Cleaning Sterling Silver
Silver is one of the most popular precious metals, it's bright, shiny and super versatile. Pure silver is a very soft metal, which is why sterling silver consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other alloys, typically copper, to make it more durable. But it's these other metals that can react with the air to create tarnish.
The good news is that tarnish is easy to prevent, or clean if necessary. Firstly, try to avoid getting your jewellery in direct contact with any chemicals, for example, perfume, chlorine, sunscreen, hairspray etc. as they can all speed up the tarnishing process.
Wearing your jewellery is one of the best ways to prevent tarnish, that's because the natural oils in our skin can help to keep it clean. But when it's not being worn the best way to store your jewellery is in an air tight bag, an anti-tarnish strip in there can help too.
If it's too late for prevention and your jewellery has started to become dull or even black, then the easiest way to bring back the shine is with a silver polishing cloth...
If you have a dainty silver chain which isn't so easy to clean with a cloth, then another option is a silver dip. As the name suggests, just dip your jewellery in the solution for a few seconds then rinse with water and dry it well. Whilst not suitable for certain gemstones, including pearls, I find silver dip to be one of the quickest and most effective ways of bringing back the shine to sterling silver...
Silver dips and polishing cloths can be found in most large supermarkets, they are also fairly inexpensive. Make sure you read the instructions carefully and avoid contact with your skin as silver dip includes some very strong chemicals.
If you find there's still some dirt trapped in small spaces such as stamped letters, that can easily be cleaned with a little warm water, washing up liquid and an old toothbrush.
So, if you find your sterling silver jewellery is looking too dull to wear, don't worry, there's always something you can do to bring back its sparkle.