How to clean a sterling silver necklace

Updated February 21, 2017

Sterling silver is an alloy of at least 92.5 per cent silver, with copper making up the rest of the composition. Unlike jewellery that is just coated in silver, sterling silver will stay true to its colour for a long time if properly cared for. However, like all silver, sterling silver tarnishes easily by just reacting with the elements in the air. In order to keep your sterling silver jewellery—such as necklaces—looking their best, you will have to clean them regularly.

Fill a bowl with a ½ cup of warm water and a ½ tsp of mild dish soap. (Ref 4)

Dip the sterling silver necklace into the bowl and scrub it lightly with your fingers to remove any dirt or smudges.

Rinse the sterling silver necklace well in cool water. Be sure to remove all of the soap.

Dry the sterling silver necklace completely with a soft cotton cloth.

Polish the sterling silver with a clean, soft cotton cloth to remove any slight discolouration.


Do not use any abrasive materials to clean the sterling silver, since they will scratch the surface of the necklace.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cotton cloth, such as flannel
  • Mild dish soap
  • Bowl
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About the Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.