How to Clean Silver Jewelry?

If you have silver rings, bracelets, and necklaces you don't wear often, you might notice a layer of discoloration the next time you go to put them on. Over time, as silver is exposed to air, a chemical reaction occurs that gives silver a black tarnish. Luckily, your rings and bracelets aren't destroyed—you just need to learn how to clean silver jewelry at home to remove this tarnish and make these pieces shine. Cleaning silver jewelry doesn't take long, and there are some methods that call for supplies you already have on hand. To keep your silver jewelry sparkling long-term, invest in a specialized cleaning cloth and learn how to store silver jewelry the right way to prevent tarnish in the first place. Follow these steps to make your silver accessories stand out.

What's the Difference Between Pure Silver, Sterling Silver, and Silver-Plated Jewelry?

The composition of your silver jewelry will determine the best way to clean it and how easily it will develop tarnish. Pure silver, as it sounds, is made up of 100 percent silver, while sterling silver is an alloy, comprised of a mix of silver and another metal, such as copper. To determine if a piece of jewelry is sterling silver, look for a small marking on the inside of rings or bangles that reads "925," which indicates that the piece is 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent another metal. A silver-plated piece has a thin layer of silver over a base of another metal, such as copper or nickel. While all silver will tarnish over time, pure silver jewelry tends to tarnish more slowly.

How to Clean Silver Jewelry

1、Baking Soda and Vinegar

This is similar to the above method but is a little more intense due to the added white vinegar. This is great for tarnished silver. Do you want to shine up your jewelry for little to no cost? Follow these tips:

  • Put a piece of aluminum foil at the bottom of a bowl.
  • Add a teaspoon of salt.
  • Add a tablespoon of baking soda.
  • Pour half a cup of boiling water.
  • Add half a cup of distilled white vinegar.
  • Now add your jewelry, making sure the jewelry touches the foil.
  • Leave for a few minutes.
  • Remove the jewelry and dry with a microfiber cloth.

2、Silver Cleaning Cloth

You should invest in a good silver cleaning cloth. This is a great way to maintain the appearance of your silver jewelry so it’s less likely to get tarnished or dulled.

These cloths are made from 100 percent cotton and are infused with an anti-tarnish agent. They shouldn’t be washed, otherwise, this agent will get removed. You can use them for a few months before needing a new one.

To use, simply rub the silver jewelry and it should instantly spruce it up!

3、Baking Soda Method

For this method, you only need a cup, aluminum foil, baking soda, and boiled water. You can use this method for pure sterling silver jewelry or silver-plated jewelry. You can even use this for other items, such as silver cutlery.

  • Put a piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of the cup you’re using ensuring it covers the whole bottom area.
  • Add a tablespoon of baking soda to the cup.
  • Add the jewelry that needs cleaning to the cup.
  • Pour the boiled water into the cup, making sure the jewelry is submerged.
  • Use a fork or spoon, to stir the jewelry in the solution. The water will smell because of the release of hydrogen sulfide gas .
  • After about a minute, remove the items. Be careful, they’ll be hot.
  • Dry them with a cloth.

4、White Vinegar

You can use distilled white vinegar and water to remove tarnish on your silver jewelry. It’s also great for cleaning grooves and around stones and gems on your jewelry. If you’re wanting to shine up the jewelry, this will also bring back some sparkle!

  • Combine a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar in a bowl.
  • Mix together.
  • Dip a toothbrush into the solution and gently brush the jewelry, focusing longer on the tarnished areas.
  • Don’t forget the grooves and stones.
  • Air dry the jewelry on a towel.

5、Soapy Water

Warm soapy water can work well on tarnished jewelry. To try this method, follow these steps:

  • Add dish soap to a bowl of warm water.
  • Add your jewelry and wait 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the jewelry to another bowl with clean water.
  • Use a toothbrush to gently wipe off any remaining tarnish or dirt.
  • Rinse under warm water.
  • Lay the jewelry on a dry towel until it’s completely dry.

6、Baking Soda Paste

This is a great way to remove tarnish and give your jewelry a general clean. It’s super cost-effective and completely natural. Keep in mind that baking soda can scratch delicate metals since it is abrasive.

  • Mix together a 2:1 ratio of baking soda and water in a bowl until you have a paste. You may need to adjust the quantities to make a thick paste.
  • Use a toothbrush to evenly distribute the paste over the jewelry.
  • After a few minutes, rinse the jewelry.
  • Dry with a microfiber cloth.

7、Lemon and Olive Oil

This is a fantastic method if you want to bring back some shine to your silver jewelry.

  • Mix half a cup of lemon juice and one teaspoon of olive oil in a cup.
  • Dip a microfiber cloth into the solution.
  • Apply it to the jewelry. Rub gently to bring back shine.
  • Rinse well.
  • Air dry on a towel.

8、Commercial Cleaner

Why not invest in a commercial cleaner for cleaning silver? That way you’re getting something that will definitely work and is formulated to be kind on your jewelry.

We recommend the Simple Shine Cleaner. It’s perfect for sterling silver as well as pearls, beads, porous stones, soft stones, enamel, treated gemstones, and more.

There are lots of options on the market so look around to find one that will work on your jewelry.


  • Add a small amount of toothpaste to a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Gently brush the jewelry until it’s thoroughly coated.
  • Rinse well.
  • Air dry on a towel.

10、Take It to the Jewellers

At the end of the day, you could take your silver jewelry to a jeweller. They’ll clean it properly, professionally, and thoroughly. Plus, a cleaning service isn’t too expensive! You have the added assurance that they won’t damage the pieces either.

Shine and Sparkle

Now that you know how to clean silver jewelry, you can wear it again with pride! These 10 methods will get your jewelry from dull and tarnished back to shiny, silver, and sparkly.

Most of these methods can be done using ingredients you already have in the home. Baking soda, vinegar, and lemon can go a long way. They’re great for shining your jewelry and removing tarnish.

However, when in doubt, see a professional about your tarnished jewelry. They can help restore it back to beauty without a huge cost!