So, you have found the perfect jewelry, and you are extremely obsessed. Perhaps you have stumbled across a Judaica store and are obsessed with its sterling silver. Whatever your reasoning might be, you are here to know the ultimate question, “how to take care and clean sterling silver jewelry and Judaica.
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You see, sterling silver is one of the highly sought materials for producing jewelry and is also one of the most ignored. Why? The reason behind this is tarnishing.
Sterling silver becomes tarnished when sulfur or oxygen comes in contact along with the silver itself. It then chemically bonds, and the silver begins to show discolored or dirty. That’s why cleaning your sterling silver jewelry, and Judaica stuff is important to keeping them sparkly and making them your forever items.
Before you start cleaning your sterling silver at home, you will find numerous factors you need to consider first. We have made this guide for you, highlighting everything you need to know on how to clean sterling silver jewelry, candlesticks, menorahs, and more!
Are you now ready? Without further ado, let’s begin!
What is a Sterling Silver Jewelry?
At its core, sterling silver is a mix of metal types. If you are a sterling silver jewelry lover or a Jewish, then you have probably noticed the 925 hallmarks stamped inside your necklace clasp or ring. That number symbolizes the amount of silver in the item.
Sterling silver—also referred to as 925 silvers—embodies at least 92.5% of silver and 7.5%, copper. Irrespective of the other 7.5%, the 925 will remain standard for 92.5% purity.
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What Causes Sterling Silver to Turn Black?
Sterling silver is also an alloyed metal. It’s quite famous due to its malleability and affordability. However, it tarnishes too fast due to its composition.
Are you looking at a piece of jewelry or any object made of sterling silver that seems dirty or darkened? Then your silver has completely tarnished. However, there’s no need for you to ignore that piece or totally get rid of it.
Bear in mind that tarnish is only the result of a chemical reaction with sulfur or oxygen particles in the air. With a few simple-to-follow tips, you can efficiently take care of your sterling silver and make it last for many years to come.
When to Remove Your Sterling Silver Jewelry
Sterling silver necklaces can be worn often. In fact, wearing it is often one of the ideal ways to fight to tarnish. The natural oils of the skin help the silver retain its shine. Thus, it is better to wear the necklace instead of keeping it safe by sitting it in the jewelry box.
Nonetheless, there are instances when it is best to remove your jewelry to keep it in better condition and to prevent losing the necklace. Most household chores need the use of cleaners having sulfur or chlorine, both of which will speed up the oxidation process, leading to tarnishing.
On top of that, rubber and perspiration can speed up that process. Thus, it is an excellent idea to remove the jewelry first when doing your household chores. Activities such as sunbathing, swimming, or exercising can be dangerous to your sterling silver as sunlight can cause tarnishing too.
Ensure your jewelry is the last thing you put on when you’re getting ready for the day. Perfume, hairspray, lotion, and makeup all have ingredients that could speed up the tarnishing process.
How to Take Care and Clean Your Sterling Silver at Home
Are you looking for ways to clean sterling silver candlesticks? Maybe you want to learn the proper ways of cleaning sterling silver menorahs or cleaning sterling silver Kiddush cups. Whatever objects you are planning on cleaning, this section got you covered. We will give you practical tips on how to take good care of your sterling silver items.
Remember that there are numerous at-home methods for cleaning your silver jewelry. You have possibly seen yourself faced with countless options, thinking which are the best. Well, here are the sterling silver cleaning methods that experts recommend for your at-home cleanings.
Use soap and water
This is our most suggested method due to the gentleness of soap and water. It should be your first line of defense before trying to do anything else.
Use water and baking soda
Have you come across recommendations to use toothpaste? We highly suggest ignoring that tip and using baking soda and water as an alternative. However, toothpaste can be used to clean your Judaica if they’re just simple, non-whitening, non-gel-based pastes. Still, remember that they have more ingredients that may ruin your sterling silver.
It will help if you create a paste from water and baking soda. Then, apply a tiny amount into a toothbrush or cloth and scrub your sterling silver item gently.
Use baking soda and white vinegar
This gentle sterling silver cleaning method is excellent for getting rid of heavy tarnish. You can soak your sterling silver in a half cup of white sugar and a two tablespoon baking soda. Make sure you combine those in the sink and prepare yourself for the foam and fizzing for two to three hours. Wash the jewelry and pat it dry.
Finish everything with a polish
After you have given your sterling silver a decent cleaning, you can then end the process by using a polishing cloth that is specifically made for sterling silver.
You can repeat that process as often as necessary to clean your sterling silver jewelry or Judaica. Keep in mind that the key to keeping your sterling silver items clean is to keep up with routine cleanings to eliminate tarnish as it builds.
What’s more, your job will be more challenging if you allow a piece to accumulate a huge amount of tarnish and then try to remove everything all at once.
You will find many other options that you will come across. However, we extremely recommend those above due to how gentle they are on your sterling silver.
Does It Matter Where I Keep My Sterling Silver Judaica?
Yes, it is. You can keep your sterling silver Judaica or pieces of jewelry in nearly any jewelry container you have. However, the best one you must use to store your sterling silver is in a regular zip-locked bag.
To guarantee your sterling silver is safe in its store, you should place it inside the zippered plastic bag. Close it halfway and squeeze all the air out. After that, seal the bag completely.
Take note that you should ensure the zippered plastic bags you use don’t have polyethylene or Mylar—materials seen in common plastic, those used to seal comic books. Those substances are extremely abrasive and will rust your sterling silver jewelry.
It’s also important that you store your sterling silver in a cool area away from sunlight, as it will avoid it from being tarnished or damaged. On top of that, don’t allow your jewelry or Judaica to lay on treated surfaces like wood furniture. Those types of exteriors are stained and will stain and speed up the tarnishing process of your items.
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Other Important Tips to Keep in Mind
Here are other useful tips you can consider when taking good care of your sterling silver.
Take advantage of anti-tarnish bags
Do you need to store many sterling silver pieces? Then it will help if you get yourself an anti-tarnish bag as an alternative. Those are more robust and durable containers you can use for a longer period than zippered plastic bags.
Don’t leave your sterling silver anywhere
Store your sterling silver immediately after using, and don’t allow them to lay anywhere to avoid exposure to humidity. It will also help if you avoid wearing your silver jewelry while in the shower or when you’re swimming.
Exposing it to chlorine, humidity, and moisture will increase the risk of tarnishing.
Use tools to avoid tarnishing
You will find different materials you can utilize at home to avoid your sterling silver Judaica from being damaged.
Chalk. It naturally absorbs chemical residue and moisture. You can put the chalk inside your Kiddush cups or jewelry box or where your Judaica items are stored.
Anti-tarnish strips. These are made from non-toxic materials. You can place them inside your storage area, and it will absorb the agents in the air, causing tarnish or further damage.
Silica packs. You can place them inside your storage area to keep your sterling silver free of moisture. They’re often seen in new bags, shoes, and even clothes. The next time you purchase new stuff and see those packs, remember to keep them and use them for your sterling silver storage box.
Anti-tarnish cloths. These clothes absorb oxygen and sulfur, avoiding tarnish. You can use them in your sterling silver Judaica and jewelry after use to remove damaging substances and sweat.
If you don’t want to bother yourself cleaning your sterling silver, you can opt to other materials. One thing that no one says is that you can expect silver products in nickel or rhodium. That way you do not have to clean them at all.
Keeping your sterling silver clean comes down to keeping a balance at regular at-home care and professional cleaning schedules. We recommend an annual cleaning by experts for all your sterling silver jewelry and Sterling Silver Judaica.