8 Tips to Keep Sterling Silver from Tarnishing

Silver jewelry has a delicate beauty to it and especially so if it looks brand new and shiny. It’s prone to oxidization, which’s sometimes called tarnishing and that can take away from this beauty at least somewhat.  There are ways to prevent it from happening, but they require discipline and effort.

For the most part, it’s best to create a routine that will keep track of where your silver is and how it’s stored. That way you’ll know that the pieces are being taken care of without having to think about it too much.

1. Store the jewelry in a zip-locked bag

Store the jewelry in a zip-locked bag
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Zip-locked bags are a good way to store jewelry. The plastic won’t interact with the silver and it won’t cause it to darken. This isn’t the case with other (possibly more attractive) materials to store the jewelry in, and that’s why it’s best to avoid them, even though they look better.

Most of the materials that come into contact with the silver do so via air and that’s where a zip-locked bag helps as well. It’s easy to remove excess air from the bag by simply squeezing it out before locking the bag.

If you have a lot of pieces of silver jewelry this may not be the best way to go, since it’s simply not practical to do it with every piece of silver every time you store it away. It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t use bags that contain Mylar or polyethylene.

2. Storing each piece individually

For the most part, the common way to damage a piece of silver is by scratching it. That’s what happens when pieces of silver jewelry are kept together and they end up banging against each other, creating small imperfections in the silver itself.

That can be avoided simply by placing each piece of jewelry individually in a small plastic bag. It’s somewhat tiresome to do, especially so if you have a large collection of silver jewelry. On the other hand, it may be a good way to help with organizing and storing your jewelry.

Once the piece of jowly is stored in an individual paper bag, it’s best not to keep it in a dry and cool area. The silver should be also kept away from direct sunlight.  That will prevent it from changing color over time, which is the biggest concern for most jewelry owners.

3. Storing away from wood

Storing away from wood
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Silver should be stored away from wood since it will cause it to lose color and shine. Wooden boxes look pretty and if it’s important how you present your silver collection they are a good way to go, but then you’ll need to have some barrier between the wood and the silver itself.

It’s important to note that this very much depends on how the wood is treated. When wood is stained or when some chemicals are applied to it to preserve its look and level of moisture, it’s best to stay clear of it, for jewelry presentation purposes.

Jewelry in particular is easiest to store away from wood at least if you’re not planning to display it. However, this may be more challenging when it comes to storing silverware. As is the case with other tips on our list, it’s a matter of finding a balance between not tarnishing the silver and storing it in a practical way.

4. Absorbing moisture

Moisture itself won’t damage silver, but the chemicals that can be found in water can. This is especially true when you’re storing the silver after you’ve cleaned it or after you’ve tried to tarnish it. Some of the chemicals that are used for this purpose may remain in the water droplets and you should keep the piece dry when storing it.

There are many ways to do so, but it depends on how much you’re willing to spend on keeping the jewelry dry. For the most part, it’s easiest to do by using chalk. It’s easily available and inexpensive, but it does the job.

It’s done simply by placing the piece of chalk with the jewelry and the chalk will do the rest over time. If the jewelry is stored in a bag, just add a piece of chalk to it, but make sure that it’s not harsh so that it doesn’t damage the silver.

5. Use anti-tarnish cloth

Use anti-tarnish cloth
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Anti-tarnish cloth is a commonly used tool in jewelry shops and its main goal is to clean the piece of silver so that it remains shiny and appears as new. The cloth could easily be found online and it’s enough to have one, that you’ll use for all of your silver. This is enough unless you have a lot of different pieces that you use interchangeably.

The cloth is best used when you take a piece of jewelry off and when you’re storing it. That way any imperfections will be removed before the piece is stored and it’s kept in the best possible condition.

If a piece of jewelry is stored for a long time, you may need to clean it a few times, even if it hasn’t been used. There’s no rule as to how often you’ll need to do it. It’s best to set up reoccurring dates when you plan to clean your silver.

6. Putting the jewelry away

This may seem like a simple enough proposition, but it’s often one that’s most overlooked and that most people end up ignoring. The jewelry should be kept away in a designated bag or a box when it’s not used. That way you’ll know where it is and that it’s stored in a proper way.

However, it often happens that you overlook this goal and it leads to jewelry being displaced or being kept in a manner that’s not optimal for its longevity and that gets it tarnished over time. Pieces of silver jewelry are often left on night tables for way too long.

It’s a matter of creating a habit and sticking to it no matter what. No one is perfect in this regard, but over time, it becomes like second nature and you’ll simply start storing the jewelry away once you’ve done wearing it.

7. Have a good cleaning routine

Have a good cleaning routine
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A good cleaning routine is essential to keep the sterling silver clean and shiny. There are a lot of ways to clean silver. Some rely on homemade mixtures that are proven to work and that have good scientific reasoning behind them. Others use products that are ready-made and that are costlier.

It’s not important whether you’ll use a premade cloth or baking soda in which you’ve placed the jewelry. All of these work and it’s best to try a few different materials out and figure out which one works best for you.

Once you’ve found the best solution to use, stick to it and create a routine that will focus on the jewelry based on how long it’s been used and how gently it is. The same applies to other items made out of silver since there’s no difference in how to take care of them.

8. Use it

Again, this may seem like simple enough advice but it’s way too often overlooked and not abided by. Silver is made to be used and it’s becoming tarnished when it’s simply stored away and not being used as it was meant to be.

There’s also a philosophical bend to this rule, since what’s the point of having a beautiful piece of silver if it’s not used and kept in storage at all times. This most often happens with silverware but it sometimes happens with jewelry as well. The pieces are kept in storage until the time comes for them to be used and they never are.

The use of silver will also lead you taking care of it and making sure that it’s in the best possible condition and thuds prevent it from tarnishing over time.

To sum up

Silver tends to get tarnished and darken over time. That’s due to the process called oxidation. In order to keep it in good condition and to do what you can to keep it shiny and delicate in appearance, you’ll need to keep it clean and neatly stored. Sometimes, this is as simple as storing the jewelry pieces separately and with care.

There are also simple rules that you should follow when it comes to how the jewelry is cleaned. Having a routine that you stick to in this regard helps as well. It’s also useful to use the jewelry regularly and to notice the changes that it goes through over time and with more vigorous use.

How are you keeping your silver jewelry clean and shiny? What’s most challenging in doing so?

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