Does sterling silver rust in water?

This blog post will answer the question, “does sterling silver rust in water” and covers topics like what is sterling silver, how it works, how to remove tarnish from sterling silver, and frequently asked questions related to the topic.

Does sterling silver rust in water?

Sterling silver does not rust in water but may tarnish with time. Pure silver, like pure gold, is impervious to corrosion and tarnish. While water will not harm your sterling silver, it can hasten the deteriorating process, so remove your jewelry before showering, washing your hands, or doing the dishes.

What is sterling silver and how does it work?

Sterling silver is a metallic element with a silver content of 92.5 percent. Zinc or copper make up nearly 7.5 percent of this metal. Sterling silver is much more resilient than solid silver, which is 99.9percentage silver with just trace components accounting for the remaining 0.1%. Pure silver is so delicate that it’s only utilized in a few items of excellent jewelry. It is prone to bending under pressure and is readily destroyed.

On the other side, sterling silver is commonly used for jewelry, dishes, pans, flatware, and other products. It can withstand normal tearing without being harmed. Sterling silver is also plated over other metals, especially for bigger pieces where choosing a different metal for the inside may drastically reduce the price point. For the most part, sterling silver is the natural option.

RUSTING VS. TARNISHING of Sterling Silver:

Sterling silver will tarnish, which is one of the differences between pure silver and sterling silver. This is not the same as rusting. Rust is a red iron oxide that forms on metal surfaces. 


  • Rust is a kind of corrosion that results in the metal deteriorating. 
  • The thing starts to fracture and shatter as it corrodes. When iron is exposed to the air and water, rust may occur.


  • Tarnish is a dark, greyish, or greenish staining that may occur on silver, copper, iron, zinc, and brass, among other elements. 

How does sterling silver tarnish?

Sterling silver tarnishes faster than solid silver because it contains a mix of metals that are all vulnerable to rusting, hastening the process. When items are exposed to the air, hydrogen sulfide, or sulfur oxides, they degrade. These compounds cause silver sulfide to develop on the surface of sterling silver items due to a chemical reaction.

Sulfur compounds are often present in the air, but they may also be found in conditioners, fragrances, detergents, and cosmetics. Some individuals have higher acid content in their skin, which accelerates tarnishing. This implies that when your sterling silver jewelry comes into touch with your skin, it may tarnish more quickly. Items corrode more quickly when the humidity level is high.

How to remove tarnish from sterling silver?

If your sterling silver tarnishes, there are a few things you can do to eliminate the discoloration and return the item to its former condition. 

Maintaining your sterling silver may be done in a variety of ways, including:

  • Silver Polishing Cloths
  • Ionic Cleaners: 
  • Chemical Cleaners: 
  • DIY Electrolytic Cleaning: 

I will now elaborate on them.

Silver Polishing Cloths: 

When cleaning sterling silver, a committed silver polishing fabric is a great tool, especially when working with pieces that have a lot of smooth surfaces. Anti-tarnishing and polishing compounds are included in these delicate microfiber or cotton cloths, which aid in the cleaning procedure. 

Silver cleaning cloths, on the other hand, are only useful for chains and highly engraved things since they can’t reach into the tiny grooves where tarnish may be seen.

Ionic Cleaners: 

The ionic cleaner uses an electrical method to remove tarnish. The tarnish is then converted to hydrogen sulfide gas. Two electrodes are immersed in a water solution containing electrolyte powder in ionic cleaners. Buying your own ionic cleaner might be expensive, but so many jewelers have this machinery on hand and can clean your sterling silver for you fast and efficiently.

Chemical Cleaners: 

Chemical cleaning agents specifically designed for sterling silver can be purchased. Follow the bundle directions carefully, as some items should only be applied to the surface while others are designed to be submerged.

DIY Electrolytic Cleaning: 

Line a container with aluminum foil and fill it with heated water to induce an electrolytic reaction for your sterling silver at home. Combine two teaspoons of bicarbonate soda and one teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl. Soak your jewelry for a few minutes in this solution, then wash and dry.

Intensional tarnishing on sterling silver:

The tarnishing of certain silver objects is done on purpose. Oxidized silver is the term for this. The deliberate darkening of oxidized silver jewelry gives it an antique aspect and helps jewels stand out even more. Jewelers use sulfides to darken silver to produce oxidized silver. The final result might be purple, turquoise, orange, red, or dark, depending on the intensity of the solution.

If you have oxidized silver jewelry, you should avoid using any strong silver cleaning methods since this can erase the tarnish and make your item look completely different. This sort of jewelry may be cleaned with a gentle toothbrush and light dish soap. Dust and grease should be eliminated, but the oxidation should remain. When washing these components, rub carefully and stop if the oxidation begins to come off.

Sterling silver pieces: How to care for them?

It’s critical to consider where you’ll store your sterling silver if you don’t want it to corrode. 

To keep your sterling silver from tarnishing, keep it away from the following items:

  • Wool.
  • Latex.
  • Tissue paper, to be precise.
  • Rubber bands are a kind of elastic.
  • Humidity.
  • Surfaces that have been painted

For sterling silver, you may buy storing bags or jewelry boxes with a secure inner layer to keep them from tarnishing.

Any interaction with sunblock, makeup, or chlorine should be avoided while wearing sterling silver. The silver will corrode more rapidly as a result of all of these factors. This isn’t to say that you should completely avoid these drugs. Just pay close attention to what your sterling silver comes into touch with, and clean it more regularly and carefully if it’s subjected to tarnishing-causing substances.

What causes sterling silver to tarnish?

Tarnish is caused by a chemical interaction between oxygen and sulfur atoms in the air. Sterling silver is a mixed metal made up of 92.5 percent pure silver and additional elements. Because of its constitution, sterling silver tarnishes fast, making it a desirable metal due to its low price and flexibility.

If you’re staring at a piece of jewelry that has discolored or seems unclean, your silver has corroded; nevertheless, there’s no need to throw it away!

How to keep sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing?

You can start taking care of your sterling silver jewelry and make it endure for years by following a few simple guidelines.

  • Wear it frequently
  • Remove during home chores
  • Keep silver jewelry out of bright sunlight
  • Put your jewelry on last

I will now elaborate on the guidance given above.

Wear it frequently: 

Believe it or not, the natural oils in your skin can help keep silver jewelry gleaming. Wearing your silver often rather than having it lie in a jewelry box unused is one of the simplest methods to avoid corrosion.

Remove during home chores: 

Domestic cleaners, chlorinated water, sweat, and leather contain extra sulfur, which accelerates rust and tarnishes. Before cleaning sterling silver, it’s a great idea to remove it entirely.

Keep silver jewelry out of bright sunlight: 

Take off your silver jewelry before going swimming or lake. Silver may also tarnish when exposed to sunlight.

Put your jewelry on last: 

Ladies have been wearing their jewelry on last for years, and for a valid reason! Tarnishing is accelerated by moisturizers, makeups, hair gel, and scents.

How to clean sterling jewelry? 

Maintaining your silver jewelry may be done in a variety of ways at home. You’ve undoubtedly found yourself with a plethora of choices, unsure of which is the best. Here are the silver cleaning procedures recommended by jewelers for at-home cleanings:

Cleaning Instructions from sterling jewelry are given below:

  • Water and soap
  • Water with baking soda
  • Baking soda with white vinegar
  • Apply a coat of polish to finish

I will now elaborate on them.

Water and soap:

Because of the softness of soap and water, this is our most recommended procedure. Before you attempt anything else, this should be your primary line of protection.

Water with baking soda:

If someone suggests using toothpaste, we strongly advise you to disregard such advice and instead use sodium bicarbonate and water. Pastes might be used on jewelry when they were basic non-whitening, non-gel-type pastes. 

However, they now include a lot more substances that might harm your silver. Instead, prepare a paste with bicarbonate soda and water, then gently clean with a towel or a toothbrush.

Baking soda with white vinegar:

This type of mild washing is excellent for eliminating thick tarnish. 

Immerse your sterling silver for 2 to 3 hours in a mixture of 12 cups white vinegar and 2 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda (mix these in a bowl and be ready for the fizzing and froth). Wash and pat dry your jewelry.

Apply a coat of polish to finish:

After you’ve cleaned your jewelry thoroughly, use a polishing cloth made exclusively for sterling silver to complete the job.

This procedure may be repeated as many times as necessary. Keep in mind that the key to keeping your sterling silver fresh is to clean it on a regular basis to eliminate tarnish as it accumulates. Allowing an item to collect a lot of tarnishing and then trying to eliminate it all at once makes your work considerably more difficult.

Materials Needed
Baking Soda
Mixing Bowl
Cleaning Cloth

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs), “does sterling silver rust in water?”

Can you wear sterling silver in the water?

Although sterling silver jewelry looks excellent with your beachwear, it should not be worn in the water. Exposure to pool and seawater may discolor and, in some circumstances, ruin them. Water does not create harm on its own. Don’t worry if you get wet while using your sterling silver jewelry. 

Will sterling silver rust if it gets wet?

This begs the issue of whether or not my silver jewelry can be wet. … Water does not harm sterling silver, but it does make it oxidize (discolor) faster, and the kind of water you use and the chemicals in it have an influence on how much your silver changes color. 

Can you shower with sterling silver?

Although bathing while wearing sterling silver jewelry should not affect the metal, it is possible that it may cause corrosion. Chlorine, salts, and strong chemicals can degrade the appearance of your sterling silver. Before bathing, we recommend that our clients remove their sterling silver.

Does 100% sterling silver rust?

Although the pure silver in sterling silver doesn’t really tarnish at room temp, the copper added to it may quickly react with the salts and sulfur in the atmosphere, causing sterling silver to corrode. Even the chemicals in our perspiration are enough to cause silver jewelry to corrode when used.

Can you wear 925 sterling silver in the pool?

Wearing sterling silver jewelry in a heated pool, natural spring, swimming pool, or any other chemically processed water is never a good idea. One of the greatest methods to keep your jewelry looking good and avoid corrosion is to wear it often.

Can sterling silver be worn every day?

To summarize, you may wear sterling silver every day, but you should do it with caution. Only if you avoid wearing it while indulging in specific activities will it prevent early tarnishing. If at all possible, stay away from dampness, open-air, and chemicals.


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