Sterling silver is often used in jewelry, but it is a very soft metal that scratches and tarnishes easily. Your silver may tarnish faster if you live in a humid or more-polluted climate. Be especially mindful to keep silver away from rubber, vinegar, olives and fruit juice. One of the best ways to keep sterling silver stunning is to wear it. Put your jewelry on after you have styled your hair and put on lotion so the chemicals do not affect the silver.
Because of its composition, silver takes more attention and care than other metals. The good news is that it is easy to clean. A word of caution: stick to polishing your valuable sterling silver with a silver polishing cloth. First try the alternative methods on less expensive pieces of jewelry to see if you like the way they turn out. Here are three ways to make your sterling silver shine:
Soft cloths and silver polish
You can buff the silver with a 100-percent cotton or flannel cloth to prevent and get rid of tarnish. Specialty silver polishing cloths and polish are also available. When you use polish, make sure you wash the item off in sudsy water and then run it under water. Sterling silver dips can work well if done correctly, although exercise caution if the jewelry has a stone or gem. Washing silver by hand with a mild detergent with a soft cloth or sponge in warm water with a mild detergent. Storage is also an important component of sterling silver care. Keep it in a cloth bag, like the one some jewelry comes in, or in an air-tight plastic bag. Store it separately from other metals.
Aluminum foil and baking soda
You can shine your sterling silver with some basic kitchen supplies. Line whatever you are using for the cleaning, whether it is the sink or your bucket, with aluminum foil. Place your sterling silver inside and add boiling water along with a cup of baking soda and a pinch of salt. After the silver soaks for a few minutes, the tarnish will jump from the jewelry to the foil. Tiffany & Co. advises against soaking silverware. Instead, wash it after it is used and dry it right away to avoid spots. Do not use this method if your jewelry has pearls or gem stones.
Toothpaste with baking soda is another common household item that you can use to clean sterling silver. Coat the item in toothpaste and rub it with a soft cloth. Rinse it under warm water and dry. If you decide to use a toothbrush, make sure it is one with extra-soft bristles.