There is no denying that sterling silver jewellery is beautiful, versatile, and striking. A lot of the silver jewellery in our catalogue pairs well with anything and everything. Whether for a wedding ceremony or worn to an evening office party, there is a silver ring, bracelet or necklace that fits the occasion.
We wash our hands, bodies, hair and clothes regularly. One thing people often forget is that our jewellery, much like our clothes, accumulate dirt and grime over time.
Below are a few helpful tips to clean your precious silver jewellery. And before you go fearing the worst, most of the things you will need are somewhere within your household – or the nearest convenience store.
Is your silver ring or necklace looking like it has lost some of its shine? Prepare a simple paste of a few spoonfuls of cornflour with half a cup of water. Apply the resulting thick paste on the silver jewellery item and let the mixture dry. Rub off the dried material with a towel and polish to reveal a shiny finish. In the absence of cornflour – and for those who have some – cream of tartar is a worthy substitute.
Here is something you never saw coming. Ketchup. Yes, it was no typo, you can actually use your run of the mill ketchup to clean small silver items. This is a great option for those who seek to get the tarnish of small or few silver items to not be wasteful.
On a flat surface, like your kitchen countertop, squeeze a few dollops of ketchup onto a paper towel. Use the towel to gently rub the silver item. If the imperfections are old, you can directly apply drops of ketchup on to the item itself and leave it for around 20 minutes. Then use a soft cloth to rinse it off with some little water. A good tip is to use old toothbrushes to reach the crevices of rings and bracelets that a paper towel cannot reach well.
The pandemic, while wholly unfortunate and disastrous, has brought our relationship with hand sanitizer closer than we would have ever imagined. If you have some nearby, it will come in handy when cleaning your silver jewellery.
For the best results, use a soft cloth like a paper handkerchief. Squeeze a tiny amount of sanitizer on the handkerchief and gently rub the silver item. The dull reflection and slight tarnish from regular wear and tear will rub off and leave you a renewed jewel.
Toothpaste has long been used to clean various items of jewellery. However, it is best to work with caution, and considering non-abrasive and non-gel products. Use a small amount on a cloth or a paper handkerchief.
Use small circular motions to polish the item until you can see some of the tarnish come off. Let it rest for a few minutes then rinse the toothpaste off with water. This procedure makes for a clean and shiny product.
Lemon-lime soda and fizzy drinks
That can of soda and any other fizzy drinks at the back of your fridge also has some utility when it comes to keeping your shine. Fizzy drinks are particularly useful for serving tarnished and grimy silver jewels. Leave it for one hour and take out the silver jewellery to rinse thoroughly with room-temperature water. Dry the item off with a paper towel then hold it up to the light. There will be some difference in its appearance.
Window cleaner works just as well for glass surfaces as it does shiny silver. Spray some window cleaner detergent onto a soft cloth and gently scrub the silver jewel. For small details and hollow ornaments, an old soft toothbrush works well to get the grime off. However, this is not advisable for antiques. Modern chemicals in window cleaners may degrade the original finish on antiques.
White vinegar and baking soda
A similarly effective method that is ill advised for antique items is the use of white vinegar and baking soda. For relatively new silver items, the results are likely to be remarkable.
Put the silver items in a bowl that fits them well, then pour in white distilled vinegar until it covers the items. Add baking soda to the bowl in approximate measurements of 4 parts baking soda to 1 part of vinegar. Leave it for nearly an hour before rinsing with clean water and drying with a soft cloth.
If you have the baking soda only and there is no vinegar in sight, fear not, for that can be of some use. For those stubborn stains, prepare a thick paste using lukewarm water and baking soda. Apply that to the tarnished areas of your jewel using a damp cloth. Leave the silver item to rest for between 2 – 3 minutes before rinsing with cold water. Buff the item with a soft dry cloth to reveal a renewed potion.
When it comes down to it, laundry detergent is a good option for this task. Use a plastic container or line a small kitchen bowl with aluminium foil before starting. Fill the space with half a cup of hot water and add a spoonful of laundry detergent then stir to mix it in.
Drop your silver items into the foamy hot water and let them soak for a minute or two. Use kitchen tongs or a plastic spoon to carefully fish out your silver jewels and discard the water down a drain. Rinse the silver items in lukewarm water and dry off in a paper towel to ensure they are dry.
Prevention is better than cure.
While some of the accumulated dirt lingers in the air and is picked up from various surfaces, there are ways of preventing dirt build-up on jewellery. Most silver items are coated in a protective layer that does not allow particles of dirt to stick on them. However, moisture allows particles to settle quicker and last longer on the silver surfaces over time.
It is therefore important to keep silver jewellery as far away as possible from prolonged contact with moisture.