How to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry

how to clean sterling silver jewelry

How to clean sterling silver jewelry has 20 million results on Google. “Does sterling silver rust? Does sterling silver fade? If they do, then can you teach me how to clean sterling silver?”

 Yes OK. Here are the facts that you’re hungry to know. 

1. Sterling silver can “rust” (darken) underwater – more on this later
2. Sterling silver can fade

And yes, even if they rust you can clean them without them fading. Here are some facts you need to know about sterling silver.

Before You Learn How to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry Here are Some Facts

bkf can clean a silver tea set like this. make sure to check if it's sterling silver or higher grade silver first so you don't scracth your set

1. Sterling silver will tarnish when it touches with oxygen or sulfur
2. Sterling silver can darken underwater due to oxidation
3. There are parts of the sterling silver jewelry that’s darkened on purpose
4. Purity matters when cleaning. For example, .950 sterling silver is softer than .925 which is “purer” silver

Regarding number two, sterling silver doesn’t actually rust like iron, but it can get a dull, dark color that ruins the elegant luster of your jewelry.

There are many ways to clean sterling silver. Here’s how to clean sterling silver jewelry tarnish.

How to clean sterling silver jewelry and prevent it from tarnishing

Contact with oxygen, sulfur should be minimized to prevent it from darkening. As mentioned previously, you should know what part of your jewelry has been darkened on purpose so you don’t ruin it by cleaning and polishing that part.  

Fortunately, oxidized silver sterling “rust” is not harmful and it can be cleaned without corrosion. Since prevention is better then you need to store and clean your jewelry properly.

Step 1: Always clean your jewelry after wearing 
Step 2: Use a soft clothto clean the sweat and oil
Step 3: Use a little bit of warm water

Note: Dry the water with a dry soft cloth as water with chlorine will also tarnish the jewelry

Step 4: Polish the dry jewelry

Attention: Use polishing cloth or soft cloth that’s non abrasive

Step 5:  Store it in a cool, dry place

Another thing to note is that regular cleaning is important because silver reacts to different other stuff that it touches and thus tarnishing is almost unavoidable. 

Minimize moisture by putting some chalk where you’re storing your silver as chalk absorbs the moisture from the air.

Homemade Cleaners – What cleans sterling silver?

Here’s a list of silver sterling cleaners that are readily available at home.

1. Baking soda
2. Ketchup 
3. Beer

Vinegar was mentioned previously but we found that it’s just not as effective as baking soda or the other items in the list. We also found that vinegar can make your silver fade.

Since baking soda is rated 10 out of 10 best cleaner by this website, then we need to focus on what’s the most effective way rather than giving you the illusion of choice.

Here’s a good video tutorial you can follow.

How to Clean Silver Jewelry with Baking Soda

What you need.

1. Kettle
2. Bowl
3. Aluminum foil
4. Baking soda
5. Soft cloth
6. Spoon

Step 1: Put the aluminum foil inside the bowl. 
Step 2: Pour some baking soda on top of the aluminum foil
Step 3: Pour hot water inside the bowl

Warning: Please be careful when dealing with hot water. Pouring hot water on baking soda is safe but avoid contact with the steam as it’s also hot.

Step 4: Stir the baking soda-water solution with a spoon
Step 5: Gently place the tarnished jewelry into the water
Step 6: Leave it for a few seconds
Step 7: Fish the jewelry with a spoon keep in mind it’s hot
Step 8: Drop the jewelry on a soft cloth
Step 9: Use the soft cloth to dry and polish the jewelry 

These other cleaning techniques are not as effective but will work for less tarnished jewelry. This is not recommended for very tarnished jewelry but the following will do in a pinch.

How to Clean Sterling Silver with Beer

beer can clean your sterling silver jewelry

Step 1: Pour beer in a bowl
Step 2: Put the jewelry in the bowl
Step 3: Leave it for 5 to 10 minutes to soak in the beer
Step 4: Take the jewelry out and put it in a soft cloth
Step 5: Dry and polish the jewelry with the soft cloth

How to Clean Silver Jewelry Using Ketchup

Step 1: Put some ketchup on the jewelry
Step 2: Use a soft brush to gently scrub the ketchup into the silver
Step 3: Wash the jewelry with warm water
Step 4: Dry it with a soft cloth

Note: The ketchup will leave an unpleasant smell if you will not rinse it thoroughly with warm water. 

How to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry with Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser and Polish

Bar Keepers Friend can help clean silver pots and pans. It’s also safe to use as a cleaner and polishing agent for your jewelry.

Why is it so effective?

1. It’s not abrasive and safe to use on sterling silver

Note: Please note that it’s not recommended for other silver jewelry other than sterling silver only. 

2. Proven cleaning power for even the grimiest cookware translates well for tarnished sterling silver jewelry

Attention: You need to know the purity of your silver to avoid scratches. Other than that, using Bar Keepers Friend and a soft cloth or soft bristle brush is the easiest way to clean. 

As with everything that’s valuable to you, you need to double-check everything. One thing you can do is test BKF on a small, discreet portion of your jewelry. 

Here’s how to clean your sterling silver jewelry using Bar Keepers Friend.

Step 1: Put some Bar Keepers Friend cleanser and polish on the jewelry

Note: A small amount of the liquid will go a long way.

Step 2: Scrub the jewelry gently with a soft brush or you can use a no-scratch home scrubber to clean and polish the jewelry
Step 3: Rinse the jewelry with water
Step 4: Dry, clean, polish (using a gentle dish cloth) and store your jewelry in a cool dry place

The Crown Choice Cleaning Bundle

The Crown Choice Swedish dish cloth is a great companion if you’re going to use Bar Keeper’s Friend. It’s non scratch, it’s gentle, it doesn’t smell and it’s the best cleaner and polishing cloth.


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The Crown Choice scouring cloth is also a great partner for the Bar Keepers Friend. It comes in a pack of 2 for your convenience. This bundle is all you need, whether you want to clean your silver pots and pans or polish your sterling silver jewelry. 

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  • ✔️ VERSATILE SCOURING PAD CLOTHS: Open mesh scouring design gets into difficult to clean places without gunking up.
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Bar Keeper’s Friend Soft Cleanser and 2 All Purpose Scrubber Cloth Kit

The great Bar Keepers Friend cleanser works best with 2 non scratch dish cloths or 2 home scrubbing scourers. It’s a great set to help clean and polish your items in the house.

Click the link to purchase the no smell dish cloth and non scratch scourer and to see all the exclusive cleaning items from The Crown Choice.

Download the PDF version of this article below.

How to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry 3

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