When you buy jewelry, you are making a commitment to care for it while you wear it and even while you don’t. The material that you choose for your ring will determine the level of care that you should take with it and how it should best be kept.
Sterling silver rings are fairly simple to take care of if you follow the instructions carefully. Today, we’re going to talk about the proper storage and cleaning of your sterling silver ring as well as what you should avoid if you want to keep your jewelry looking sparkly and new for years to come!
Storing Your Sterling Silver
Storing your sterling silver rings properly is crucial. This is the first step in making sure that they last longer and stay in optimal shape. Sterling silver is a metal that can be easier to scratch and tarnish than others. If a shiny, smooth ring surface is important to you, follow the advice given by experts and store your sterling silver every time you take it off.
- Avoid Open Air
When you take off your sterling silver ring, the worst thing that you could do is leave it sitting out in the open air. Prolonged exposure will tarnish your ring, dulling it over time. Silver is delicate and needs airtight storage to survive.
Avoid leaving your ring in your purse/bag or on/in a drawer (i.e. a nightstand.) You are leaving it exposed to the air and you run the risk of scratching it against another hard object near to it.Instead, you should:
- Place rings or other items of sterling silver jewelry in separate, airtight bags. As a result, the pieces will be protected from the elements and they won’t get scratched by other rings or items you may have lying around in your drawer. These bags should be made of felt or cloth, not plastic for the best results.
- Put these jewelry items in a special case or box. Place your rings in a dedicated case for carrying, preferably inside of the airtight bags if you can. This adds an extra level of protection and prevents any loose item from getting scratched. Take it with you when you travel.
- Place silica gel packets in your ring bags. According to some experts, these packets have anti-tarnish properties and will keep your sterling silver rings shiny and sparkling like new for longer.
Sterling silver does not fare well in wet, bright, or hot conditions for a prolonged period of time. Water, light, and rising temperatures will tarnish the silver and make it dull. This is why you should really have a dedicated jewelry box to keep your rings in.
A note: purified water doesn’t harm sterling silver much, but it’s rare that you encounter water that isn’t treated with chemicals.
Clean it Up, Put it Away
Before you store your rings, you should clean them first. A quick wipe down will ensure that any dirt or other contaminants won’t tarnish your ring while it’s not on your finger.
This brings us to another common question that people have when it comes to keeping their sterling silver in great condition: how do you clean it? Let’s talk about that.
Cleaning Sterling Silver Rings
Cleaning your sterling silver ring is important. Eventually, the ring will get tarnished, no matter how much care you take to maintain its shine. Cleanings and polishings should get rid of tarnish and help your sterling silver jewelry shine bright again!How Often Should a Sterling Silver Ring Be Cleaned?
Sterling silver rings should be cleaned when they show signs of tarnish (i.e. getting dull or discolored.) This generally happens around 2-6 times per year, but it varies depending on how you wear it and store it.
- Polishing Your Ring
Polishing your ring will spruce it up and brush off minimal tarnish. This should be done occasionally when your ring doesn’t need extensive cleaning. While using a silver cloth is best for polishing, you can also use a non-abrasive microfiber cloth to get the job done.
Polish the ring back and forth with the grain, not in circles as you might be tempted to do. This only rubs any abrasive material into the metal and damages it or magnifies already present scratches.
- Professional Cleaning
If you aren’t confident in your own ability to clean your sterling silver ring, you should take it to be serviced by a professional cleaner. This is an ideal solution if your piece is old or fragile. What you pay will be worth your results and peace of mind.
- At-Home Cleaning Solutions
If you are going to clean your ring at home, you should only use previously tested and approved methods to do so. We’re going to go over these methods and give you a better idea of what your best option will be.
- Water and Gentle Soap
The most popular and gentle method of cleaning silver rings is using water and phosphate-free dish soap. Use warm water and mix the two together. Rub your ring gently and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean tarnish from crevices, but do so carefully.
- Water and Baking Soda
If the dish soap didn’t remove tarnish, you can mix warm water and baking soda to make a thin paste. Again, use the toothbrush only if you must, and do it gently. If your ring is engraved, take care not to scratch the letters with bristles while you clean.
- White Vinegar and Baking Soda
Sometimes, water might not be enough to clean your sterling silver ring. In that case, white vinegar and baking soda are a reliable combination when it comes to cleaning. Soak your ring in ½ cup white vinegar with 2 tbsp. of baking soda mixed in. This should remove even heavy tarnish.
- Lemon Juice and Olive Oil
If none of the other methods have taken the tarnish from your ring, you can mix ½ cup of lemon juice with 1 tsp. of olive oil to make a gentle cleaning solution. Dip a microfiber cloth in the solution and gently wipe your sterling silver ring with it.
After each of these at-home methods, rinse the ring briefly with warm water and thoroughly dry it with your clean soft cloth.