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The Best Products to Clean Silver Jewellery

by Carathea
Silver Jewellery being cleaned on a bench with a cleaning cloth

Have you ever felt frustrated when you reached for a piece of silver jewellery to wear and discovered that it has gone black and tarnished?

Maybe you have even doubted whether your jewellery piece is really made of silver when you seen it has turned black? (Spoiler alert…it probably is real silver!).

The chances are, you probably haven’t worn that particular item of jewellery for a while. Perhaps it was left out on the side or laying in your jewellery box. 

Either of these situations will turn sterling silver black.  It is a natural process that silver will tarnish on exposure to the environment. 

But, the really good news is that silver tarnish is easily and fairly effortlessly removed.  But you need to use the right products.  

We strongly advise against using home-made remedies or household cleaning agents (especially toothpaste!) to clean your products which can be abrasive and cause irreparable damage to your treasured piece of jewellery.

In this blog post, we will show you just how simple and easy it can be to clean all of your silver jewellery, including your Pandora bracelet, without damaging it.

With the correct products and knowledge, it is a straight-forward. We will write future blog posts to cover cleaning other jewellery and gemstones – including jewellery with pearls, precious stones, diamonds, and even fashion jewellery – at home.

A word of warning…if in doubt about the piece, DO get professional advice and don’t clean a piece of jewellery yourself if there is any doubt about the material of the item or if it is particularly precious to you. 

This is a guide only and we cannot accept any liability for any damage to your piece. 

Why Should We Clean Our Jewellery?

We are sometimes asked why we need to clean our jewellery, especially if we wear it every day.

Aren’t we naturally “polishing” silver when we wear it?  

Some of our customers have commented that, if a piece is made of real silver, surely it shouldn’t need cleaning?

This is not true. 

You may have read some jewellery cleaning advice suggesting to wash the item in warm, soapy water gently. Wouldn’t it therefore follow that showering or bathing in your jewellery must be OK?

Well, sadly, no.

The jewellery we wear has been crafted from precious materials, from refined metals in gold, silver and platinum to delicate and rare stones like emeralds, sapphires and diamonds. 

Whilst these materials formed in the natural world (and were subjected to the elements), this was the rough stone formed in particular circumstances.

That rough stone has since been cut, polished and buffed to bring out the very best in the gemstone as the light passes into the stone and is refracted out again to accentuate its beauty. 

With precious metals like silver and gold, they are often mixed with other alloys to enable the jewellery piece to be malleable and pliable so it may be shaped and crafted into something beautiful. 

There is a high degree of  skill that goes into polishing and cutting gemstones, known as gem-cutting or lapidary. The aim is to achieve the best quantity of light passing through the gem, at the perfect angle to show the gemstone’s full beauty and brilliance.

Why oh why buy a beautiful piece of jewellery or a fabulous-looking watch only to have it looking dull and lustreless when you wear it? Doesn’t this defeat the object? 

Why wear a beautifully cut stone if subtle layers of debris are dulling it? 

The reason is that we often don’t realise just how grubby a piece of jewellery we are wearing is. 

Think about it for a moment.  That necklace we never take off has our body oils on it, maybe some body lotion, perfume, hairspray.  Then the next day another fine layer is applied to our skin which may apply a fine layer to our jewellery.  

In the case of rings, as we use our hands to handle many products and chemicals throught the day, these can get particularly ‘grubby’. 

We wouldn’t wear a dirty coat or shoes splattered with mud when we go out. 

We are exaggerating a little and none of us would choose to do this. But we often don’t realise the amount of subtle build-up of debris that gathers on and around the jewellery that we wear daily! We are, all of us, often shocked and slightly embarrassed when we clean our silver jewellery and notice the difference in the appearance. It mortifies us it was that grubby!   

It is one of the fantastic qualities of jewellery, that it doesnt perish!

Hence, it is such a good investment! Your ring or a bracelet which you have had for 50 years will quickly revitalise and look almost as good as new. With a little tender loving care and a clean precious metals and gemstones never seem to go down in value and rarely perish. 

Even on the cleanest person jewellery will pick up lots of debris along the way. From skin cells (yuk!), sweat (ugh!), to creams, lotions and potions. 

Remove Your Jewellery!

Always protect your jewellery from any harsh chemicals.

This includes doing things like removing your rings before doing the housework; always apply perfumes, hand and/or  body lotions before you put your jewellery on (of after you’ve taken it off).

The beautiful stone in your bracelet or necklace will not be enhanced with a fine layer of cream coating it! 

Remember the adage that your jewellery should be the last thing you put on in the morning and the first thing you take off at night?  It is a very good guideline to follow. 

It’s one of the first things I do when I arrive home from work, I take off my jewellery and put it in a little pot on my dressing table. 

Apart from the distinct advantages to the appearance of your jewellery, there are other, more practical reasons to keep your jewellery clean. 

You will quickly notice any fine cracks, chips, snags or dents in your jewellery if the item is clean. These can then be corrected before they get worse or become a more complicated (and expensive) repair job. 

Chemicals or adverse conditions will affect some stones more than others. Pearls, amber and more porous gemstones can be severely affected if not looked after and protected. 

So, now we know WHY we clean our jewellery, without further ado, let’s talk about HOW to clean jewellery. 

How to Clean Tarnished Silver

It is an inherent quality of silver that it tarnishes on exposure to the air (and this means even in your jewellery box, unless it is in a sealed bag). A piece of sterling silver will, if left out in the open, lose its shine and darken. (We will show you how to store your jewellery later). 

This is natural and does not mean there is anything wrong with it or that the quality is inferior.

It also doesn’t mean it isn’t silver. Check the hallmark (you may need a magnifying glass to find and read the hallmark). if in doubt. Sterling Silver will have a 925 mark stamped in the silver on the inside or at the end of the chain somewhere.

Products and Methods We Recommend at Carathea

We regularly use the following products each day in the shop and they are what we recommend to all of our customers. We have found they are the best products available on the market today.

Ultrasonic Machine

Ultra Sonic Jewellery Cleaner Bath for home use
Ultra Sonic Jewellery Cleaner Bath

An ultrasonic cleaner cleans by agitating the dirt and breaking it up. The advantage of using this is that will reach every part of the jewellery, every nook and cranny will be cleaned.

So an ultrasonic clean is a very deep clean.

Until recently you could only get your jewellery cleaned in this way professionally by taking it to a jeweller with an ultrasonic machine.

But in 2018 a home-use ultrasonic device became available and we now sell them here! Now you can give your jewellery a deep, deep clean in less than 15 minutes in the comfort of your own home.

Do not use the ultrasonic machine with marcasite jewellery or any jewellery with loose stones or else it can dislodge the gemstones!

Silver Jewellery Cleaner

Silver Jewellery Cleaner is a pot of cleaning fluid with a Dip Tray inside which can be lifted out of the liquid and a small brush. 

The solution has a strong odour, but this is the tarnish removing chemical and is no cause for alarm. 

A jar of Silver Jewellery Cleaning liquid
Silver Jewellery Cleaner
Three pictures of before, during and after cleaning a silver pendant with a silver jewellery cleaner

This product will, like the Ultra-Sonic Bath, also reach these hard-to-get-to places but the Silver Jewellery Cleaner will only work on the tarnish, it won’t dislodge debris and dirt (as an ultrasonic cleaner will do). 

Perfect for silver chains and silver items with no precious stones, enamel or gems added.

Please DO NOT use the Silver Jewellery Cleaner (the silver liquid dip) on any oxidised silver or Pandora beads or bracelets. Instead, use the Jewellery Wipes followed by the Silver Jewellery Polishing Cloth.

Directions for Use:

  • Place the piece of sterling silver jewellery into the dip tray and lower into the solution for up to 10-15 seconds only. (There is no need to extend this exposure time).
  • Remove the Dip Tray with jewellery in from the pot and hold under a room temperature running tap of plenty of fresh water.
  • Dry the jewellery item with a soft cloth. 
  • Polish with a Jewellery Polishing Cloth

The silver dip should NOT be used on:

  • Oxidised silver which is quite fashionable at the moment – for instance Trollbeads bracelets and beads, certain Pandora beads.  Instead use our Precious Jewellery Cleaner Solution (below). 
  • Jewellery with precious stones or porous stones, such as Amber, Turquoise, etc.  
  • Marcasite or jewellery items which have been glued (the cleaning solution will dissolve the glue).

The Delicate Jewellery Cleaner.

Pot of Delicate Jewellery Cleaner for those delicate jewellery pieces
Delicate Jewellery Cleaner

This cleaner is for use on jewellery with Semi-Precious Stones such as Pearls, Opal, Coral, Onyx, Turquoise and Costume jewellery.

The Delicate Jewellery Cleaner is formulated to gently clean and revive the brilliance to more delicate jewellery.

Directions for Use:

  • Place one piece of jewellery into the dip tray.
  • Lower the drip tray into the cleaning solution and leave for up to a minute (longer is unnecessary).
  • Remove the drip tray from the jar and rinse thoroughly in room temperature water.
  • Dry with a soft cloth.
  • Polish with the Jewellery Cleaning Cloth

Precious Jewellery Cleaner

The Precious Jewellery Cleaner is perfect to clean Pandora bracelets, beads and jewellery; Trollbeads bracelets, beads and jewellery, Thomas Sabo, Watches  -steel, yellow or rose gold and ceramic straps. 

This cleaner will clean the silver but it will not remove tarnish. 

A Pot of Precious Jewellery Cleaning Liquid
Precious Jewellery Cleaner

Directions for use:

  • Place one piece of jewellery into the Dip Basket and lower into the cleaning fluid.
  • Leave submerged for up to one minute (longer is not necessary).
  • Remove the Dip Tray and rinse the item throughly in room temperature water.
  • A cleaning brush is provided to reach difficult-to-reach places.
  • Dry the jewellery with a soft cloth.
  • Polish with one of the Jewellery Polishing Cloths.

Dazzle Drops

A pot of Dazzle Drops Jewellery Cleaning Fluid
Dazzle Drops Jewellery Cleaner

With a dipping scoop and brush, the Dazzle Drops cleaner means you can clean your items in fresh cleaning fluid and water each time. A container makes up to 80 batches of cleaning solution. 

It is non-toxic and can be used on silver, gold, platinum, diamonds and precious gemstones, including pearls and delicate gemstones, therefore, is highly versatile. 

Directions for Use:

  • Fill container 2/3 full with warm water.
  • Squeeze approximately 10 drops of cleaning fluid into the water. 
  • Place jewellery into scoop and lower into the fluid for about 30 seconds.  Use the brush to clean stubborn dirt. 
  • Remove scoop, discard used fluid and rinse jewellery.
  • Dry with a lint-free cloth
  • Polish with an Ultra-Soft Jewellery Polishing Cloth. 

Diamond Dazzle Stik

The Diamond Dazzle Stick is a wonderful little product and easy to take anywhere! 

Not just for diamonds, this fantastic product works on other precious stones and can work on gold, platinum and silver. 

A Diamond Dazzle Stik Diamond and Gemstone cleaner
Diamond Dazzle Stik Diamond and Gemstone Cleaner

This pen-like product with a twist cap and brush contains a special cleaning gel with micro-fine cleansers and polishing agents.  

It also contains polymers which can help, over time, to fill in any scratches.  We use this product all the time on customers rings int he show and they can’t believe the dazzle in their ring after we’ve spent less than a minute or so on it.

Directions for Use:

  • Remove cap. Wet the brush and squeeze little of the cleaning fluid onto the brush (you need a tiny amount on the brush – it is easy to see as it is coloured blue). 
  • Brush all over and around the stone, including behind the stone, between the claws, and sides.
  • Rinse whilst continuing to brush for a few seconds. 
  • Dry with a lint-free cloth.
  • Polish with the Ultra-Soft Jewellery Cleaning Cloth

The UltraSoft Silver Jewellery Polishing Cloths

Ultra-Soft Jewellery Polishing Cloth and box
Ultra-Soft Jewellery Polishing Cloth

This Jewellery Polishing Cloth is wonderful for Pandora jewellery, Trollbeads, Thomas Sabo, and other charm beads.   

It is also useful for Watch Straps, Silver Plated jewellery, Silver jewellery with semi-precious stones, Antiqued Sterling Silver and fashion brands. 

It’s a great item to have at home and very easy to use with a noticeable difference after a quick polish. 

 

We use these cloths all the time in our shop on our jewellery.

The Ultra-Soft Silver Jewellery Polishing Cloth is made of thick, natural and gentle cotton. With two layers – one cleans the jewellery and one buffs. It also applies an invisible barrier to delay new tarnish from forming.

Directions for use:

  • You should use the light violet cloth to rub the tarnish from the silver, gently. 
  • Do not be alarmed at the black marks that appear on the cloth, it is only due to the chemically treated micro-fine polishers being activated with the tarnish appearing on the cloth.
  • After a thorough cleaning, the darker outer cloth should buff the item.
  • The cloth can be reused repeatedly and should not be washed or laundered. Even after extensive use, it can still work effectively. Only replace and repurchase a new cloth when you notice that your jewellery no longer being cleaned or shined by the cloth.

And Last But Not Least ......Jewellery Wipes

We use these Jewellery Wipes extensively in the shop and are probably our most go-to jewellery cleaning product. 

As well as silver and silver-plated items, including oxidised silver, these products can be used on gold/gold-plate, rhodium-plated jewellery, gemstones, costume and fashion jewellery and even watches.

 

Image of a silver ring half cleaned with cleaning wipes, with the other half still tarnished
A box of Jewellery Cleaning Wipes
Jewellery Cleaning Wipes

The Jewellery Wipes are perfect for cleaning Pandora bracelets, beads and jewellery. Also Trollbeads bracelets, beads and jewellery and Thomas Sabo jewellery and charms. The wipes are also perfect for steel, yellow or rose gold and ceramic watch straps.

They contain an anti-tarnish shield to help your jewellery keep its lustre and shine. Dry and are disposable they can be reused many times – use them until you feel they are not bringing the cleaning or shine they previously used to with your jewellery. We find this is almost until they eventually disintegrate. 

Directions for Use:

  • Use ONE cloth, dry, from the plastic case.
  • Gently rub your jewellery item with the wipe – it will instantly shine your jewellery and remove any tarnish. (NB It is normal that your fingers and even your jewellery will have a residue of black after use – this is NOT dirt)
  • You can rinse the jewellery under warm water to remove any residue and dry with a soft cloth (we rarely need to do this). 

Polish with a Jewellery Polishing Cloth.

How to Clean Your Pandora Bracelet and Beads

Pandora bracelet before and after cleaning with Jewellery Cleaning wipes

Pandora Bracelet Before and After Cleaning with Jewellery Cleaning Wipes

Jewellery Cleaning Wipes can be used to clean Pandora Bracelets and beads or any Trollbeads Bracelets and Beads.

You can clean any Pandora silver or gold pieces with the Precious Jewellery Cleaner. Follow with the Jewellery Wipes and Polishing Cloth to buff and really make them shine!

We should clean any charms made with enamel or glass with the Delicate Jewellery Cleaner followed by the Gold or Silver Jewellery Polishing Cloth.

Please not, you should never clean your Pandora or Trollbeads bracelets or beads with Silver Jewellery Cleaner (the liquid dip).

How to Store Silver Jewellery

It is advisable to store your unworn jewellery in small plastic bags (we use grip-seal bags like these shown in the image). These little bags solve the problem of protecting your jewellery from contact with the air.

You can even buy these little strips of anti-tarnish strips here. This will keep the silver as free from tarnishing as is possible whilst not being worn. The piece can easily be buffed with a Silver Cloth when you want to wear it.
An alternative is to wrap each piece in a piece of acid-free tissue paper or pieces of soft cloth.
The good news is that even the most tarnished silver, can be quickly and easily revitalised and be brought to like-new quality with a clean.

Grip Seal Bags

Summary

 Silver Jewellery Cleaner (Dip) Ultra-Sonic MachineDelicate Jewellery
Cleaner
Precious Jewellery
Cleaner
Dazzle DropsDiamond Dazzle Stik Ultra-Soft Polishing
Cloth
Jewellery Wipes Foam
Oxidised Silver X X X X
Pandora Bracelets & Beads.
Trollbeads Bracelets & Beads
X X X X
Plain Silver (no stones) X X X X
Silver Plated Items X X X X
Silver with Gemstones X X X X
Silver with Semi-Precious Stones X X X X X X
To Remove Dirt X X X X
To Remove Tarnish X X X X X

To summarise:

Plain Silver Jewellery (without stones)

Silver Jewellery Cleaner

Polish with the Ultra-Soft Silver Jewellery Polishing Cloth

OR: Silver Jewellery Cloths

To clean tarnish from silver you will need the Silver Jewellery Cleaner; Silver Jewellery Cloths or the Ultra-Soft Jewellery Polishing Cloth.

Silver with Gemstones

Dazzle Drops

Polish with the Ultra-Soft Silver Jewellery Cloth

or Dazzle Stik (perfect for rings with gemstones).

Silver with Semi-Precious Stones

(Pearl; Opals; Coral; Onyx; Turquoise)

Delicate Jewellery Cleaner

Polish with the Ultra-Soft Silver Jewellery Polishing Cloth

Pandora Bracelets and Beads (or Trollbeads)

Precious Jewellery Cleaner

Polish with Jewellery Wipes and/or Ultra-Soft Silver Jewellery Cloth

Oxidised Silver

Dazzle Drops

Polish with Jewellery Cleaning Wipes and/or Ultra-Soft Silver Jewellery Cloth

Silver Plated Items

Dazzle Drops

Polish with Jewellery Cleaning Wipes and/or Ultra-Soft Silver Jewellery Cloth

We hope this guide has helped and you will be left in no doubt how best to clean your different silver items in your jewellery box.

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