Prevent your Silver from Tarnishing

June 9th, 2015
Hands with Silver Rings


Tarnish is the end result of the chemical reaction that occurs naturally between sterling silver and the oxygen in the air. Tarnish occurs rather slowly and is fairly easy to remove from your silver pieces.




Tarnish can be avoided through frequent wearing of your silver jewelry. The oils in our skin keep the silver clean of tarnish and keep pieces looking bright and new. While wearing your sterling silver jewelry is an easy way to keep it free of tarnish, be sure not to allow your jewelry to come in contact with the following products:


  • Chlorinated water
  • Household cleaning products
  • Rubber
  • Substances containing sulfur (i.e. eggs, mustard, onions, wool, latex)
  • Lotions, cosmetics, hair spray


These products accelerate the process of tarnishing, making it necessary to clean your jewelry more frequently. As a simple rule, take off your silver jewelry before going swimming, cleaning the house and cooking. Also, be sure to put your jewelry on after you are done doing your hair and makeup each day to avoid excess tarnish.




Regularly polishing your silver jewelry, especially after exposing it to elements from the above list, will work well to remove everyday amounts of tarnish. To properly polish your sterling silver, use a silver cloth or a lint-free microfiber cloth. Silver is a soft metal and can be scratched if you use items like paper towels to polish it.


Use a back-and-forth motion while polishing your silver and switch the area of cloth used frequently to avoid smearing or re-placing tarnish on the metal.


Homemade Silver Cleaner


For tarnish that cannot be removed by polishing alone, use a homemade silver cleaner to remove the dingy tinge from your jewelry.


If your pieces are adorned with pearls, opaque gemstones, or clear gemstones, be careful when cleaning silver and do not fully submerge the pieces in cleaner. Instead, briefly rinse them in the cleaning solution to avoid damage to the stones.


First, try using warm water and dish soap to clean your jewelry.  If this process does not work, make a paste of baking soda and water to clean the off tarnish. Apply this mixture with a clean cloth, then rinse in warm water.


For more stubborn pieces, visit your local jeweler to have the tarnish removed safely.




An important step in the prevention of tarnish is to store your sterling silver in a dark, dry container with a treated flannel cloth. This cloth, usually treated with silver nitrate, will help prevent tarnishing and keep your pieces looking like new.


Interested in learning more about your sterling silver or purchasing a new piece? Visit today!

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply