Did you know that humans first discovered silver around 4,000 BC? Ever since then, people have been making this precious metal into all sorts of objects, especially jewelry. Today, silver rings and other pieces of silver jewelry can be found in just about any jewelry store around.
However, learning how to clean silver rings is not quite as easy as buying them in the first place. If don’t tend to take care of your silver jewelry, you will find that after enough time, the jewelry will start to tarnish. The jewelry will become dark and dull and sooner or later, you will have to figure out how to clean it.
But how should you go about cleaning silver in the right fashion? Keep reading and learn more about how to clean jewelry made of silver and how you can keep your jewelry in good shape.
How to Take Care of Your Silver Jewelry
As mentioned before, silver jewelry will tarnish over time and there’s not much you can do to stop it. Why might this be, you might ask? Most silver is made with some percentage of copper mixed in.
Sterling silver has an especially high percentage of silver. Pure silver, on the other hand, is very rare because it is quite soft and can get damaged easily. However, it is the copper within silver jewelry that causes it to tarnish.
In theory, if you have jewelry made of pure silver, you wouldn’t have to worry much about it getting tarnished. You should be able to check what kind of silver your jewelry is by checking for an inscription. For example, if you find 9.25, 925/1000, or “Sterling” written somewhere on your silver ring, you can be sure that your ring is made out of sterling silver.
Sterling silver has around 7% of copper in it. More expensive types of silver have much more silver and much less copper. Whatever the case, most types of silver have at least some copper in them.
Otherwise, the jewelry would be too soft to wear without getting damaged.
There are many ways to take care of your silver jewelry so that it can withstand the test of time.
For example, you shouldn’t wear your silver ring all the time, even if it is your school ring or another favorite ring. Silver jewelry tends to tarnish when it is exposed to oxygen.
Silver and Oxygen
While there is no sure way to get rid of the oxygen surrounding the ring, keeping a silver ring on your finger for a long period of time can expose it to other things that might damage it. For example, if you shower or wash dishes with your ring on, the soap can leave a film over the silver and make it look dull. If you really want to keep your silver in good shape, you can keep it in a special bag inside of a cool, dark area, only wearing it when you really want to.
Polishing the silver once in a while is also great for keeping the silver shiny. Applying silver polish can even keep the silver jewelry from getting tarnished. While the polish can’t prevent silver from tarnishing completely, it can slow down the tarnishing process.
This makes it easier to keep up with the quality of your silver jewelry. But how should you go about cleaning your silver ring once it does get tarnished?
How to Clean Silver Rings the Right Way
When cleaning your silver jewelry, you will want to avoid anything that might damage the silver in any way. This is especially true if you’re dealing with jewelry made of pure silver since pure silver is much softer than other types of silver mixed with other metals. If you’re not careful, your silver ring could end up full of scratches and dents that you won’t be able to simply polish away.
The easiest and safest way to clean silver jewelry is with soap and warm water. This might sound too easy, but this solution actually works very well for most forms of jewelry. However, if your silver ring is heavily tarnished and hasn’t been cleaned for a long time, you may need to use more serious cleaning tactics.
To start with this method, you will want to fill a bowl with warm water. It is important that the water is warm and not hot. This is because hot water can soften and even damage your silver ring.
Before you end up with a clean ring, you will need to make sure that you choose the right kind of soap as well. You will want to avoid any harsh soaps or any other harsh chemicals. Instead, opt for ordinary dishwashing soap, preferably a mild one.
You can even use baby shampoo if you don’t have the right kind of dish soap on hand. Once you have your soap, pour a few drops into the bowl of warm water. Then, mix the soap and water together with a fork or a whisk until suds start to form.
Soaking the Silver
Once soap bubbles form, it will be time to add in your jewelry. You can add several pieces of jewelry at once. Then, soak the silver for about 10 minutes. If there is a lot of tarnish on your silver, you might have to soak it for 20 or even 30 minutes.
The warm water will work to soften the tarnish and any other dirt and grime that may be stuck to the surface of the silver. After the silver is done soaking, take out the jewelry and scrub it with a toothbrush. You will want to be very careful with this step because scrubbing the jewelry in an improper way can end up damaging it.
You will want to make sure that you’re using the right kind of toothbrush. Using a toothbrush with hard bristles will only scratch the silver. If your jewelry is plated with silver, a harsh toothbrush might actually end up removing the silver plating. On the other hand, if you use a toothbrush with soft bristles, the bristles will be gentle enough on the metal that it will not cause any scratches or other damage.
You will also want to be careful as to how you scrub the silver. Moving the toothbrush in small, circular motions is ideal. This type of motion will make sure that dirt and tarnish are removed from every crevice of your silver rings.
On the other hand, scrubbing the toothbrush up and down or side to side will not be able to catch all the grime. Scrubbing too hard might also scratch your ring, even if the toothbrush itself is gentle.
Drying the Silver
After scrubbing your jewelry, you will want to rinse it with warm water.
This will wash away any remaining particles of dirt that may have been resting on the surface or in the crevices of your jewelry. Finally, you will need to dry the ring with a special towel. Drying your jewelry with paper towels or an old rag is not a good idea.
Paper towels are quite rough and can end up scratching your jewelry, especially if it is made of high-quality silver. Instead, you should dry your jewelry with a cloth specifically made for silver items. A silver cloth is very soft and you can even use it for polishing as well.
If you don’t have a silver cloth on hand, a microfiber towel will do. Microfiber towels are woven so finely and the fibers are so smooth that there is no chance that the towel could damage your jewelry. You can also let your silver air dry, but this will obviously take a longer period to dry.
Make sure that your jewelry is completely dry before wearing it. If you wear silver that still has moisture in it, it could end up irritating your skin later on in the day.
The method of soaking and brushing silver jewelry should work on most types of silver. However, if your silver is badly tarnished or has some particularly stubborn dirt, you may have to try a few other methods to get your silver clean.
How to Clean Silver With Baking Soda
Cleaning silver jewelry with baking soda is very effective, but you won’t want to do it all the time. Baking soda may seem like a soft powder, but it is actually made up of many tiny particles that are very hard and abrasive. Baking soda works so well as a cleaner because these tiny particles have the ability to scratch away any dirt that might be present.
However, you won’t want to clean your jewelry with baking soda all the time because the baking soda could also end up scrubbing away some of the silver itself. Each time you clean your silver ring with baking soda, you are actually losing a few particles of silver each time. While cleaning your silver in this way once in a while won’t cause any noticeable damage, doing it all the time will obviously make your silver dull and look worn down.
Once you clean your silver once with baking soda, all you have to do to keep the silver’s shine is wash it with soap and water now and again. As long as you do that, you shouldn’t have to use baking soda as a cleaner again.
To use baking soda to clean your jewelry, you will want to create a paste with it. You can do this by adding two parts of baking soda to one part of water. If the mixture is too thick or powdery, add a few more drops of water until it becomes more spreadable. Then, take the paste and smear it over your silver ring.
You will want to try and get this paste into every crevice that the silver has, otherwise, it won’t be able to clean the entire ring. You can accomplish this by rubbing the paste onto the jewelry with your finger or with a rag. Once the ring is completely covered in the baking soda paste, let the ring sit for a few minutes.
Eventually, the paste will dry out and harden. That’s when you’ll be able to know when to remove the paste. It is important to let the paste dry completely because that’s how it’s able to anchor onto the tarnish and remove it.
When the paste is dry, simply wash it off with warm water. Immediately, you should notice a difference in your ring’s appearance. The silver should be much brighter and shinier than before.
Once you rinse off all the paste, make sure that you dry the ring. Then, your ring should be ready to wear again and it should look better than ever. If you don’t have baking soda on hand, you can actually use a few other substances, most notably cornstarch.
Cornstarch also looks like an ordinary white powder, but it is made out of relatively abrasive particles. Keep in mind that cornstarch may not be as effective as baking soda. That’s because cornstarch is not quite as abrasive as baking soda and might not be able to scrub away all the tarnish and dirt on your ring.
However, if you don’t have anything else on hand, cornstarch should still do a pretty good job.
How to Clean Silver Jewelry Like a Pro
When it comes to learning how to clean silver rings, you can see that the task isn’t all that hard. Soap and water can clean most types of silver and if that doesn’t work, creating a baking soda paste should do the trick.
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