Is your inner nerd curious to know why does silver items tarnish? Or would you like to know how to keep silver from tarnishing? We’ve got all the facts you need to know about silver tarnishing. Some of these facts include conditions to avoid and how to clean a tarnished item.
Since precious metals like silver, gold and platinum are pretty rare, we all don’t want to damage their gorgeousness. Therefore, it is our wish that they last as much as we can use them.
Some of you even want to get a maximum lifespan from your jewelry. Isn’t that right? Well, we understand your concerns, and that’s why we have gathered this information for you.
Why does silver tarnish?
If you’re wondering what could cause your precious silver items to tarnish, there are different issues that can trigger that. For instance, your silver rings and necklaces might tarnish when they come in contact with components of air.
Silver tarnishes more quickly in places with higher levels of air pollution. Tarnishing can also occur with consistent wear and tear. A good example is when you expose your silver pieces to high chemical levels. However, since silver tarnishing can take place through a wide range of methods, here are the most common ones:
One of the most leading reasons your silver jewelry could tarnish is due to the corrosion of its metal. Just like we’ve mentioned, this occurs under wet and humid conditions. Do you know how that happens? When you sweat while wearing your jewelry metals, mild corrosion could take place.
As long as there is enough salt, that sterling silver you wear every day is likely to erode. Therefore, remove your silver jewelry whenever you’re about to go swimming. The same applies when you handle salty things like salted nuts, chips and when using salt for cooking.
Do you use make-up and other cosmetics? Bringing them into contact with your silver jewelry can result in tarnishing or the development of black spots. Sometimes you might buy make-up with chemical compounds like calamine and zinc oxide. If you don’t know, that might be too strong for your precious silver jewelry.
For that reason, we would advise you to avoid these chemicals when buying your make-up. You can also consider removing your jewelry whenever you apply the make-up. As a result, you’ll prevent abrasion due to some substances.
Another thing that could cause your silver to tarnish is the presence of natural gases. Also, hydrogen sulfide in materials that your pieces come in contact with is not good. An excellent example of materials that can cause tarnishing is burnt fuel like oil or coal.
If you live in places with high levels of smoke or pollution, always wash your silver items regularly.
Other materials that could make your silver tarnish include latex, rubber bands, chlorine, wool and some paints. Those with a strong smell like onions and eggs and oily meals can lead to silver tarnishing when it comes to foods.
If you have oily or moist skin, you can consider using absorbent powder in areas where you wear your silver jewelry.
6 tips to keep silver from tarnishing
Would you like to avoid tarnish on your exquisite silver jewelry collectables? Below, we’ll share some tips to store your jewelry pieces to limit major tarnish inducing factors. If you practice this, you’ll also have an easy time cleaning, polishing, and maintaining your silver.
1. Ensure the storage unit is safe
The first thing you might want to do is check your storage condition to ensure it’s safe for your silver. You can avoid storage units like plastic bins, rubber and crinkly plastic bags high in sulfates. We insist on that because most of these items will only accelerate silver tarnish.
So which is the best place to place your treasured silver jewelry? An enclosed, dry space will work perfectly for you. However, it would be best if you can access anti-tarnish bags. You can also consider removing moisture and humidity from your storage system by adding silicone packets.
2. Avoid exposure to chemicals
You might not be able to prevent tarnishing over time, but cleaning up your silver jewelry after use will slow it down. We think this is best if you use cosmetics that triggers the silver to tarnish or oxidize.
So, is there a particular way to clean those valuable rings and necklaces? Well, you can wash them with warm water. Also, be sure to dry your pieces with a soft cloth, which is the critical part. If you mainly deal with harmful substances, limit your silver’s contact.
For example, it is best to leave your silver jewelry behind whenever you go to shower. Similarly, never forget to take off your rings when exercising, cooking, working outside, or washing dishes.
3. Get rid of tarnish-inducing items
Consider removing things like dyed tissue paper, printed newspaper, open sulfur containers, and perfumes. Sometimes you might think that those empty containers will never cause tarnishing, but there is a chance they can.
4. Store each silver piece separately
By doing this, you’ll avoid scratches that might happen if you store multiple pieces together. If you didn’t know, storing different earrings, rings, or necklaces in a single bag might damage each other. So, the best way to avoid that is to have a separate bag for each item.
Also, once you have wrapped your piece of silver jewelry, remember to keep it away from direct sunlight and somewhere cool and dry.
5. Use chalk to store sterling silver
Are you wondering why chalk? It is a widely known and great moisture absorbent that will eliminate dampness and chemical residue from your silver. Hence, when storing your beautiful jewelry in the storage box or bags, remember to place a piece of chalk, and you’ll thank us later.
6. Try anti-tarnish cloths
If you don’t have the whole time to clean your silver jewelry with warm water, a quick cleanup with anti-tarnish cloths will do the trick. They are great at absorbing oxygen in the air and sulfur.
Besides, these cloths are treated to prevent tarnishing, and all you need to do is wipe your silver items and store them without any worry.
4 tricks to remove tarnish on your silver
Is your silver already tarnished? Don’t worry because there is a way to make it shine like brand new with the help of the following household items.
You can remove tarnish from your silver with the help of ketchup. Squeezing a small amount of it on a piece of towel and rubbing the affected areas will remove the tarnish. If you notice that your silver isn’t getting shinier, allow the ketchup to sit on the tarnished parts for around 15 minutes.
After that, use a soft cloth to rub it out and rinse it clean. Finally, if you have fancy silverware or candlesticks containing textured details, clean the crevices using a toothbrush.
A recipe of aluminum foil and baking soda is a magic cleaning concoction that leaves your tarnished silver glittering within seconds. If your silver is very tarnished, it takes a maximum of 10 seconds. You only need to boil 1 liter of water, aluminum foil and a tablespoon of baking soda and drop your silver item in the pot. Once all the tarnish is cleared off, rinse and dry the item.
Using laundry detergent is an old and common remedy for removing tarnish on silver. All you need to do is add a cup of detergent to boiled water and soak your silver for about 5-7 minutes. After that, remove and rub it with a soft cloth. The method doesn’t only remove tarnish and dirt but also leaves your silver item smelling great!
A mixture of vinegar, baking soda and water is another excellent option to remove tarnish from silver. All you need to do is measure two tablespoons of baking soda, a half cup of white vinegar and add them to a bowl of lukewarm water. Allow your silver to soak in the concoction for 2-3 hours, rinse it with cold water and let it dry.
Silver is a gorgeous and versatile metal, but you can easily lose its shiny nature to tarnish. The good news is that there are a number of ways to prevent your silver items from tarnishing. You can start with the most important one, which is limiting your silver items from exposure to sulfur and high humidity.
Also, you may want to avoid chemicals like deodorants, perfume and lotions because they can notably accelerate tarnishing. If you’ve got an already tarnished silver, using tricks like ketchup and aluminum foil might really help.
Do you have a question about silver tarnishing that you would like us to answer? Please don’t hesitate to ask. Also, based on the tips that we’ve mentioned above to store silver items, let us know which is more convenient for you and why.