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If you have beautiful old sterling silver or stainless steel jewelry that has lost its original luster, don't rush to toss it away just yet. The great thing about stainless steel jewelry is that you can easily restore its sheen. Moreover, knowing how to maintain your jewelry can prevent it from reaching such a state. In this article, we'll share tried-and-tested tips on how to clean your jewelry, keeping it pristine and stunning for years to come.
A Bit About Stainless Steel, and Sterling Silver Jewelry
Stainless steel is a sleek, lightweight, and highly durable metal often used in body piercing and fashion jewelry. It's often plated with gold,rose gold or black to give it a different appearance.
On the other hand, sterling silver is a delicate and soft metal known for its warm luster, and flexibility in creating versatile and intricate design, commonly used in earrings,necklaces, bracelet and anklet. Sterling silver jewelries are prone to tarnish due to its copper content. It can tarnish when exposed to salty air, chlorine, sulfur, humidity, perspiration, cosmetics, and etc. Most of our sterling silver pieces are plated with a precious metal called rhodium to resist the tarnish. As a member of the platinum metal family, rhodium is harder than sterling silver so provides them with a more durable surface which resists scratches too.
While these metals are generally resistant to corrosion and rust, scratches and the accumulation of dust can make them lose their shine over time.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry
Let's explore some easy ways to clean stainless steel jewelry, whether you're dealing with necklaces, bracelets, earrings, or anklets.
Microfiber Cloth Method
Things you'll need:
- Lint-free soft microfiber cloth
- The best way to clean stainless steel is with a microfiber cloth, either dry or slightly damp. Stainless steel can be prone to soap or water marks, so start by attempting to clean it with a dry microfiber cloth. While stainless steel is difficult to scratch, we recommend passing the cloth in the direction of the grain.
What to do:
- Grab a soft microfiber cloth.
- Gently wipe the jewelry in the direction of the grain to remove dust or debris.
- If debris persists, you can dampen the cloth slightly for easier cleaning.
- It's advisable to clean your jewelry after each use and store it in a pouch or jewelry case to prevent pieces from rubbing against each other and causing scratches.
Soap and Water Method
Things you'll need:
- Two large bowls
- Warm water
- A few drops of mild soap
- Lint-free microfiber cloth
- Soft-bristled toothbrush
- A dry cloth or paper towel
What to do:
- Fill two large bowls with warm water and add 2 to 3 drops of mild soap to the first bowl.
- Dip a corner of a lint-free microfiber cloth into the soapy water and gently scrub the jewelry.
- Rub it along the grain to prevent scratches. You can also use a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove excess dirt and grime.
- Rinse the jewelry in the second bowl to remove any soapy residue, then wipe it dry with a soft cloth.
- Avoid using toothpaste, paper towels, or polishing cloths, as they can damage the jewelry.
Maintenance Tips for Stainless Steel Jewelry
To ensure your stainless steel jewelry maintains its shine for as long as possible, follow these tips:
- Avoid the direct contact of sunscreen, lotion, cream or any cosmetics. Many of them contains chemical and leave stains on the jewelry.
- Never clean your jewelry with bleach and chlorine, as they can stain and corrode the steel.
- Store your stainless steel pieces in soft cloth pouches, minimizing contact with other jewelry, especially metal pieces and sharp objects.
- Do not use toothpaste, paper towels, ammonia cleaners, baking soda, or polishing cloths, as they may damage the jewelry. Always try the methods described above in a small area of the piece before cleaning the entire set.
How to Clean Silver Jewelry
- Silver jewelry can be cleaned in the same way as stainless steel. A soft, lint-free microfiber cloth is ideal. Since silver is more prone to scratches than stainless steel, be sure to rub against the grain gently.
- There are various other methods involving baking soda, hand sanitizer, aluminum foil, toothpaste, lemon and salt, and olive oil, and white distilled vinegar, but we do not recommend these. Simple cleaning is often best.
Maintenance Tips for Silver Jewelry
Keep your silver jewelry looking as beautiful as the day you bought it with these maintenance tips:
- Limit exposure to heat, humidity, and moisture. Never leave your jewelry in the bathroom.
- Store your silver jewelry in an air-tight bag in a cool, dark place.
- Place a piece of a silica gel sachet in the bag to help remove moisture.
- Avoid wearing your silver jewelry while showering or swimming in chlorinated pools.
- Wear your jewelry only after your moisturizer, lotions, and perfumes have had time to absorb into your skin.
- Prevent your jewelry from touching each other to prevent scratches.
- Clean your jewelry with distilled water immediately after use to maintain its shine.
Cleaning Your Jewelry? Let Us Count the Ways…
- As you can see, there are numerous ways to clean stainless steel and silver jewelry. You have no excuse now for keeping your accessories tarnished and dull!
- While professional cleaning is an option, these DIY solutions are often more rewarding and cost-effective.
- To keep your jewelry gleaming, all you need to do is store it in its original pouch and keep it away from harsh chemicals and heat. Always remember to rinse your stainless steel jewelry after exposing it to water.