Does Silver Tarnish? How To Clean Tarnished Silver – Fiyah Jewellery

Does Silver Tarnish?

By Ben Collinson

You’ve found the perfect piece of silver jewellery.  You buy and wear your new silver rings, earrings, bracelets or necklaces, but over time it begins to look a little, well. . .dull.  Gone is the shine that dazzled you in the beginning, in fact if anything it’s starting to look more black than silver!  Therefore you’re left wondering, does silver tarnish? And if so, how do you keep silver from tarnishing? Does wearing silver keep it from tarnishing?  How do you store silver so it doesn't tarnish? Not to mention, how to clean sterling silver?

To answer the first question, yes silver can tarnish, but don’t worry, we are here to help with a quick and easy guide on the do's and don’t of caring for silver jewellery, and more importantly how to restore your favourite pieces.

Oh no, my silver jewellery has changed

When your silver jewellery becomes dull, it can be tempting to push your once favourite piece to the back of the drawer and forget about it.  Unfortunately, whether you wear silver jewellery daily or on occasion it’s almost certain to happen. This is known as tarnishing.  

Note: FIYAH jewellery comes with an anti tarnish coating but may still require cleaning to maintain that sparkle. 

What happens when silver tarnishes?

Tarnishing occurs when silver is exposed to sulphur and oxygen in the air. This causes a chemical reaction as it comes into contact with the metal.  This results in a dull film which can eventually turn black which is commonly referred to as tarnishing. While little can be done to prevent tarnishing, there are steps to take in order to preserve your jewellery, with cleaning being high on the list.  Other factors that lead to tarnishing are swimming pools, sea water, sweat, soaps, makeup, lotions, perfume and other cosmetic items.  

How do I remove tarnish from my silver jewellery?

Now we know the reasons behind, let’s talk about getting that shine back.  We have compiled a few simple methods that are proven to restore your silver jewellery.  Most of which use everyday items you’ll already have, so no need to spend a fortune on fancy cleaning products.


Warm Soapy Water

An oldy but a goody, this process is quick and easy and you should see results in as little as 30 minutes.  Here goes:

  • Add washing up liquid to a bowl of warm water and let your jewellery soak for around 30 minutes.  
  • When the time is up, transfer to another bowl to rinse off.
  • Gently scrub the jewellery with a soft toothbrush until the tarnish is removed.  
  • Rinse again under warm water to remove any residue and allow to dry naturally.
  • Repeat if necessary.

Aluminium Foil, Salt and a little Baking Soda

This is a tried and tested method with outstanding results.  Read on for a step by step guide:

  • Line a bowl with aluminium foil.  
  • Boil 2 cups of water and place in the bowl.  
  • Add in a tablespoon of salt and wait for it to dissolve. . . this is where the magic happens. The combination of salt and aluminium reacts with the silver to remove the tarnish and bring back that shine  
  • For extra fizz on heavily tarnished items, try adding a little baking soda to the mix for dazzling results.

Silver Cleaning Cloth

When time is short, a silver cleaning cloth will be your best friend.  They are 100% cotton, infused with an anti-tarnish agent which will keep on working for months as long as they aren’t washed (this will remove the coating).  To use, simply rub over the silver for instant results. These cloths can be picked up from a local jeweller, discount stores or online for around £2, making them a firm favourite of silver jewellery wearers.  Regular cleaning with these cloths will prevent a build up of tarnish.


White Vinegar and Water

If you’ve never used white vinegar to clean, then where have you been?! A go to essential for many years now, prepare to be amazed.

  • Combine equal parts of white vinegar with water in a bowl and mix it together.  
  • Soak a soft toothbrush in the solution and gently brush the tarnished areas of your silver jewellery.  
  • A firm favourite in the jewellery world, this solution gets to work around any grooves or precious stones.

How do you keep silver from tarnishing?

Good work, your silver jewellery is now beautifully clean.  So of course, after all your hard work (Ok, it was easy, but still, credit where credits due), you want to prevent it from tarnishing again so read on to find out more including the all important question: how do you store silver so it doesn’t tarnish?

  • Keep silver jewellery separate in their own airtight bags - I know, I know a plastic zipper bag is less than appealing, but it will most definitely delay the tarnishing process and that's the aim of the game right?  Right.
  • Always remove jewellery when washing your hands to avoid a build up of soap.
  • Always remove jewellery during exercise.  Silver + sweat = disaster.
  • Always remove jewellery when entering industrial work environments, for your own safety, and to avoid any unnecessary abrasions.
  • Refrain from spraying perfume directly onto silver jewellery.  Wait until any fragrances have settled before wearing your jewellery.
  • Don’t be afraid to wear it.  This may seem silly, but friction slows down the tarnishing process so the more you wear it, the more it’ll shine. 
  • And finally, clean jewellery regularly to maintain it’s beautiful appearance.  

We hope this has been useful reading and you feel ready to tackle the tarnish, but don’t forget, if you have any further questions then just give our friendly team a call here at FIYAH on 0161 703 5606, who are always happy to help and advise.