Top 3 Tips for Cleaning Silver

Top 3 Tips for Cleaning Silver

Top 3 Ways to Clean Silver

In this blog we will look at the Top 3 Tips for Cleaning Silver Jewellery and objects. Sterling silver and fine silver are precious metals which is known for its lustrous shine and versatility. 

Whether it's purchased or heirloom jewellery or bowls, vases and tableware, keeping silver items clean is important to maintain its beauty and shine. 

But often tarnish appears and causes the silver to dull. As a jeweller and silversmith who works with silver continuously, here are the recommended Top 3 Tips for cleaning silver jewellery and silver objects.  


What is Silver Tarnish?

One of the top reasons for wanting to clean silver is Tarnish. Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms on metals and appears as a dull grey or black coating. You can often see tarnish in the crevices of claws on rings or on silver earrings where your fingers rub against the hook.  The tarnish is silver sulphide and it forms as the silver reacts with sulphur compounds in the atmosphere. 

Fear not! For there are several effective methods to restore silver's shine and lustre! 

In this blog, we will explore the top three ways to clean silver, from professional cleaning, to using a silver polishing cloth, to using silver polish, thus ensuring your cherished pieces remain sparkling for years to come, 

1. Professional Cleaning 

Professional cleaning is the most preferred method of cleaning silver. Just like you don’t service your own car!  There are professional jewellers, who have a world of knowledge about gemstones and metals, who can effectively clean and polish your silver pieces, looking after its longevity. 

Professional Cleaning Equipment

Many jewellers and silversmiths offer professional cleaning services, utilising specialised equipment and techniques to restore silver items to their former glory.

I would recommend getting in contact with your local jeweller and discussing with them the methods and cost involved in cleaning your silver items. You can also trail or test a jeweller, by giving them one of your “less'' precious items to clean. If you are happy with the results, then book in other silver items. 

Expensive professional jewellery cleaning 

I do understand that you may have a lot of items, so this could become an expensive and costly exercise. In which case, take in your items, one at a time and over a certain duration, like over 2 years and spread out the cost. Many of our day to day silver jewellery items like rings, earrings or bangles, can survive with a good wipe of a silver polish cloth, in between professional cleans.  

2. Silver Polishing Cloth

One of the best ways to clean silver at home is to use a silver polishing cloth. 

A silver polishing cloth can be purchased from any retail jeweller or from any retail supermarket. It is a simple and effective method of regaining and maintaining silver’s shine!

Begin by making sure your silver is free of any dirt or debris by gently wiping it with a soft DRY cloth. Then, using a specialised silver polishing cloth GENTLY rub the surface of the silver in small, circular motions. Avoid using excessive pressure to prevent scratching the silver. 

What are these black tarnish marks? 

As you polish, you'll notice the tarnish gradually lifting, leaving a black mark on the polishing cloth. As you remove the tarnish and the cloth becomes dark coloured. The silver should start to gleam in the areas that you have rubbed. Continue polishing until you achieve the desired shine, periodically checking your progress. 

Once satisfied, buff the silver with a clean, dry cloth to remove any remaining residue.  The radiant finish is what remains. This method is ideal for quick touch-ups and routine maintenance, keeping your silver items looking their best with minimal effort.


Below is a link to an example of a silver polishing cloth. You might also find them on shopping sites like Amazon and Ebay. 

Link to Polishing Cloths for Sale HERE


3. Silver Polish

Silver Polish is a liquid polish design specifically for polishing and cleaning silver with a cloth. There are many brands available, so it is best to read the back of the label, before purchasing to make sure it is suitable for Sterling Silver (92.5% Silver) Fine Silver (99% silver) or whatever percentage of silver your jewellery or object contains. 

This is a link to an Australian supermarket, where they are selling silver polish. 

Click HERE to see the example

How does Silver Polish work? 

Commercial silver polish products are specifically formulated to clean and polish silver and often provide excellent results. In Australia we have called Silvo. Follow the instructions on the product packaging for the best results, But typically the process involved is as follows: 
  1. Place a small amount of polish to a dry clean cotton cloth
  2. Rub or buff the silver metal with the silver polish, ensuring that the entire object is covered in polish. 
  3. Rub the polish in a circular motion or an up-and-down motion, depending on the item you are polishing.
  4. Do not rub too hard, to avoid scratching the metal surface. 
  5. Turn and rotate the cloth, ensuring you are using all the clean sections, so tarnish isn’t rubbed back into the item. 
  6. Thoroughly wash and rinse the silver item in warm water.  
  7. Dry off the metal with another separate DRY clean cotton cloth. 

As you will see from using Silver Polish, it can provide great results with bringing out the shine of your silver jewellery. However always use in moderation and please take your pieces to a professional jeweller, if you are not seeing the results you want. 

Conclusion 

In summary, professional cleaning, silver cloth, and silver polish emerge as the top three recommended cleaning silver methods for maintaining the brilliance and longevity of your silver jewellery and objets.  Professional cleaning ensures a thorough and expert-level treatment, safeguarding against potential damage while effectively removing tarnish and restoring shine. Silver cloths offer a gentle yet efficient solution for regular upkeep, effortlessly wiping away tarnish and dirt without the need for harsh chemicals or abrasives. Similarly, silver polish provides a targeted approach, specially formulated to dissolve tarnish and polish silver surfaces to a dazzling finish. 

By employing these trusted methods, you can confidently preserve the beauty and value of your silver jewellery for years to come, ensuring that each piece remains a timeless and cherished adornment.

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