This will surprise you but the best way to maintain your silver jewelry in good shape is by wearing it often. Notwithstanding that humidity and the fact of storing the silver can lead to tarnishing the piece, this is called oxidation. The consequence of it is a darkish black color that will appear on the surface of your jewelry. Lucky for us, tarnish can be easily removed as long as it’s treated when the first marks of oxidation become visible. So as soon as possible, clean the piece.
If you are just doing maintenance, you don’t need anything more than a polishing cloth and some elbow grease. Be sure to use a microfiber or jewelry cleaning cloth as paper towels or rougher cloths can scratch the surface of the jewelry.
If the jewelry is a bit more tarnished, you can use one of the following solutions as a cleaner.
- A very mild ammonia and phosphate free soap with warm water.
- Baking soda and water. Make a paste of baking soda and water and use a clean cloth to apply a pea-sized amount to the silver and polish. Run the silver piece or pieces under running warm water, and dry with a clean cloth.
- Olive oil and lemon juice: use a ratio of 1/2 cup lemon juice to 1 teaspoon olive oil.
If none of the above helps. That’s when you bring out the last resort (other than paying for professional cleaning).
- Take an aluminum pie plate or line a bowl with aluminum foil.
- Pour in enough very hot water to cover the jewelry.
- Add equal amounts of salt and baking soda. Try 1-2 tablespoons of each, but make sure they can fully dissolve.
- Place the jewelry in the solution, making sure that it is touching the aluminum. Let sit for about five minutes.
- Rinse and rub dry. Any remaining spots will probably rub off, but if not add a little more salt and baking soda to the solution and let the jewelry sit in the solution a bit longer.