For all metal types it is advised to:
Remove your pieces before showering or bathing of any kind.
Remove your pieces before bedtime.
Remove your pieces before going to work out or activities that may make you sweat.
Remove your pieces before entering a swimming pool, hot tub or sauna.
Ensure you use products safe for your specific precious metal.
Stainless Steel Jewelry+
Although stainless steel jewelry doesn’t tarnish or corrode and doesn’t require special care, it can scratch.
That’s why you should wear and store your pieces in a way that minimizes any contact with other items that can damage your stainless steel jewelry.
If your jewelry does get scratched, you can always have it professionally polished by a jeweler.
Store your stainless steel pieces separately from jewelry made of other metals. It is best if you keep your stainless steel items in individual bags, pouches or the cute box it came in.
Stainless steel jewelry is easy to clean. Simply follow these steps:
Pour some warm water in a small bowl, and add some mild dish soap.
Dip a soft, lint-free cloth in the soapy water, and then gently wipe the stainless steel jewelry with the damp cloth until the piece is clean.
When cleaning it, rub the item along its polish lines.
Wipe the remaining soap off your jewelry using a moist cloth dipped in clean water.
Dry the jewelry well with a clean towel, and then leave your pieces to air dry.
After your stainless steel jewelry is clean, you can use a jewelry polish or a polishing cloth to shine it.
Some people use toothpaste to clean the especially dirty spots of their stainless steel pieces.
Keep in mind, however, that some toothpaste is abrasive. If you decide to use it for cleaning, make sure it is a non-whitening brand that does not contain silica, and use a soft cloth to rub the paste onto your pieces.
Don’t forget to rinse the jewelry thoroughly after you are done.
An alternative to these cleaning methods is to purchase a stainless steel cleaner and follow the instructions on the package. You can also buy a regular jewelry cleaner, just check that the label indicates that it can be used on stainless steel.
Wear: You can avoid tarnish by wearing your jewelry often. The oils in your skin will “clean” the silver and keep it looking shiny.
Avoid exposure: Contact with household chemicals, perspiration, rubber, chlorinated water, or any substances which contain sulfur (e.g., mayonnaise, eggs, mustard, onions, latex, wool), will cause corrosion and tarnish — so it’s a good idea to remove silver jewelry when doing household chores. Direct sunlight also causes silver to tarnish, so be sure to take off your silver jewelry before you go swimming and sunbathing.
Lotions, cosmetics, hair spray and hair products, and perfumes are also “enemies” of silver and will accelerate tarnishing. There’s a reason generations of women have been getting dressed with jewelry last, as a finishing touch!
Storage: As exposure to air tarnishes it, storing silver in airtight plastic bags with anti-tarnish strips is a great preventative measure. Just make sure you don’t store multiple jewelry pieces in the same bag: silver is a soft metal, so the individual pieces can scratch each other. Link or chain bracelets should be kept unclasped or unhooked to prevent scratching as well. If you can’t use plastic bags, try to make sure that the storage area has low humidity. You can also place a piece of chalk, a packet of activated charcoal, or a container of silica gel in the storage area to minimize tarnish.
Polishing: Simply polishing your silver works well when the tarnishing is not too severe. It’s also the best method for cleaning oxidized silver, as you can stay away from the intentionally tarnished areas.
Silver is soft and can become scratched easily. You can use a special silver cloth to polish your items, but a lint-free flannel, microfiber, or other soft nonabrasive cloth will do as well. Do not use paper towels or tissues to polish your jewelry as they contain fibers that can scratch the silver.
When polishing, use long back-and-forth motions that mirror the grain of the silver. Do not rub in circles, as this will magnify any tiny scratches. Also, change to a different section of your cloth frequently to avoid placing tarnish back on the silver. You can use a Q-tip to get into small, detailed areas.
Be careful with silver-plated items, as excessive polishing can remove the plating (depending on the thickness) and leave pieces worse than when they started.
Professional Care: If your pieces are heavily tarnished and you don’t have the time to clean them, take them to a professional silver cleaner. Very old, fragile, or valuable pieces should also be cleaned by a professional.
Soap and water: Warm water and a mild, ammonia- and phosphate-free dishwashing soap should be your first line of defense if the polishing cloth fails to remove tarnish. Soap and water should also be used to clean your pieces before using any of the methods listed below.
Baking soda and water: You might have heard that a non-whitening, non-gel toothpaste can be a good substitute for commercial silver cleaners, but nowadays these basic toothpastes are hard to find or distinguish from the toothpastes that will discolor your silver. Instead, make a paste of baking soda and water and use a clean cloth to apply a pea-sized amount to the silver and polish. For etched, stamped or detailed items, thin the paste with more water and use a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush to get the cracks and crevices. Run the silver piece or pieces under running warm water, and dry with a clean cloth.
Olive oil and lemon juice: Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice with 1 tsp. olive oil in a bowl large enough to hold the cleaning solution and a small microfiber cloth. Dip the cloth in the solution and wring it out so that it doesn’t drip, then polish the silver, rinse, and dry.
White vinegar and baking soda: Use this gentle cleaner to remove heavy tarnish that’s preventing you from polishing your silver. Soak the tarnished piece in a solution of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tbsp. baking soda (be prepared for the fizzing!) for two to three hours, then rinse and dry.
Baking soda, salt, aluminum foil, and boiling water: You can take advantage of a simple chemical reaction to clean your silver: all you’ll need is some baking soda, salt, and aluminum foil. Line a glass roasting pan or the kitchen sink with aluminum foil, dull side facing down. Place the silver pieces on top of the aluminum foil. Then pour boiling water over the pieces until they are covered and add 2 tbsp. each of baking soda and salt. Stir the solution to allow the baking soda to dissolve — you don’t want any granules scratching the metal.
The reaction causes the tarnish to transfer to the foil, and in about 5-10 minutes you’ll see the tarnish “magically” disappear from the jewelry. (Be prepared for the smell of rotten eggs, though, as the sulfide tarnish comes off the silver.) Using salad tongs or nitrile gloves (not rubber gloves, which contain sulfur), remove the silver jewelry from the hot water or drain into a colander. Rinse the jewelry with water, then dry and buff with a soft cloth. Voila! Your silver should be sparkling clean and ready to keep you looking fabulous.
Mix a small amount of mild dish detergent with warm water in a bowl. Put the jewelry into the bowl and let sit for a few minutes. Use a soft toothbrush (like a baby tooth brush) to gently scrub the jewelry. Remove item from soapy water, rinse it and dry thoroughly with a soft polishing cloth.
You can also use a polishing cloth for extra shine and to remove any tarnish. (Sometimes 14k gold can tarnish a bit - particularly on earrings and the inside of rings - depending on your skin chemistry, but it is a very easy fix.)