cause tarnish, and beauty products can speed that process along thanks to oils, contaminants, and other ingredients sticking to and oxidizing your silver. Immediately remove your jewelry at the end of the day, particularly before washing your face or brushing your teeth. 

Store Sterling Silver Appropriately

Keep each piece of your silver jewelry in its own pouch in a cool, dry spot. You can store these bags in the same place, like a jewelry box, but don’t keep several jewelry pieces in one pouch. Every Silpada piece comes with a black anti-tarnish sheet, which you should store with your jewelry. 

If you’re too tired to do this after a night out, make sure to keep your jewelry in a safe and specific place, like a trinket dish, so you can find it and appropriately put it away the following day.

Wear Your Silver Frequently

Friction slows down tarnishing, so the more you wear your jewelry, the more it should keep its shine. Just don’t forget the other “rules” about proper care, as friction alone can’t do the job.

Know When NOT to Wear Your Sterling Silver

Don’t wear your jewelry when cleaning the house, swimming, working out, or other situations where you could encounter chemicals and liquids, as these will increase the risk of your jewelry tarnishing.

Use Your Polishing Cloth

Ideally, you should wipe your sterling silver jewelry with a polishing cloth after every wear to help remove the grime of the day. Do this after thoroughly washing and drying your hands. Forgot to do this immediately after wearing a piece? All isn’t lost! Do it as soon as you remember.

Pro Tip: Preventing tarnishing could also help prevent jewelry from turning your skin green.

1. Use a Polishing Cloth to Make Sterling Silver Jewelry Shine 

When using a polishing cloth to help make your jewelry shine, you should make sure that it is soft, clean, and non-abrasive, meaning washcloths and paper towels aren’t the way to go.

Sterling silver is a soft metal, which means it’s more likely to become scratched compared to other types of metals. This is why we recommend using a jewelry-specific cloth or, at the very least, a microfiber one.

Polishing your jewelry with a silver cleaning cloth, like our specially treated Silpada Polish Cleaning Cloth, should remove most tarnish. It also works for gold, silver, and platinum! One side of the cloth removes tarnish, while the other makes things shine. Instructions are included with each Silpada cleaning cloth.

When polishing, use back and forth motions instead of rubbing in circles.

2. Use a Sparkle & Shine Stick to Polish on the Go

When you’re traveling, on the go, or want to be extra prepared, add a Sparkle & Shine Stick to your bag. It’s about the size of a lip gloss and strong enough to remove the daily build-up on your jewelry while being gentle enough for regular use.

The built-in brush tip on the Sparkle & Shine Stick is perfect for cleaning around stones and settings. 

Don’t forget to take your jewelry off before getting ready for bed and polish your pieces before putting them away, no matter where you are in your travels.

3. Use Jewelry Cleaner: For When Your Sterling Silver Needs a Bit More Help

Using a jewelry cleaner only takes a little bit longer than wiping down your piece with a polishing cloth, unlike many deeper cleaning methods.

Our Silver Jewelry Cleaner Kit could take just a few minutes from start to finish. Follow these steps:

  1. Place your jewelry in the provided basket. 
  2. Immerse the basket into cleaning liquid for one minute. 
  3. Remove and rinse the jewelry with warm water. 
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 as many times as necessary. (If you’ve been regularly helping your silver jewelry shine, you shouldn’t need to repeat too much.)
  5. Blot dry.   
  6. Finish by polishing with the included Silpada cleaning cloth.

Help Your Silpada Sterling Silver Jewelry Shine

We’ve all let our jewelry go too long without a proper polish. Things get busy, then one day, we look at our sterling silver necklaces, bracelets, or earrings and realize they’ve lost their luster.

That’s okay.

If you get to the point where a polishing cloth, Sparkle & Shine Stick, or even the jewelry cleaning kit aren’t enough, you can clean your sterling silver jewelry in other ways. In general, a bit of mild dish soap and water should do the trick, followed by using a polishing cloth. You could also try an ultrasonic cleaning machine, though this isn’t always appropriate if your jewelry has gemstones.

Finally, just as people go to the doctor for checkups or take their cars in for routine maintenance, we recommend getting your jewelry inspected and cleaned by a professional once per year. 

Between at-home care and a professional’s expertise, your sterling silver jewelry could shine for years to come.

Shop our favorite silver jewelry cleaners:

Follow @SilpadaDesigns on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration and to share your #SilpadaStyle with us.

– Tessa

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