Silver is like a living being – it breathes and reacts to the environment and that is why silver objects tend to lose their sparkle over time. How to make tarnished silver shine again and ensure the long lifetime of your silver jewellery?
If you wish to ensure your jewellery’s long lifetime, cleaning is highly important. All WildWoman silver jewellery bear the silver mark 925 (sometimes called also sterling silver). It is a metal that can last for centuries if maintained well and stored reasonably! Loe siit, miks hõbe tumedaks muutub.
Before you begin, it is worth considering that silver is a highly soft metal. You can easily bend it as you wish. Therefore, it is not difficult to clean silver jewellery as you can bend it a little to reach every nook and cranny. Be firm and consistent but also slow – avoid abrupt and fierce bending. Silver does not stand sudden moves as these can break it!
Fortunately, cleaning silver jewellery is not too complicated. Tarnished silver may be given an entirely new look in a few minutes! You don’t always need special equipment either. A lighter oxide layer could be rubbed off with a soft fabric. The best results are ensured by a special anti-tarnish polishing cloth but cotton and wool are equally suitable. You get excellent results also with microfibre!
If this is not enough or the jewellery has uneven surface, you could opt for the quick solution and wash it gently with standard toothpaste and a VERY SOFT toothbrush. But you need to be very careful, as abrasive toothpaste can scratch the silver surface and your jewellery will lose the lovely sheen!
You could also try cleaning it by gently rubbing baking soda on it with a soft sponge. Take three parts baking soda and one part water and mix it all together. Make the silver jewellery wet, cover a sponge with the baking soda mixture and rub the silver clean. Don’t use paper tissues (they scratch and they are not environmentally friendly), instead take a soft dish-washing sponge or a cloth! And you need to be extra careful with gemstones as they are highly delicate and can be easily damaged by rubbing.
In case your jewellery has no gemstones, you can use the classic mixture of aluminium foil, salt, soda and hot water to soak your jewellery in. For instance, line a bowl with aluminium foil, put 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda in the bowl, place the jewellery in and pour 1 litre of boiling water over it. You should take a higher bowl as the substances will fizz when reacting and the liquid will rise. Be careful with pouring the water as you don’t want it to spill over. The jewellery will clean in a few minutes, you can wait a little longer, if necessary. For the foil, you could use the take-away food foil box or cooking foil. Note, that this method is not allowed on gemstone jewellery!
If all the above seems too much of a hassle, you can buy very effective silver cleaning substances. We recommend this silver cleaning polish as we have found it to be highly efficient and safe for gemstones! Shake the bottle, apply some polish on a cloth and rub the silver (but be careful not to rub the gemstones too hard). Then rinse it gently off with soapy water, rub dry with a soft cloth and polish to shine.
There are also various cleaning substances to soak your jewellery in. These can be highly effective, however, we have noticed that they do not always have a good effect on the jewellery. It must not be used to clean jewellery with crystals – the liquid damages them very quickly. Similarly, you should not soak jewellery that has been partially oxidised or tarnished already – they will quickly lose their lovely look. We have also noticed that jewellery cleaned in such solutions will soon tarnish again. Polishing the jewellery with paste freshens it up much better and the oxide layer remains longer.
Whichever industrial silver cleaning substance you choose, remember to wear rubber gloves as these tend to be very strong. It is actually important with all chemicals, but with liquids it is particularly imperative that you rinse the substance off well (especially in case of carvings and crevices)! With extended contact with the substance, silver will become brittle and fall to pieces. Similarly, keep the substances away from children and nature where they can create a lot of damage!
It doesn’t matter which cleaning method you use, please remember that jewellery must be always polished with a dry cloth at the end of the process. It is the polishing that gives the final sheen and prevents the oxidation from returning. You should also remember that the cloth used for cleaning and polishing will probably never be clean again. So you should use a cloth that you can throw away later (or use it for polishing silver also in the future) as the dirt tends stick in it.
If you maintain your silver jewellery well, they will also serve you well and remain strikingly beautiful for many years. Then you can easily leave your jewellery box to your grandchildren – as silver jewellery is a timeless, even everlasting value.