Silver is known to make for beautiful, high-quality jewelry. From necklaces and bracelets to chains and rings, silver is used in elegant and luxurious pieces. However, over time, the shine can become discolored or tarnished, and the piece ends up shoved in the back of your jewelry box.
Fortunately, taking care of your silver jewelry doesn’t have to be tedious or expensive. Check out our easy tips for how you can give your tribal jewelry a little TLC and get your pieces sparkling again.
How to Clean Your Tribal Jewelry
1. Warm Water and Mild Dishwashing Liquid
The simplest way to clean your silver piece is with a mix of warm water and mild dishwashing soap. Baby shampoo works too, but avoid hard detergents.
Mix a few drops of liquid dish soap in warm water until bubbles are formed. Soak the jewelry for five to 10 minutes, and then use a soft-bristle toothbrush to gently wash the piece. Next, rinse in warm water and dry using a soft cloth or microfiber towel. Avoid using toilet paper or kitchen towels as these can cause scratches.
If your jewelry has gemstones or embellishments, use cotton swabs to get into the crannies and avoid scratching the surface.
Bonus tip: When rinsing the solution, be sure to do so in a glass of water or clear bowl. You risk losing stones or pendants (or even the entire piece) if you rinse directly in the sink.
2. Baking Soda and Vinegar Solutions
Baking soda is one of the most effective all-around cleaning solutions.
To refurbish your tribal jewelry, mix two parts baking soda with one part warm water until it becomes paste-like. Gently apply the mixture to your piece and let it dry completely to remove the tarnish. Rinse, then dry using a soft cloth. This solution also works using cornstarch.
Alternatively, mix together a half cup white vinegar and two tablespoons baking soda. Soak your silver piece in the mixture for up to three hours. Once done, rise properly and polish with a microfiber towel.
3. Lemon and Olive Oil
Like baking soda, lemon is a well-known cleaning powerhouse.
To remove spots from your silver pieces, lightly dip your soft towel in concentrated lemon juice and start polishing. Take note that your towel doesn’t have to be soaked, but just damp enough.
As an option, mix ½ cup lemon juice and one teaspoon olive oil to make a solution. Dip a clean soft cloth in it and gently scrub your jewelry until it becomes shiny. Once cleaned, rinse and dry properly.
Toothpaste can bring out sparkling results for your silver jewelry.
Dilute a small amount of toothpaste in warm water. Using a soft-bristle brush or soft cloth, polish your jewelry gently. Rinse and dry afterward.
Note: Use only toothpaste that’s of a non-whitening formula. Also, don’t use this mixture on anything silver-plated as it can corrode the piece.
5. Homemade Solutions
Heavily tarnished silver jewelry, which is caused by sulfur atoms and silver meeting together, can be cleaned by your basic home products. You’ll need aluminum foil, baking soda, boiling water, kosher salt, a bowl or pan, and a soft cloth.
Start by covering the entire surface of the bowl or pan with aluminum foil, then fill it with boiling water. Add in ¼ cup of baking soda and two teaspoons kosher salt; stir it until bubbles are formed. Next, place your silver jewelry in the solution, mix it gently, and make sure they don’t hit each other or the sides of the pan. Let it sit for about five minutes, then remove and dry with a soft cloth.
A word of caution: This cleaning method is very effective, but it can smell a bit odd!
Before trying out any of these cleaning methods, make sure you know what kind of silver jewelry you have. Some pieces, like silver-plated necklaces or rings, might come out flaked or deteriorated because of the liquid solutions. Be sure to first test out a small spot before proceeding with the deep cleaning. If you choose to use commercial products, always read and follow the instructions carefully.
How to Maintain Your Tribal Jewelry
Aside from cleaning it, how can you keep your silver jewelry looking flawless over time?
1. Limit exposure to light and heat.
Over time, too much heat and light cause damage, discoloration, and fading to your jewelry. That’s why it’s best to limit the exposure by keeping your tribal jewelry in a place where sunlight can’t get to it. If you’re outdoors, avoid direct exposure to the sun, vents, or other sources of heat.
2. Steer clear of chemicals.
Exposure to chemicals can cause bleaching or flaking with your silver piece. Everyday substances like hairspray, lotion, perfume, sunscreen, or other cosmetics can permanently damage your jewelry.
Similarly, ammonia, bleach, chlorine, and other chemicals can be too harsh for your jewelry. So, before swimming in a pool, showering, or doing household chores, be sure to remove your accessories first.
As best practice, your tribal jewelry should be the first thing you take off and last to put on to avoid direct contact with any chemical-based product you apply or use.
3. Store your jewelry properly.
Proper storage is essential in ensuring that your pieces stay in good condition for a long time.
When storing your jewelry, use a suitable box or case instead of just tossing them on the desk or into the drawer. You can also use padded slots for rings and posts for necklaces or bracelets. Be sure to keep each piece separate from one another. This will help ensure that the pieces don’t get broken, scratched, or tangled.
Most pieces come in a box or pouch upon purchase, and that’s the best place to keep them. For other silver jewelry, put them in a soft anti-tarnish bag or cloth and keep in a cool, dark, and dry place. You can also add a piece of chalk, charcoal packet, or silica gel to remove moisture in the bags.
Cleaning and maintaining your tribal jewelry isn’t too hard or won’t take too long. With proper care – routine cleaning, polishing, and maintenance – your silver pieces can keep shining for many years to come.
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