Aug 31 2011
I sent my daughter back to school, and we are a few days into life with more routine. While I miss the beach and days filled with summer fun, I must admit that a simpler routine has a beauty all its own. I find that I am taking moments to stop, to re-think, to re-organize. It feels good, and I am looking at making my life more simple. (At least life will be simpler when I finish the reorganizing.) I am cleaning up summer stuff and general stuff that has been neglected over the summer. My jewelry (of course) is always clean and shiny, and I have an easy trick about how to do that. Read on if you are interested.
Cleaning Sterling Jewelry
We all love our sterling when it is sparkly and shining, but who hasn’t pulled out a favorite pair of earrings and realized they are not so fantastic when tarnished? And then if you are anything like me, the thought of finding the silver polish and getting them cleaned up is a lot more work than just picking out another pair. So the poor earrings get tossed back wherever you keep earrings (more on that later), and the tarnish problem only increases. There is a simple solution to this problem.
At the first sign of diminished shine, grab an old toothbrush and a touch of toothpaste and brush your jewelry after you brush your teeth (please, please don’t use the same brush). Rinse and dry, and you are good to go. Why do I love this? It is easy and doesn’t add any extra steps. After all, you were planning on brushing your teeth today, weren’t you? Can you tell I am a single mom? Not only do I want the easiest way from A to B, I feel obliged to say ‘brush your teeth.’
Now you need to know that this won’t work with jewelry that is already severely tarnished. IF your sterling has already gotten really discolored, you will need to use a proper silver polish to get it clean. Personally, I use Wrights (because my Mom did), but I am sure any brand would work just as well. I do suggest using a paste or polish and not a dip. The dips seem to work well at first, but many of them remove a shine that you get can’t back, not to mention some of them are made in such a way that your jewelry looks great for a short time, but in the long run, they end up getting more tarnished (so you use more dip to get them shiny again).
Now once you have your jewelry clean, taking good care of it will go a long way toward keeping it shiny. Jewelry boxes aren’t just for decoration; they actually are the best place to store your jewelry. Jewelry tarnishes from light, oils, and moisture. So if you don’t have a jewelry box, find a box or a drawer or somewhere to store your jewelry. Make sure it closes (and keep it that way). Please, please don’t keep jewelry in the bathroom – think excessive moisture.
Now let’s talk about hairspray, perfume, and sweat. If at all possible put your jewelry on after you have finished putting on hairspray and perfume. Those sprays can make nasty spots on jewelry that are hard to remove.
As for sweat, I am all for sweating in jewelry. After all, I want to look pretty when I am out on a run J. But when you are done, give your jewelry the treatment you give yourself—a shower. Soap and water that won’t hurt your skin won’t hurt your sterling. Removing the sweat and body oil (and that bit of random perfume that got sprayed on too late) will go a long way toward keeping your sterling clean.
Do remember not all water is created equal. Water from the swimming pool or whirlpool can turn your jewelry a really nasty color. Trust me on this one. As for ocean water, someone will have to let me know what it does to sterling. I live in Minnesota where we have land and fresh water forever in each direction.
So there you have it—my easy ways to keep your sterling clean.