HOW TO PREVENT SILVER FROM TARNISHING



Tarnish is a type of corrosion that occurs when certain metals are exposed to oxygen and moisture. Silver is one of the metals that are susceptible to tarnishing, and it can happen to even the best-kept pieces.


However, there are several things you can do to prevent silver from tarnishing. Let's take a look at a few of them...


✖️ Avoid water. Water easily tarnishes silver, so you should avoid leaving your silver jewelry on for extended periods while in contact with water. Silver will also tarnish when stored or displayed near water and other sources of humidity, such as steam heaters and bathroom windows. If you are doing any cleaning with water, make sure to remove your silver jewelry first.


Likewise, try not to wear your jewelry during intense physical activity. Sweat contains salty acids, which can cause your silver to tarnish. Sweat is one of the most common causes of tarnishing jewelry.


✖️ For tarnish prevention, clean your silver at regular intervals. Regularly cleaning off dirt and grime prevents tarnish from forming in the crevices of the jewelry where it is harder to reach. You can use various methods to clean your silver jewelry, including polishing cloths, special silver cleaners, soapy water, and a soft toothbrush. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives, as these can damage silver metal.


Once you've cleaned your silver jewelry, rinse it off with clean water and dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth. Then, store your silver in a cool, dry place away from sunlight to prevent jewelry from tarnishing.


✖️ You can also use commercial anti-tarnish strips to help protect your silver jewelry. These strips emit a gas that prevents tarnish from forming on the surface of silver metal. You can find these anti-tarnish strips at most hardware stores or online, place the strip in the jewelry box or storage container with your silver jewelry and replace it every few months.


✖️ Prevent jewelry tarnish by keeping away from any chemicals (perfume, paint thinner, gasoline, etc.). These chemicals will tarnish silver almost instantly if they come into contact with it. So, if you're working with any harsh chemicals, take your silver jewelry off first.


✖️ Try not to clean your sterling silver too frequently, which can strip the metal and cause it to lose its protective coating. Over-cleaning can also lead to scratching, so it's best to clean your silver jewelry only when it's visibly dirty.


Unnecessary over-cleaning can also lead to your silver jewelry developing a dull finish. Opt for gentle cleaning methods, such as polishing cloths and mild silver cleaners, whenever possible. These won't strip the metal or remove the protective coating, and they'll help keep your silver jewelry looking shiny and new.


✖️ Keep away from cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke contains nicotine and tar, which are incredibly harmful to your silver. Also, keep acid-based things like citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, limes) and vinegar away from your silver if you want to keep jewelry from tarnishing.


✖️ Prevent jewelry tarnish by avoiding extreme hot and cold temperatures. When exposed to excessive heat, such as in an oven or a dishwasher, silver will tarnish very quickly and become dark gray. Similarly, when silver makes contact with extreme cold, it will also tarnish. So avoid putting your silver jewelry in the freezer or leaving it out in the hot sun.


✖️ Avoid humidity. Humidity can penetrate your silver and cause it to tarnish even faster if it is not protected. It should also never be stored in a bathroom as the steam could damage the silver's finish. You should always store silver in an airtight container instead of leaving it out for display where humidity can reach it.


Even when using a jewelry box, it is best to place each piece in a polybag first to protect it from tarnish.


✖️For tarnish prevention, minimize your jewelry's exposure to air pollution and smog. Air pollution contains sulfur and other chemical substances, quickly tarnishing jewelry metals.


If you need to wear sterling silver jewelry during a long car ride, take it off and store it safely in your purse or accessory compartment. Car exhaust contains chemicals that speed up the jewelry tarnishing process and oxidize the metals faster.


✖️Use tarnish-resistant materials. The key to preventing tarnishing in sterling silver is a protective layer that seals the surface of the metal from oxygen and sulfur-based compounds present in the air. These protective layers plate sterling silver with a thin, protective coating such as rhodium.


Never polish or dry your silver with abrasive materials such as a rough paper towel or napkin. Abrasives will scratch the surface of your silver jewelry and make it look worse over time. It will also strip off the rhodium plating, protecting the silver from tarnishing.


✖️ If you want to keep jewelry from tarnishing, invest in a jewelry box made of non-tarnish materials or get a specific airtight container for storing your silver jewelry. These are fantastic methods to safeguard your silver from moisture and avoid it from turning dark.


✖️ Don't store your silver jewelry pieces with other metals. Storing silver with other jewelry metals (like copper) can cause tarnishing since some metals are oxidizers and will cause your silver to tarnish. If you mix jewelry metals in storage, be sure they're all non-oxidizing metals like sterling silver and gold.


✖️ Be wary when wearing certain fabrics; not all materials are great for wearing against silver jewelry. For example, fabric with high acidity levels, like wool and dyed cotton fabrics, can tarnish the silver faster than other materials. So if you must wear your silver against these fabrics, be sure to clean it often.


✖️ Likewise, avoid contact with rubber, latex, and other soft materials. These materials cause sterling silver to tarnish more quickly because they contain sulfur atoms which can break down the protective layer of metal on your silver jewelry. It's best to store your sterling silver away from these materials.


Now that you know how to prevent silver jewelry from tarnishing, you can keep your sterling silver jewelry looking shiny and new for years to come. Just remember to store it in a cool, dry place away from other metals (like copper), fabrics (like wool), and soft materials (like latex). Your sterling silver will stay beautiful for a lifetime with the proper care.