Dirty Little Secret: Tarnish

by Kiley Schiffman Storrs

Some makeup. A little sweat. Body oils. And the dirt you encounter every day. If you just read that and thought “Gross! Not on my jewelry!” we have some bad news for you. If you wear jewelry, it’s probably dirty and tarnished. But don’t despair. The good news is this: It can be professionally cleaned and brought back to looking like new!

Little by little, day by day, your jewelry is getting tarnished and losing some of its sparkle and shine. But with some care and the proper cleaning items, you can bring your jewelry back to life yourself.

Silver Cleaning Cloth

A silver cleaning cloth is perhaps the easiest way to return tarnished jewelry to normal. Rubbing gently over silver and other precious metals can restore them to their original beauty. A single cleaning can last for months, and it’s easy to do!

White Vinegar and Water

Combine equal parts of water and white vinegar in a bowl. Soak a soft toothbrush in the solution, then gently brush the tarnished areas. Pay extra attention to corners and crevices where dirt can hide. If necessary, you can also soak the piece of jewelry in the water/vinegar solution to help loosen stubborn tarnish.

Warm Bubble Bath

You know who likes bubble baths as much as you? Your jewelry. You’ll need two bowls…one with mild dish soap and warm water, and the other with clean water to rinse. Place your jewelry in the soapy bowl for about 30 minutes to soak. Then rinse with the clean water and gently brush your jewelry with a soft toothbrush until the tarnish and soap are gone. Place on a soft towel to air dry.

Preventing Tarnish

Wearing jewelry means it’s going to get tarnished over time, but there are a few things you can do to help prevent it:

• Remove jewelry when washing your hands, working in the garden, applying lotion, or doing anything that might cause your jewelry to come in contact with dirt and grime.

• Remove jewelry during a strenuous activity like working out, painting, or working in the garage to help prevent scratches and dents.

• At the end of the day, put your jewelry in a dry soft place like a jewelry box and avoid prolonged exposure to air. This also helps prevent your jewelry from banging up against each other and getting damaged.

These are just a few ways you can take care of your jewelry yourself. As always, if you don’t feel comfortable cleaning your jewelry, our professionals will be happy to help you.