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Guidelines for Preventing Tarnish in Sterling Silver and Gold Vermeil Jewelry

Guidelines for Preventing Tarnish:

Store in a Cool, Dry Place: Store jewelry in a dry environment, preferably in a jewelry box or soft pouch. Avoid areas with high humidity like bathrooms.

Use Anti-Tarnish Strips or Cloths: These are treated with compounds that absorb oxidizing agents, helping to reduce tarnishing when stored with jewelry. If you would like more information on anti-tarnish strips contact your Loytee team member to learn more about available options.

Limit Exposure to Chemicals: Remove jewelry when cleaning, swimming (especially in chlorinated pools), or using hot tubs. Limit exposure to beauty products such as perfumes, lotions, and hairsprays. Apply them before putting on jewelry.

Wear Your Jewelry: An amazing quality about sterling silver and gold vermeil is that Interestingly, regular wear can help prevent tarnish, as the natural oils from the skin can protect the metal.

Wipe Down After Wearing: Use a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe down pieces after wearing to remove oils and sweat.

Avoid Sulfur: Sulfur speeds up the tarnishing process. Therefore, it's advised to keep jewelry away from materials like garlic, eggs, rubber bands, acne creams, anti-dandruff shampoos, lime sulfur spray, a common fungicide for gardens, and certain types of wool.

Regular Cleaning: For sterling silver, warm to hot water and mild, ammonia- and phosphate-free dishwashing soap can often do the trick. Gently scrub with a soft cloth or soft-bristled brush, rinse thoroughly, and dry with a soft cloth.Gold vermeil should be cleaned gently with a damp cloth; never use chemical cleaners.

Reasons for Tarnishing:

Oxidation: Exposure to oxygen can cause silver to tarnish, resulting in a black or brown discoloration. This is why limiting exposure to air during storage can help.

Sulfur Compounds: These are found in the atmosphere, especially in urban and industrialized areas, and can accelerate tarnishing. They can also be present in certain materials and foods.

Other Chemicals: Exposure to various chemicals, from chlorine in pools to certain beauty products, can result in tarnishing or discoloration.

pH Levels: Individual body chemistries can vary. Some people may have a higher skin pH due to various factors, including diet, medication, or personal pH balance. A higher pH can speed up the tarnishing process.

Moisture: Humidity and moisture can contribute to tarnishing. This is particularly true for pieces that might not be 100% pure silver or gold; base metals in alloys can react more quickly with water.

By understanding the causes of tarnish and taking preventative measures, clients can maintain the luster and beauty of their sterling silver and gold vermeil jewelry for years to come.

Cleaning Tarnish:

Cleaning tarnished jewelry naturally involves using household items to remove the tarnish without resorting to harsh commercial cleaners. Below are some methods for cleaning tarnished sterling silver and gold vermeil jewelry:

Baking Soda and Water: For Sterling Silver: Make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply to the tarnished areas with a soft cloth and rub gently. For detailed or intricate items, use a soft toothbrush. Once done, rinse with water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Note: This method may be too abrasive for gold vermeil. Baking soda can strip the gold layer if used too frequently or with too much pressure.

White Vinegar and Baking Soda: This combination can be used to clean tarnished silver. Mix 2 parts white vinegar to 1 part baking soda to create a paste. Apply it gently using a soft cloth, let it sit for 2-3 hours, then rinse off and dry.

Soap and Water: Mild dish soap and hot water can help clean both sterling silver and gold vermeil. Swish the jewelry in the soapy water, gently scrub with a soft cloth or brush if necessary, then rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly.

Beer: For Gold Vermeil: Lightly dampen a soft cloth with beer (not dark ale) and rub it over the jewelry. The beer can help restore shine. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly afterward.

Aluminum Foil, Baking Soda, and Salt: Place a piece of aluminum foil at the bottom of a bowl. Add a tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of salt. Fill the bowl with hot water. Submerge the tarnished silver items in the water, ensuring they touch the aluminum foil. The tarnish should transfer from the silver to the foil. After a few minutes, remove, rinse, and dry.


  • Always test a small, inconspicuous area of the jewelry first before applying any cleaning method to the entire piece.
  • Be gentle when scrubbing or rubbing to avoid scratching the jewelry or removing any gold layer from gold vermeil items.
  • After cleaning, always rinse the jewelry thoroughly to remove any cleaning residue and dry it completely to prevent any moisture-induced tarnish.
  • Store jewelry in a cool, dry place and consider using anti-tarnish strips or cloths in your jewelry storage to further prevent tarnish.
  • Remember, while natural methods can be effective, they may not always be suitable for all jewelry types or levels of tarnish. 

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