Cleaning Sterling Silver
Soap and water: Warm water and a mild, ammonia- and phosphate-free dishwashing soap should be your first line of defense if the polishing cloth fails to remove tarnish. Soap and water should also be used to clean your pieces before using any of the methods listed below.
Silver is soft and can become scratched easily. You can use a special silver cloth to polish your items, but a lint-free flannel, microfiber, or other soft non abrasive cloth will do as well. Do not use paper towels or tissues to polish your jewelry as they contain fibers that can scratch the silver.
Wear: You can avoid tarnish by wearing your jewelry often. The oils in your skin will “clean” the silver and keep it looking shiny.
Avoid exposure: Contact with household chemicals, perspiration, rubber, chlorinated water, or any substances which contain sulfur (e.g., mayonnaise, eggs, mustard, onions, latex, wool), will cause corrosion and tarnish — so it’s a good idea to remove silver jewelry when doing household chores. Direct sunlight also causes silver to tarnish, so be sure to take off your silver jewelry before you go swimming and sunbathing.
Lotions, cosmetics, hair spray and hair products, and perfumes are also “enemies” of silver and will accelerate tarnishing. There’s a reason generations of women have been getting dressed with jewelry last, as a finishing touch.
Storing Sterling Silver Jewelry
There are many anti-tarnishing papers and bags on the market that can be used to discourage the tarnishing of sterling silver jewelry. These are excellent for storage, and if possible, they should be used each time a piece of jewelry goes into the jewelry box for storage.