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How to Clean and Polish Sterling Silver Jewelry at Home

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What is tarnish?

Sterling silver has a much-loved distinct luster.

However, an enemy called tarnish can spoil this.

All sterling silver pieces will tarnish, especially when they are exposed to light and air.

There is no escape from these two.

Moreover, chemical agents such as perfumes, deodorants and room sprays quicken the tarnish of 925 silver items.

So, cleaning and polishing silver items are a must for preserving the shine of silver.

Luckily, this can be done quite easily.

How does tarnish occur on sterling silver?

One particular chemical substance leading to tarnish is sulfur.

When silver comes into contact with sulfur compounds, like hydrogen sulfide present in air, tarnish occurs.

This gas is omnipresent, but its concentration is higher in extreme air pollution and humid places.

So, the trick is to take off this sulfide from the metal and keep them separated as much as possible!

Other elements such as wool, food, cut flowers, and fingerprints are also known to cause tarnishing.

How to get rid of tarnish from Sterling Silver at home

If your 925 silver jewelry has soft gemstones or organic material such as pearls, you may want to leave the job to professionals.

If you want to clean your gemstone silver jewelry at home, there a specific cleaners for the job.

1. Use a Commercial silver polish

There are many good products you can use at home.

You can choose Weiman Silver polish for silverware or Connoisseurs Silver Jewelry Cleaner for your jewelry.

Check our best silver polish post for more alternatives.


2. Silver wipes

Using wipes is a practical way of removing tarnish.

You just pick a wipe and apply to the blackish layers on your sterling piece.


You can check Weiman Silver wipes on Amazon.

3. Baking soda & aluminum foil method


If your pieces do not have any gemstones, this can be a good way to get rid of tarnish.

Take a large glass bowl and lay aluminum foil shiny part looking up.

Place your pieces inside and cover them with baking soda.

Pour hot water to cover all the items in the bowl.

This combination will start a chemical process which will distance tarnish from silver.

After 5-10 minutes, depending on the tarnish, and remove your pieces.

If needed you can wipe off remaining residues with a soft cloth or cotton swab for hard to reach parts.

Finalize the process by rinsing with clean water and dry your silver with a towel.

How to prevent tarnish?

You can prevent tarnish by wearing your jewelry, avoiding contact with chemicals and storing them the right way.

Even if it is impossible to remove tarnish from existence, we can postpone it significantly by using these methods.

1. Wear your jewelry

Don’t let your sterling silver pieces sit in the drawer for a long time.

Your skin oil will help them to shine longer than had it would sit in the same drawer.

2. Avoid chemicals

Tarnish results from a chemical reaction with agents.

The main counterparts are sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide present in air.

Never wear your 925 silver pieces in the shower or at the sea.

Taking off your sterling jewelry during housework is a good practice.

Keep your jewelry away from cleaning chemicals.

If any contact occurs, quickly wash your pieces and dry them completely.

Perfumes, sprays and cosmetics are not beneficial for sterling jewelry.

Make sure your jewelry is the finalizing touch you make.

Avoid using hair sprays over your necklaces and earrings.

3. Store silver the right way

The best way to store your sterling silver is keeping them in separate anti-tarnish bags.


You can buy these in bulk at cheap prices.

You can also use anti-tarnish strings along with your pieces to prevent tarnish.

Click on the photos to check their latest prices on Amazon.