How to Clean Silver Jewelry at Home


In many situations, you can't avoid having your sterling silver jewelry tarnish over time. How do you clean it? You can clean your sterling silver easily using homemade methods which require some common household items.

Here's a simple guide to cleaning your silver:

Water + Soap

Step 1: Fill a small bowl with warm water and add some dish soap.

Step 2: Put your silver jewelry into the solution.

Step 3: Use a soft-bristle toothbrush, sponge or finger to rub the tarnish off. Make sure you scrub all of the metal, even in tight places where the tarnish might be hiding.

Step 4: Rinse the jewelry. You may also need to repeat this process again with a new bowl of water and a toothbrush to remove any remaining tarnish.

Baking Soda & Water

STEP 1. Soak the sterling silver pieces in warm soapy water. Mixing baking soda with dish soap will give you cleaner results and keep particles of dirt from scratching your silver. On a side note, keeping your hands clean while handling jewelry is also very important as it helps prevent the transfer of skin oil and dirt to the metal.

STEP 2. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to scrub away any remaining tarnish. Some jewelry pieces need special care when cleaning them as their stones are highly sensitive. You may want to contact a professional jeweler before attempting to clean other types of gemstones such as opals or pearls.

STEP 3. To remove any whitish residue left behind by the baking soda, rub the jewelry gently with a toothbrush dipped in distilled water and then wipe dry with a gentle, cotton cloth.

STEP 4. Polish your silver jewelry using an old rag or polishing cloth to reveal its natural shine.

STEP 5. Make sure that your silver is completely dry before storing it away since moisture may cause tarnishing. Doing this task regularly will help prolong the life span of your sterling silver jewelry pieces and prevent them from losing their luster over time.

STEP 6. Don't forget to clean your jewelry every now and then to avoid the build-up of dirt, grime and tarnish.

Olive Oil & Lemon Juice - The Soaking Method

STEP 1. Place your silver jewelry in a bowl of water, allowing it to soak for about 30 minutes.

STEP 2. Add one teaspoon of olive oil and squeeze the juice from half a lemon into the bowl of warm water and stir using a wooden spoon as you do this. The citric acid helps remove tarnish.

STEP 3. Take out your silver jewelry and scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush dipped in warm water, repeat this process for all the jewelry pieces.

STEP 4. Put your silver back into the bowl of warm water and add another teaspoon of olive oil and mix well. Allow the silver to soak for another 15 minutes.

STEP 5. Take out your jewelry pieces and wipe them dry using a gentle, cotton cloth.

Olive Oil & Lemon Juice - The Tabbing Method

Add 1 tsp olive oil to a large glass bowl and whisk in 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Place a small cotton cloth into the mixture to soak up your homemade cleaning solution. Wring out the cloth after it is wet and use the cloth to the polish the silver. Rinse the silver items with clean water and dry them off with a new soft cloth for best results.

White Vinegar & Baking Soda

If you're wondering how to clean a sterling silver metal, using this two-part cleanser will remove heavy tarnish. To restore the luster of your tarnished silver jewelry, soak it in a solution made from ½ cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda. Warning: this mixture fizzes. Let your silver jewelry soak in this solution for two to three hours, rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

Words of Caution

Do not clean opaque gemstones with lemon juice; the acid in the juice can affect certain gemstones. For example, pearls dissolve in contact with citrusy substances like lemon juice.

Do not use abrasive cleaners, like steel wool pads, on your silver.

If you're using a commercial cleaner to clean your silver jewelry do a small patch test before using it on all the pieces. You don't want to discover that some of the chemicals in the cleaner can damage your favorite necklace or bracelet. When in doubt, opt for natural, at-home cleaning methods.


In conclusion, cleaning silver jewelry is easily done right at home without the need for any expensive cleaning solutions and tools. Use the tips given above to clean your sterling silver and keep your precious jewelry pieces gleaming.