There are many ways to clean your jewelry at home without making a trip to jewelers only to spend an absurd amount of money just to get the shine back. Also, each type of metal and stone that the jewelry is made out of requires a different type of cleaning method to ensure that the metal and stones do not tarnish during the cleaning process.
In this blog, we will be exploring how to specifically clean sterling silver jewelry, along with the stones, the right way! So, if you would like to skip going to the jewelers for a cleaning, here are some at home cleaning methods.
Let's talk silver: The purity of the metal, for instance, determines how malleable the silver is and how quickly it will tarnish: .950 sterling silver will bend more easily and tarnish more quickly than .925 sterling silver because of its increased purity PaulaMax Jewelry is of the .925 sterling silver so it will tarnish LESS QUICKLY than that of .950.
“Oxidized” is another term used to describe silver. For some works silversmiths intentionally allow parts of the jewelry to darken and oxidize, typically small details, to make them stand out more. This detailing can be lost, though, with excessive cleaning and polishing. So be sure to identify any purposefully oxidized rings or necklaces you have and set them aside for separate cleaning.
One thing to keep in mind is silver cleaners are not for all types of silver jewelry. This means that you should not completely wash jewelry within these mixes because it could damage the stones and/or the metal within your jewelry. If you decide to use these solutions, please wash your jewelry under warm running water when finished and pat or wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.
USE A POLISH/CLEANING CLOTH
Polishing your jewelry is the most effective solution to use for upkeep in shine and cleanliness. Since silver has the potential to easily scratch (even though we use a sturdy silver plating on our jewelry to prevent that), it’s important to polish your jewelry with a special cloth. The cloth we provide for our jewelry is a great option to use and is specially made for sterling silver jewelry. Other options that can be used are microfiber or soft non-abrasive cloths. DO NOT use paper towels or tissues as they contain fibers that could scratch.
Commercial silver polishes and dips are easy to find and use and can be used. However, commercial silver cleaners can also actually harm your silver by removing the anti-tarnish coating and valuable patina. Even though cleaners might give a temporary shine, the pieces will tarnish much more quickly and have to be cleaned more frequently once you have broken down the surface.
SOAP & WATER
Seems like a no-no in the jewelry cleaning realm, right? Well, we recommend trying this method first before using any of the following methods. Use warm water and a mild, ammonia & phosphate free dishwashing soap - it is a great, first go-to when dry polishing fails to remove the tarnish.
BAKING SODA & WATER
First, make a paste using baking soda and warm water - no specific amount is necessary to start off. To apply, use a pea-sized amount of the paste on your silver and rub the jewelry gently in a circular motion. If you are cleaning sterling silver that has more detail (like PaulaMax Jewelry), thin the paste out with more water and use a soft-bristled toothbrush for curves and crevices. Then, run the piece under warm water and dry with a clean cloth.
OLIVE OIL & LEMON JUICE
This one is a strange mix, but it is one that does work pretty well. Mix ½ cup of lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl. Then, use a small microfiber cloth and dip it into the solution and polish the silver. Rinse it when you are finished and dry with a dry microfiber cloth.
WHITE VINEGAR & BAKING SODA
Warning: This mixture will fizz!
We recommend this combination as it is a gentle cleaner that can remove heavy buildup and tarnish. Soak your jewelry in ½ cup of white vinegar with 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Be careful as this solution will fizz! Keep jewelry in this solution for 2-3 hours, rinse and dry!
Well-cared-for silver jewelry can give you years of enjoyment and even become family heirlooms. And, of course, silver is valuable. So don’t wait until tarnish has become so bad that you forget about your silver treasures or even get rid of them. Give your PaulaMax Jewelry a fresh start today!