April 8

How to Clean Silver Earrings and Silver Charms

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Silver jewelry is renowned for its beauty and brilliance. However, timely and regular cleaning is an essential part of retaining the splendor of silver.

Silver is one of the most popular materials used for producing different kinds of jewelry. Silver earrings and silver charms are amongst the most popular forms of jewelry. Silverware cutlery and dishes are often passed down through families. Part of the allure of this material is that through proper care it can retain its brilliance year after year. 

In order to retain the brilliance of silver, proper cleaning is needed.  There are a lot of silver polishing products available in the market for this purpose. Since silver is largely considered a luxury material, these products often come with a luxury price tag. However, it is quite possible to take good care of silver charms and earrings by using regular household products.

Discover Sparkling Silver Jewelry

There are various methods to remove stains and make silver jewelry all the more bright. Of all the methods we’ve tried, the following is one of the more effective.

Before you begin your work, we recommend gathering a few key ingredients to work with:

  1. Any silver jewelry you want to clean (do not use this method for jewelry with  gemstones)
  2. A roll of aluminum foil
  3. A small glass baking pan
  4. Baking soda 
  5. A cotton cloth or soft towel

The below described method can be broken down in three essential phases. These phases are as follows:

Phase 1

Take a piece of aluminum foil and create a lining around the inner surface of a small glass baking pan. It is important to make sure that the shiny side of the aluminum foil is facing outwards. Now, place the silver charms and earrings directly onto the aluminum surface.

Phase 2

Add hot tap water to the pan until all the silver jewelry is completely submerged in hot water.

Sprinkle some baking soda on top of the water. This will trigger a chemical reaction which is noticeable at the surface of your silver jewelry. Let the silver products stay submerged in the hot water for about one hour.

sterling silver earrings

Phase 3

After an hour, remove the products from the solution and rinse them in plain water. One can either rub the jewelry with a soft cotton cloth or dry it with a soft towel. At the end of this, take some time to admire your newly sparkling silver charms and earrings.

 

Useful Information

Because of its high starch content, Potato water is very effective in removing tarnish from your sterling silver jewelry. It also will help to remove dirt and oxide stains from the jewelry. Wrapping it in anti-tarnish paper or tissue paper and keeping it in an airtight plastic bag is the best way to protect your ornaments from losing their shine.

Tips & Warnings

This method for cleaning silver jewelry pieces works well for silver products such as silver bangles, wedding bands, necklaces, earrings, charms and all kinds of silverware. However, it is not recommended to clean silver jewelry with precious jewels using this method. Such cleaning may result in significant damage or loss of the jewels.

sterling silver charms

Keep them Shining

Silver jewelry is a timeless and versatile accessory that can add elegance to any outfit. However, silver requires proper care and cleaning to maintain its beauty and shine over time. Silver which is cared for correctly will preserve its intrinsic radiance and gleam. Cherished silver items become family heirlooms to hand down when they retain their brilliance through generations. Simple cleaning makes silver jewelry last longer and maintain its iconic sparkle and shine. Following the above tips would ensure that silver jewelry retains its shine and charm and keeps the wearer looking all the more glamorous.

If silver is shining and you still are in a hyper cleaning mood, we recommend checking out our article on How to Make a Disinfecting Floor Cleaner with Just 2 Ingredients for another great cleaning hack.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What are the best cleaning methods for silver earrings?

    Silver earrings require gentle yet effective cleaning to maintain their shine and brilliance over time. Certain methods are safer and more convenient for routine earring care.

    Polishing cloths offer a quick and easy way to buff away tarnish, fingerprints, and light soil on silver earrings. The soft microfiber cloth contains an anti-tarnish formula that lifts residue while brightening the silver with gentle friction. Simply rub the earring with the polishing cloth until it shines. No rinsing needed.

    Tarnish removal sprays applied with a soft cloth also work well for regular earring cleaning. Check that the formula is specifically for silver rather than a general jewelry cleaner, which may contain harsher chemicals. Spray a small amount onto a cloth. Gently wipe down the earring’s surface to dissolve tarnish and restore luster.

    For a deeper cleaning option, mix a mild detergent like dish soap or hand soap with warm water. Soak the earrings briefly and scrub gently with a soft bristled brush, such as an old toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and hand dry with a microfiber cloth. This method lifts dirt from crevices and intricate earring designs.

    Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners provide effective deep cleaning by using sound waves and a liquid solution to dissolve built-up tarnish and dirt. The high frequency vibrations dislodge even fine particles without need for scrubbing. Place earrings directly in the stainless steel cleaner basin with warm distilled water and a small amount of mild detergent. Rinse and dry after the ultrasonic cycle completes.

    Whichever method you choose, take care not to abrade the earring posts and clasps where metal may be thinnest. Avoid immersing pearl or gemstone earrings which can be damaged by liquids. For heavily tarnished silver, repeated treatments may be needed versus trying to remove it all at once. With regular care between wearings, these simple cleaning techniques keep silver earrings looking like new.

  • How can I clean silver earrings without damaging the stones or crystals?

    Special care and gentle cleaning methods help remove tarnish and buildup from silver earrings set with delicate stones or crystals without causing damage.

    Use a soft, lint-free jewelry polishing cloth to gently wipe down the silver parts of the earring. The cloth absorbs residue and restores shine to the silver settings while the fabric is soft enough not to scratch crystal or gemstone surfaces.

    Spray a microfiber cloth lightly with silver jewelry cleaner or mild soap and water mixture. Gently rub the cloth over the silver earring settings, avoiding direct contact with stones and crystals. The cloth allows targeted cleaning of just the tarnished silver.

    Clean around embellishments by using a soft detail brush, like an old toothbrush. Dip just the tip of the brush in the cleaner and gently scrub only the silver setting surfaces. Avoid scrubbing the crystals themselves.

    For cleaning crystals, lightly dampen a soft cloth with water or crystal-safe cleaner. Gently wipe each stone to remove accumulated dirt and oils. Take care not to soak or immerse crystal jewelry in liquids.

    After cleaning, dry the earrings with a fresh microfiber cloth. Allow them to fully air dry to prevent moisture damage to glue behind crystals or other mounting techniques. Hair dryers work well for drying behind stones.

    Heavily tarnished earrings may need to be professionally cleaned by a jeweler. Ultrasonic and steam cleaning offered by most jewelers will thoroughly clean silver earring settings without harming crystals and gemstones.

    Regular polishing and careful cleaning around embellishments keeps silver earrings with crystals or stones sparkling. Always avoid harsh scrubbing or chemicals to prevent loosening or damaging the delicate additions.

  • How do I get tarnish out of crevices in silver charm bracelets or necklaces?

    The small crevices and intricate details of silver charm jewelry makes cleaning a challenge. Special methods target tarnish in hard-to-reach areas.

    Use a soft-bristled cleaning brush designed for jewelry. An old toothbrush also works. Dip the brush in a diluted silver jewelry cleaning solution or mild soapy water. Gently scrub only on the tarnished areas, working the bristles around and into crevices and textured surfaces to lift residue.

    Rinse the piece thoroughly after scrubbing with the brush. Run clean, warm water over the jewelry while scrubbing with the brush to ensure all cleaner residue is removed from small spaces. Air dry completely.

    Toothpicks can also help dislodge built-up tarnish in grooves and corners. Gently rub the tip of a toothpick in the crevice to scrape away dark residue. Take care not to scratch the silver’s surface while cleaning.

    For open chain link bracelets and necklaces, lay the piece flat on a towel. Soak a cotton swab in silver cleaner or baking soda paste and use it to scrub in and around each individual chain link to remove tarnish trapped between them.

    Place extra stubborn, tarnished charms in a small bowl of silver cleaning solution to soak briefly before scrubbing with a brush. Soaking helps loosen thick tarnish so it can be brushed away more easily.

    Clean and dry one section of the bracelet or necklace at a time to prevent re-tarnishing while you work. Pat dry with a soft cloth.

    Repeated treatments may be needed for jewelry that is heavily tarnished. Take time to thoroughly clean each crevice and surface for a completely renewed look.

  • What household ingredients work to clean silver jewelry?

    Many common pantry staples offer an economical and effective way to naturally clean silver jewelry pieces without harsh chemicals.

    Baking Soda:

    Make a thick paste by mixing 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Gently rub the paste onto tarnished silver using a soft cloth or toothbrush. Let it sit briefly before rinsing and drying. Baking soda’s abrasive texture lifts residue for a polished look.

    Salt:

    Table salt combined with vinegar or lemon juice creates a natural silver cleaning solution. Mix equal parts salt and vinegar or lemon juice and rub gently onto tarnished areas using a soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly when finished cleaning.

    Aluminum Foil:

    Place silver jewelry in a bowl containing 1 cup hot water and a piece of aluminum foil. The chemical reaction between the foil and silver tarnish will restore the silver’s shine. Allow to soak until clean, about 5-10 minutes.

    Vinegar:

    Soak a clean cloth in undiluted white vinegar and use it to wipe away tarnish. For heavily coated pieces, soak in vinegar briefly before scrubbing with a brush. Always rinse vinegar off entirely afterwards.

    Toothpaste:

    The abrasives in regular toothpaste can buff away tarnish buildup. Apply a small amount to a soft cloth and gently rub onto silver in a circular motion. Rinse and hand dry when finished.

    With a little time and elbow grease, these household staples offer an affordable and effective way to clean silver jewelry without need for specialty polishes and solutions. Always test on a small area first and rinse completely after cleaning.

  • How often should I clean my silver earrings and charms?

    To keep silver earrings and charms looking their shiniest, follow a regular cleaning schedule based on how often you wear the pieces.

    For earrings worn daily or several times a week, aim to clean them at minimum once a week. Frequent wearing means skin oils, soap residue and even microscopic skin cells accumulate on silver much more quickly. A weekly quick clean refreshes the shine to prevent visible dull spots or darkening over time.

    Sterling silver earrings with higher copper content and silver-plated pieces also need more frequent cleaning. Polish every 3-5 wears, since these alloys show tarnish faster than fine silver. Anti-tarnish sprays between full cleanings help maintain the look.

    Delicate charm bracelets and necklaces that dangle and jostle while worn require cleaning after just 1-2 wears to prevent visible tarnish buildup. Tarnish remover cloths or dips work well for a fast refresh of charm surfaces. Pay extra attention to crevices.

    For simple silver hoops, studs and dangle earrings worn only occasionally or for special events, clean them once every few months. Check pieces before each wearing and give them a rub with a polishing cloth if any dark spots appear.

    Proper storage also plays a key role. Keeping earrings and charms inside anti-tarnish bags or sealed cases minimizes air exposure between wears and maintains shine for longer periods between cleanings.

    Ideally, establish a set schedule where silver earrings and charms receive a full cleaning after a certain number of wears or weeks to ensure they always exude shine and brilliance.

  • Will silver earrings or charms tarnish when not being worn?

    Unfortunately, silver earrings, charms and other jewelry pieces will still tarnish over time even when carefully stored and not being worn. Exposure to air causes silver to oxidize and darken regardless. However, proper storage does slow down the tarnishing process.

    Tarnish forms when low levels of hydrogen sulfide gas naturally present in the air react with the silver. This microscopic compound causes silver to develop a darker, aged appearance even enclosed inside a jewelry box. The tarnish may not be readily visible on pieces tucked neatly away, but still accumulates gradually.

    To minimize air exposure, silver jewelry should be stored inside non-porous containers like plastic zip bags or airtight plastic storage cases. Anti-tarnish cloth bags also provide an extra protective layer between silver and ambient air. Avoid fabric jewelry boxes, pouches or wood cases which allow airflow.

    Silica gel packs added to storage containers absorb excess moisture, since humidity accelerates tarnishing. Use several packets and replace them monthly for optimum moisture protection as the beads saturate. The drier the storage environment, the slower tarnish develops.

    Even following meticulous storage methods, some tarnish buildup will still gradually occur over months to years. Expect antique and vintage silver pieces to develop patina over time regardless due to higher copper content. Gently clean and polish silver jewelry before wearing to restore beauty and shine.

    With diligent air-tight storage and moisture control, the tarnishing process on silver earrings, charms and other jewelry pieces slows significantly. But the metals will still slowly interact with trace compounds in the air over extended durations.

  • What causes silver jewelry to tarnish quickly?

    Silver naturally oxidizes over time when exposed to air, humidity and common environmental elements that expedite the tarnishing process. Certain lifestyle factors also cause silver to darken or develop black spots quicker between regular cleanings.

    Skin oils, body chemistry residues and microscopic skin cells that transfer to silver jewelry while being worn contribute significantly to tarnish buildup. Fingers frequently handling and adjusting silver charms, rings, earrings and more leave behind oils, salts and organic debris.

    Cosmetics, hair products and perfumes speed tarnishing through chemical reactions between their ingredients and silver surfaces. Lotions, powders, spritzes and more degrade protective lacquers and coatings meant to shield silver pieces.

    Household cleaning chemicals like bleach, ammonia and acidic products can damage silver when accidentally splashed or exposed while wearing jewelry during chores. Even brief contact causes spotting and corrosion.

    Warm, humid climates as well as steamy spaces like bathrooms and pool areas cause rapid oxidation to silver. Increased moisture in the air exposes jewelry to more hydrogen sulfides which react with silver to create tarnish.

    Sulfur-based compounds are especially problematic. Rubber bands, wool and felt storage materials, eggs, onion and garlic, photograph chemicals and more all contain sulfur that interacts with silver to quickly blacken its surface when exposed.

    By understanding the elements that most aggressively degrade silver jewelry, steps can be taken to protect pieces from damage while wearing and storing them. Regular cleaning removes the inevitable tarnish from environmental factors.

  • Is it safe to use silver polish on Swarovski crystal jewelry?

    Crystals by Swarovski® are highly prized for their flawless cuts and exceptional brilliance. However, they require care when cleaning jewelry to prevent scratching or dulling these delicate surfaces. Silver polish often contains abrasives that make it risky to use on crystal embellishments.

    Swarovski crystals tend to be mounted in silver, rhodium or other precious metal settings. These metallic accessories inevitably tarnish over time with wear and exposure and require cleaning. The jewelry’s silver portions may be polished, but keep polish completely away from crystal surfaces.

    Standard silver polishing compounds contain very fine abrasives along with cleaning agents to restore shine and luster. While gentle enough for most solid metals, they will scratch and cloud delicate Swarovski crystals made of leaded glass. Even wiping a polishing cloth over stones risks micro-scratches.

    The best practice is to carefully clean metal settings around Swarovski crystals using mild liquid silver cleaner on a very soft cloth or brush. Then use separate jewelry microfiber cloth just lightly moistened with water to gently wipe the crystals clean without any polishing additives or abrasion.

    If silver settings are heavily tarnished, professional jewelry steam cleaning offers a chemical-free way to remove residue. Steam will not damage Swarovski crystals like liquid silver dips. This also avoids liquid getting trapped behind stones during home soaking and scrubbing methods.

    With some extra care and patience to separately approach the materials, affordable Swarovski jewelry can be refreshed safely. Keep polishing compounds and abrasion well away from the signature sparkling crystals.

  • How can I clean antique or vintage silver jewelry safely?

    Special care of more delicate antique and vintage silver jewelry pieces prevents damage when attempting to remove tarnish and restore shine. Harsh chemicals can degrade fragile coatings.

    Research the silver piece first to identify its likely composition and age. Older silver contains more copper which reacts strongly with cleaning agents. Gold-filled Victorian era jewelry features very thin layers of silver over base metals.

    Test cleaners first in an inconspicuous spot like an inner bail or underside. Antique glazes, patinas and lacquers may be worn away by polishing, diminishing value. Start with the gentlest method possible.

    Use a soft toothbrush or jewelry brush dipped in warm, mild soapy water to very gently loosen dirt. Avoid excessive pressure scrubbing delicate areas. Rinse and hand dry with a soft microfiber cloth when finished cleaning.

    Non-abrasive anti-tarnish silver cloths contain cleaning agents that will not scratch aged silver surfaces. Gently wipe pieces to remove residue and restore shine. No rinsing necessary.

    For heavy tarnish, soak the silver in baking soda and aluminum foil solution to lift darkness safely from engraved areas and detailed surfaces. Rinse thoroughly after soaking.

    Store cleaned antique and vintage pieces individually in anti-tarnish bags or archival quality padded boxes. Keeping silver jewelry separated avoids damaging interactions between metals that accelerate wear.

    Well-preserved antique and vintage silver develops lovely patinas over decades. With some research and extremely gentle care, these special pieces can be cleaned just enough to appreciate the aged beauty and craftsmanship.

  • Will steaming silver jewelry help remove tarnish?

    Exposing tarnished silver jewelry to concentrated steam helps lift dark oxidation and restore brightness in a safe, effective method without harsh scrubbing or chemicals.

    Steam’s high heat applied directly to silver provides enough energy to break down the sulfide compounds adhering to the surface as tarnish. The combination of heat and moisture essentially dissolves the darkened silver layer.

    As condensed steam contacts the jewelry, it rolls the loosened tarnish particles away. The “clean” condensed water rinses residues down the drain, leaving behind polished, shine-restored silver. No manual scrubbing or brushing against delicate areas needed.

    Any household steamer can be used. Garment steamers allow precise targeting of jewelry areas needing tarnish removal. Use the lowest heat setting to generate steam indirectly above silver chains and charms without risk of melting resin beads or plastic components.

    Place jewelry to be cleaned in a metal steaming basket or strainer. Direct steam waves across all surfaces of the piece with steady, even motions to lift tarnish buildup. Focus on heavily darkened areas.

    Avoid holding steam focused in one spot too long, as intense heat can damage silver. Keep steam moving over surfaces to evenly rejuvenate the entire piece.

    The steam cleaning process is safe for most gemstones and crystals embedded in silver jewelry since no liquids or chemicals contact the stones. Air exposure during steaming renews shine.

    For best results, polish steamed jewelry with a soft cloth immediately after treatment while metal is still warm. This removes any last bits of softened tarnish from crevices.

  • How can I prevent silver necklaces from tarnishing my skin?

    Unfortunately, silver jewelry can sometimes leave greyish-black marks and temporary stains on the skin due to metal oxidation and reaction with natural skin oils while being worn. Luckily, some proactive steps prevent silver necklaces specifically from discoloring your skin.

    Wipe silver chains or pendants periodically while wearing with an anti-tarnish jewelry cloth to remove the top layer of tarnish residue before it can transfer to skin. Place a small square of the protective cloth inside your shirt front to act as a barrier between your neck and the chain or keep inside your purse.

    Apply a micro-thin layer of clear nail polish to end caps, jump rings and clasps which make direct contact with skin most often. This seals these spots against rub-off tarnish staining. Avoid getting polish on the whole chain and reapply every few wearings as needed.

    Consider plating silver chains and pendants with an ultra-thin layer of anti-tarnish rhodium, palladium or 18k gold solutions readily available from jewelers. These inert precious metals help prevent silver beneath from oxidizing and marking the skin.

    Store silver necklaces inside anti-tarnish bags between wearings rather than loose together in a jewelry box to minimize air exposure. Tarnish continues forming even when silver is not worn. Storing pieces separately also prevents chains from tangling.

    Inspect silver chains before each wearing and gently wipe down with a polishing cloth if any dark residue has formed, removing it before putting on. Soft leather, suede or anti-tarnish necklace tabs also create a barrier between metals and skin to prevent marking.

  • Is professional ultrasonic cleaning worth the cost for silver?

    While manual cleaning keeps silver jewelry wearable, professional ultrasonic treatment periodically rejuvenates pieces to like-new condition. This deep cleaning method effectively restores heirlooms and valuable silver to make the service cost worthwhile over time.

    Ultrasonic cleaning uses high frequency sound-wave energy combined with mild soap solutions to scrub away built-up tarnish and embedded grime. No manual brushing or chemical dipping required. The agitating waves lift residue from intricate carved areas and tiny crevices that are impossible to reach otherwise.

    This in-depth treatment renews shine and luster to silver better than average home methods. Family silver pieces regain their original glowing brilliance after ultrasonic removal of darkened tarnish that manual polishing cannot lift after years of buildup.

    The process is also gentler on delicate filigree and antique silver items which require a softer touch than hand scrubbing. Ultrasonics only targets the tarnish, not the surrounding silver, to clean priceless heirlooms safely. No rubbing delicate areas aggressively.

    Having silver professionally cleaned periodically extends the time between required deeper cleaning for years afterwards. Ultrasonic treatment essentially resets heavily tarnished items to like-new condition before gradual re-tarnishing occurs.

    Most local jewelers provide professional on-site ultrasonic services for under $10 per silver piece, depending on size. Turnaround is usually same day or next day. This cost every few years offers reliable restoration results not easily matched at home.

    While regular wipe downs preserve silver between professional cleanings, the occasional full ultrasonic refresh provides a level of rejuvenation worth the minimal prices to protect cherished items.

 


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