How to Maintain Sterling Silver Jewelry

Nothing is as versatile or eye-catching as a sparkling silver piece of jewelry. Sterling silver is an affordable material that is present in many accessories, from earrings to bangles, but keeping it in it’s sparkling shape requires some special care, as this material is prone to tarnishing. Read on to learn how to keep your sterling silver jewelry looking good as new!

What is Tarnish?

Tarnished sterling jewelry

Tarnishing is caused by oxidization. This results in a darkened, grimy surface on your silver jewelry. This specifically happens to sterling silver, which is actually 92.5% silver and is combined with other materials that make it more affordable and durable. This combination, though, makes sterling silver vulnerable to tarnishing.

How to Prevent Tarnishing

Put Jewelry on Last

Sterling silver watch and rings

When getting ready for the day, you might apply a variety of products to your hair or skin that can actually speed up the tarnishing process on jewelry. These products can include lotions, hairspray, and perfumes. In order to get as little product on your sterling silver jewelry as possible, be sure to remove jewelry prior to applying these products, and put it on once you’re all ready to go!

Wear it Often

Sterling silver earrings

Your skin’s natural oils help to slow down tarnishing. So, if you have a favorite pair of sterling silver earrings that you wear every day, you might notice that they don’t tarnish as quickly as the pair that you keep in your jewelry box.

Store Jewelry Properly

Storing jewelry

An important step to take in preventing your jewelry from tarnishing it is storing it correctly. To slow down the oxidation process that leads to tarnishing, store your jewelry in a cool, dark place, and keep it in an airtight container like a ziplock bag.

Place moisture-removing materials in your jewelry box like a few pieces of chalk or a silica bag. These will absorb moisture from the air, helping to prevent tarnishing.

How to Remove Tarnish from Sterling Silver

In the case that your sterling silver jewelry does become tarnished, there are a few easy ways to clean it up and bring it back to its sparkling state.

Soap and Water

Cleaning sterling silver

Use dish soap and water for a simple and gentle way to wash jewelry. Use a jewelry brush or soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid creating small scratches on your jewelry.

You can clean other jewelry with this simple method, too! Read our blog about jewelry cleaning for additional tips here.

White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Combine ½ cup of white vinegar and 2 tbsp of baking soda to create a foaming solution. Place jewelry in this solution for 2-3 hours to remove tarnish.

Store-Bought Tarnish Remover

You can purchase tarnish-removing solutions online. Typically, you’ll place your jewelry in this liquid solution and gently brush them with a jewelry brush to get them sparkling clean.

Sterling Silver Earrings from EarFleek

Earring subscriptions

We love a shiny pair of sterling silver earrings! You can add to your collection with a monthly subscription to EarFleek. We’ll send you earrings each month based on your personal style. Get 50% off your first month with code BLOG. Get started here!


Written by Megan
Written by Megan

Megan is a writer and digital marketer living in the Pacific Northwest who subsists mostly on coffee. As a lover of travel, cat fostering, and cocktail making, she has a hard time deciding how to spend her free time (and usually just ends up watching Netflix).

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