Sterling silver is a combination of pure silver and metal. This is most commonly used to make jewelry and utensils and it is never 100 % pure silver. To make it last longer, it’s mixed with other metals like copper or nickel. It’s therefore an alloy of silver and copper. The percentage of copper in sterling silver is about 7.5%. The reason of using copper in sterling silver instead of others metals is because it provides more durability. Sterling silver gets tarnished easily as it reacts to air very soon. That is why it’s important to keep proper care and cleaning of all sterling silver items. People who like the shine which appears in silver after it is cleaned, need not to worry to get that as the below mentioned guide will enable them to do this in minutes.
Complexity Level: Basic
Time required: 25 – 30 minutes
1. Glass or any heat-proof dish
2. Aluminum foil
3. Baking soda
4. Boiling water
5. A spoon (plastic or wooden)
6. A soft (used) toothbrush
7. Paper towels
8. Soft cloth
9. Airtight containers
1. Preparing the heat proof dish:
- To start with cleaning, it’s essential to cover the heat proof dish with a crumbled piece of aluminum foil. Make sure the aluminum foil is placed with the shining part up. It’s advisable not to use jewelry which has stones, shells or pearls.
2. Put the silver pieces to be cleaned in to the dish:
- Now you can put the silver pieces to be put in the dish over the aluminum foil. Clean all the narrow cracks, opening and designs with the toothbrush before you put them in the heat proof dish.
3. Put baking soda and boiling water over the silver pieces:
- After you have put the dirty piece of your sterling silver over the aluminum foil, you need to sprinkle one full spoon of baking soda. Now pour boiling water over the silver and cover it fully with this. You can stir with the spoon to remove rust from the silver.
4. Removing, Drying, and Polishing
- After the tarnishing has gone away, you can pick up the silver from the dish and wash it with water in the sink. After you have rinsed the silver, dry it with a paper towel. And polish the silver with a soft cloth. Store the silver in an airtight container to slower the tarnishing process.
Frequently asked questions:
1. How effective is it to clean the sterling silver with toothpaste?
Most of the people have heard of cleaning the silver with the toothpaste but it does not bring the same shine in the silver and also it can produce scratches on your jewelry. One should use baking soda instead of toothpaste cleaning method.
2. Is there any way of slowing down the tarnishing process of sterling silver?
Yes. A lot of chemically treated airtight cases or clothes are available in the market which are meant for storing sterling silver jewelries or utensils.
1. Do not use toothpaste for cleaning just to save your time as it may cause scratches in your jewelry.
2. Opt for cleaning pastes instead of toothpaste.
3. Having appropriate polishing cloth is a must .
4. Storing in airtight container or chemically treated cases helps slower down the tarnishing process.
Things to watch out for:
1. To make sure your jewelry is authentic, check for 92.5 or 925 markings on your silver jewelry.
2. Sterling silver should always be stored at a cool place.