How to Keep Sterling Silver Jewelry From Tarnishing

closeup of arms and hands with silver rings

ROMAN SHALENKIN / Stocksy

Fact: Sterling silver is a versatile metal for jewelry, and it comes with a wallet-friendly price tag. That said, between neglect and the general nature of sterling silver, it's easy for it to lose its luster and tarnish over time, whether it be through oxygen exposure or oxidative reactions that occur with sulfur. High humidity levels, air pollution and contact with chemicals found in deodorant, hairspray, lotions, perfume, and bleach can also cause tarnishing. We know you're dedicated to making sure your beloved sterling silver pieces remain as good as new, so we're laying out all of our best tips for keeping it looking its best.

Keep scrolling to learn how to keep sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing.

01
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Store Sterling Silver in Ziploc Bags to Avoid Tarnishing

Ziploc bags can be an easy way to keep your sterling silver from tarnishing, as long as you lock out the air. You can do this by placing the jewelry in a Ziploc bag, closing it halfway and squeezing all the air out before sealing.  Just make sure the bags you use don't contain abrasive materials (like Mylar or polyethylene).

If you find using plastic bags to store your sterling silver jewelry not exactly practical (or you have more than a few pieces to store and don't want your jewelry box to resemble your kitchen storage drawers), you're better off using specialized jewelry bags.

02
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Avoid Scratches by Storing Each Piece Separately

If you have multiple pieces to store, each should go in its own separate bag to avoid the pieces scratching and damaging each other. Once you've encased your sterling silver jewelry, be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight, in a cool dry area.

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Avoid Quick Tarnishing By Storing Away From Wood

Your sterling silver should not be kept on any chemically treated surfaces, particularly surfaces made of wood if it has been stained or treated which speed up the tarnishing process. 

04
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Absorb Excess Moisture by Storing Sterling Silver With Chalk

Chalk has been known to naturally absorb moisture and chemical residue. Try placing a piece of chalk in your jewelry box or stored in your jewelry storage bags.  

05
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Use Anti-Tarnish Strips to Absorb Debris

Anti-tarnish strips absorb agents in the air that will tarnish sterling silver and are made of non-toxic materials. 

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Consider Silica Packs to Keep Jewelry Moisture-Free

Silica packs are often found inside new shoes, shoe boxes and, sometimes, in clothing.  They are used to keep these products moisture free.  The next time you find one, keep it and store with your silver to keep it from tarnishing.  You can also purchase silica packs.

07
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Try Anti-Tarnish Cloths for a Quick Clean

Anti-tarnish cloths are likely the most popular way most people keep their jewelry from tarnishing. They work by absorbing sulfur and oxygen in the air and are usually treated to prevent tarnishing. Use them regularly and give your silver jewelry a swipe using these cloths after wearing your jewelry and before storing it away. 

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Put Your Jewelry Away Immediately After Wearing

It is important to store your silver jewelry away immediately after wearing. Never shower wearing sterling silver as the humidity will only cause quicker oxidation. Also, don't swim or use a hot tub wearing sterling silver. Between the moisture, humidity and chlorine, your jewelry doesn't stand a chance. 

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Clean Tarnished Sterling Silver With a Polishing Cloth or Silver Wash

While some people may recommend baking soda or toothpaste to rid sterling silver from tarnish, it's not advised. Both are too abrasive You can use this method to clean other jewelry, but not silver. Looking for home remedies to clean your favorite jewelry pieces?  Check out this list. 

If your sterling silver is already tarnished, try clean it immediately to avoid future tarnishing.  Use a polishing cloth made especially for silver. If the tarnish is beyond repair using a cloth, try a silver wash. If this doesn't work, you can visit a jewelry who has special equipment to rid silver of tarnish.