Pave Large Hoop Earrings at ritz carlton palm beach

Jewelry Care: Cleaning & Polishing Sterling Silver

Method 1

Sterling silver oxidizes or tarnishes when exposed to air, leading to dark spots and dullness of brightness. Avoiding abrasion is key to cleaning silver without damaging it.

Consider replacing harsh chemical polish for the warm, soapy water method. If the item is not tarnished, just a little dusty or has some makeup smudges or fingerprints , a general cleaning will suffice. 

Uses: To remove fingerprints, dust, makeup smudges, etc.

  • Fill a bowl with warm water and a small amount of mild (bleach-free) dish liquid.
  • Take a cotton cloth and dip it into the soapy solution.  Massage your silver piece with long back and forth motions using this cloth.
  • Rinse your jewelry under cold water.
  • Dry the silver piece with soft, cotton fabric. Never use paper towels or napkins as this can scratch the metal.

Method 2

Add a little citrus.  Lemon juice is a wonderful jewelry cleaner for sterling silver.

Uses: To remove fingerprints, dust, makeup smudges, etc.

  • Mix ½ cup of lemon juice with a teaspoon of olive oil in a little bowl. 
  • Grab a non-abrasive cloth (such as a microfiber cloth) and dip it into your solution. 
  • Wring out the cloth and polish your silver, using the same long back and forth motions as with polishing. 
  • Rinse your jewelry under warm water, and dry it with another non-abrasive cloth.

Heads up: It may sound counterintuitive, but there is actually a thing as cleaning your silver too much. Polish is abrasive by nature , so you’ll want to keep polishing sessions to a minimum. So while you might be compelled to clean away any tarnish as soon as you see it, you really should clean silver using chemicals as infrequently as possible.

Method 3

Use a polishing cloth with rouge to buff up sterling silver.

Remember, try to keep the cloth dry and use both parts of the fabric to remove tarnish. A professional polishing cloth is two cloths in one; one side for removing tarnish and one for shining.  A polishing cloth contains a layer of polishing rouge compound and is a fantastic jewelry cleaner for sterling silver.

Uses: To remove small scratches, marks and normal wear and tear.

  • The first thing you’ll want to do is to use the rouge layer (usually the inner or second cloth) that contains the jeweler’s compound. Gently rub this compound into any surface scratches or nicks you may have. Rub and buff any scuff marks until they are gone or faded (Be careful, you don’t want to take off too much of the metal).
  • If your piece is badly tarnished then slightly moisten the discolored areas before rubbing with a polishing cloth, but never directly wet the polishing cloth. This will help restore the finish.
  • Then turn the cloth and brush your silver piece with the untreated side of the fabric (usually the outside layer) to remove the rouge and give your piece a "like-new shine."

Quick Tips

  • Make sure your polishing cloth with rouge is kept dry. If you've got stubborn tarnish that needs loosening, wet your sterling silver piece before using the fabric but never directly wet your polishing cloth directly.
  • Can silver polishing cloths be washed? 
    Never wash your polishing cloth! The rouge compound will also get washed away and then you will be left with a regular piece of fabric that is unable to lift mild scratches.
  • C'est la vie! If, over time, your polishing cloth becomes too discolored. It is best to dispose of it and purchase a new one. Average household use per polishing cloth is about two years.

Method 4

If your silver jewelry has lots of scratches or very deep scratches, it is best to send it to a professional polisher.

Uses: To remove many scratches or deep scratches

Professional polishers use materials (polishing compounds, buffing wheels, felt bobs, etc.) , tools (ultrasonic cleaners, bench motors, etc.) and knowledge that most people do not have access to. This allows the jewelry to receive a very thorough cleaning, resulting in jewelry and stones that look as good as new.

It is impossible to remove deep scratches from jewelry without the aid of a professional polisher. This is best left to the professionals.

In conclusion, We hope you have enjoyed our guide on cleaning and polishing sterling silver.  May all of your jewelry pieces sparkle and gleam like new.