Jewelry Guide

How Long Does it take for Sterling Silver to Tarnish? Complete Guide

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If you still have not got the answer to this question that how long it takes for sterling silver to tarnish, then check out the explanation from this web page. It is generally in the time frame of 2 months to 3 years that your sterling silver jewels may get tarnished.

But if you take care of them and regularly clean and maintain them, then you can extend this time. And there might be a case that with proper care, your sterling silver piece does not get tarnished at all.

With the arrival of some great tips and tricks, there is no need to get worried if your sterling silver gets even a little bit tarnished and damaged. When it comes to tarnishing, this problem has no longer become a big deal and issue.

Dealing with tarnishing problems has become easy. If you want to prolong your sterling silver life span and do not want it to get ruined in less time, then follow out some of the cleaning and maintenance tips that we have suggested to you.

As we have given you a general idea that how long does it actually and specifically take for sterling silver to tarnish, the rest of the details can be checked out below by you:

Basics on Sterling Silver

sterling silver

Before we jump on the actual piece of discussion regarding the connection between sterling silver and tarnishing, you need to know the basics of this jewel material. Most importantly, real silver is always too soft.

Furthermore, real silver cannot be purely used as jewelry. So, to make this jewel material durable and stronger, it is mixed and infused with copper and this combination is given the name of sterling silver.

Besides, real silver is at times mixed and combined with copper and nickel as well. This whole combination becomes precious metal and gets the form of sterling silver. You can even call it a silver alloy. You need to understand that sterling silver is always 92.5% silver.

All About the Basics of Tarnishing

does sterling silver tarnish

The connection and basic link on sterling silver and tarnishing go hand in hand. Whenever this metal type is exposed to the air, it will get tarnished. All in all, the occurrence of a chemical process makes your sterling silver face this major problem of tarnishing.

In technical terms, this process is given the name of oxidation. It means when you heavily expose your sterling silver in the air, it may get rust on it and may lose its shine.

This oxidation and tarnishing process automatically makes your sterling silver jewelry become black in color. Moreover, this generally happens because a chemical reaction takes place between silver and sulfur. You can understand this process and phenomenon in simpler terms. Tarnish is generally a thin film. This thin film appears in the form of silver sulfide and thus ruins your sterling silver real look.

For a few times, this process of tarnishing gets the look and feel of a patina brown layer. It is on the silver vessels that this problem is usually and commonly seen. Giving you another example so that you can understand this process clearly and on simpler terms! Like, if you have got a silver locket, it may start to show discoloration and brown spots on it. This actually means that your sterling silver locket is getting tarnished.

Apart from exposure to air, these sterling silver jewelry get damaged and discolored as well if you expose them to chemicals and moisture. They automatically start to become dark gray in color. Or they get a black coating on them. Hence, pure silver is resistant to tarnish but sterling silver is not resistant to tarnish.

 However, one cannot use pure silver in the jewelry-making process because it is too soft, fragile, and weak. 

Why Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?

sterling silver jewelry

As we have already told you that exposure to air, chemicals, sweat, and moisture makes your sterling silver pieces gets tarnished. These are the common reasons and factors that arise from this problem. Furthermore, sterling silver is not at all resistant to tarnishing.

This material fails to resist and withstand the phenomenon of rusting, discoloration, and tarnishing. This process is not restricted to just sterling silver rings. No matter, you have lockets, chains, bracelets, and necklaces made of this material, they will get tarnished if you constantly expose them in harsh and not-so-desirable environments.

Most noteworthy, the combination and fusion of other metals in this alloy make it not resistant to tarnishing. In other words, this jewel material turns green or gets discolored and tarnished because it is not pure silver.

How Long Does it take for Sterling Silver to Tarnish?

The amount of time taken by these sterling silver jewelry to become discolored and rusted, it is from two months to three years. Like if you have purchased a jewel piece on 19-01-2021, then you can do the calculations on your own regarding when it will get tarnish!

It even means if you immensely expose this metal to air and sunlight, then it will get discolored in few months. However, if you take care of it and expose it little to air and moisture, then minimum tarnishing problem will appear on it. Hence, you need to keep this jewelry in a controlled environment. If the environmental conditions are not favorable, then there is a chance that your sterling silver will lose its colors, shine.

Cleaning Sterling Silver- Top Tips for Preventing Tarnishing

Cleaning sterling silver

Below you can check out the main tips for preventing the problem of tarnishing on your sterling silver jewelry. These tips are fully supported by celebs like we have Charlize Theron. So, have a look at the details. And if you can think of some other tip to prevent this problem, then share that with us on this respective platform:

Adding Rarnish Tab Right to Your Jewelry Box

Firstly, you should add a tarnish tab right to your sterling silver jewelry box. This is an effective method that you can try out. People from Asian countries like Bangladesh have immensely backed and supported this trip. In addition, with the help of these paper strips, you can pull out all of the sulfur as well as moisture present in the air. This tip makes your jewelry tarnished-free.

Rubbing Anti-Tarnish Cloth

The second tip that you can follow to get rid of this light tarnishing or light spotting problem is to make use of anti-tarnish cloth. You just have to rub this cloth on your sterling silver and give it a new and rust-free look. This is an effective and result-driven technique if your jewelry often witnesses the problem of light spotting.

Furthermore, you should not overuse this cloth. If you make harsh use of anti-tarnish cloth, then it may reduce and bring down the luster of your jewelry.

Using a Toothbrush and Baking Soda

For preventing and avoiding tarnishing, you can use a toothbrush and baking soda in this regard. Make a mixture of water and baking soda. Take a toothbrush and scrub this mixture on your sterling silver jewelry. This technique helps you get rid of light kind of tarnishing amount.

On the other hand, if you are facing the problem of heavy tarnishing, then you can use over-the-counter tarnish remover. This is a helpful tip if your sterling silver jewelry has become fully discolored. Simply use this remover and makes your jewelry all rust-free.

Storing Your Sterling Silver Jewelry in an Ideal Location

One of the main reasons that sterling silver gets tarnished that you fail to keep it in an ideal location. If you have this jewelry, then you need to allow a proper securing place to it. If you just keep it in a messy manner and undesirable location, then it will get rust and lots of discoloration on it.

We can give you this advice to get a proper jewelry box for such jewels. And assign, allot a proper place for securing and storing this jewelry type.

Moreover, whatever location and storing place you finalize for this jewelry piece, you need to make sure that it should remain absent from heat, moisture, and sunlight traces.

Never Wear Sterling Silver While You Are in the Shower

There is no point in wearing these sterling silver pieces in the shower! If you do so, they may get a lot of rust, tarnishing, and immense discoloration on them. Wearing these jewels one to two times in the shower is fine, but you should not make it a habit.

In addition, these jewels should not come in constant contact while you are in the pool or at the beach. Moisture appearing in any kind of form and version destroys your sterling silver look.

Wiping Your Sterling Silver Regularly

Your sterling silver may not get tarnished quickly if you wipe it off regularly. This is another easy and simple tip that you have to follow. Like, whenever you take off your jewelry, you need to wipe it.

And then keep it in the storage location spot from where you have taken it. For this wiping job, you can use a dry soft cloth and then perform this basic wiping job.

Cleaning your Sterling Silver on the Very First Sign and Hint of Tarnishing

The minute you see and notice the very first sign of tarnishing, you need to clean the sterling silver piece as soon as possible. Do not ignore these signs and hints.

For preventing this situation, you can make a mixture of warm water and mild dishwashing soap. Take a small cup and keep your jewelry in it. Hand-wash it gently and slowly! To dry it, take a cotton swab. While following this technique, do not ever forget that you have to clean tight corners of your sterling silver jewels. If there is tough rust and tarnish on your jewelry, then it is better to use a baby toothbrush.

Avoiding Contact of Harsh Chemicals with your Sterling Silver

The minute your sterling silver gets in contact with harsh and tougher chemicals, it means it will get tarnished for sure. Most importantly, the reaction of harsh chemicals with such jewelry makes it vulnerable to get rust. Furthermore, these chemicals scratch and take away all of the glam, shine, and glow of your jewel pieces.

So, minimize your sterling silver contact with harsh and risky chemicals. In the category of chemicals, we mean to say that you should not expose your jewel pieces to bleach and acetone. And there is no need to clean such jewelry pieces with these kinds of chemicals. It is recommended to use a mild detergent for cleaning these jewels.

Using a Jewelry Cleaning Machine

Rest, you should use and avail yourself of a jewelry cleaning machine for enhancing the lifespan of your sterling silver pieces. In other words, these cleaning machines appear in the form of ultrasonic cleaners. They are specifically made to restore and secure the shine and overall glow element of your jewel pieces.

Most importantly, these cleaners make use of ultrasonic waves. They are made and designed to gently clean your jewelry. Make sure to run these cleaners with the help of light and mild cleaning solutions.

More Ways to Increase the Life-Span of Sterling Silver

lifespan of sterling silver

There are other ways as well that help and guide you to increase the overall lifespan of sterling silver. By following these tips, you may reduce the issue of tarnishing.

Wearing Sterling Silver Regularly

If you wear sterling silver regularly, then there is a minimum and least amount of chance that your jewels will get tarnishing on them.

So, wear these jewels every day and regularly and see the magic. If you keep on throwing your sterling silver in random storage boxes and do not wear them often, it means they will lose their quality and shine and become an easy target of rusting.

Try Investing in Rhodium Finished Kind of Sterling Silver

Besides, it is recommended to invest in some rhodium-finished kind of sterling silver pieces. As we all know that rhodium is a metal.

It belongs to the platinum family. In addition, the white gold gets its appearance and look all because of this rhodium. In the same way, this metal has become a popular option if one wants to get a jewel that is sterling silver plated. Thus, if your sterling silver is rhodium plated, it will not become a victim of tarnishing.

Regularly Polishing your Sterling Silver

If you make it a habit of regularly polishing your sterling silver, it means you will never and ever face the rust and tarnishing problem at your end. Upon appropriately storing your jewels and frequently polishing them, they will manage to remain tarnish-free, rust-free, and discolored-free.

Coating Your Sterling Silver Pieces with Lacquer

How about coating your sterling silver pieces with lacquer, this is a great tip that you can follow. If you want to boost these jewels life-span and does not want them to get rust and tarnish, then coat them with lacquer. This technique is given the name of flashing. With the adoption of flashing, the sterling silver pieces get in a state to tolerate all issues linked to rusting, tarnishing, and discoloration.

Commonly Asked Question & Answer

Question: Will sterling silver tarnish if you wear it everyday?

Answer: No, sterling silver does not tarnish and gets rust on it if you wear it every day. Just make it less exposed to air and sunlight and you are good to go to carry these jewel pieces. In addition, you can conveniently wear this jewelry every day if you minimize its contact with sweat and moisture. It all depends on the fact and practice regarding how you best take care of it.

Question: Why does my sterling silver tarnish so quickly?

Answer: There are many reasons that make your sterling silver tarnish in less time. Like, constant and high amount of exposure to sunlight, air, moisture, harsh chemicals and sweat makes it a quick target of tarnishing and rusting. Moreover, if you live in the area where there is the highest amount of humidity, it means your sterling silver will get quickly tarnished. Along with that, areas where air pollution is immense of all, this reason also contributes to tarnishing problem.

Question: Is it OK to sleep with sterling silver necklace?

Answer: It is better to take off your sterling silver necklace while you sleep. These kinds of jewel pieces have the tendency to discolor your skin or make it green. If you do not want to see this problem arising, then take off your sterling silver jewelry while you go to your night bed. As we know that this jewel category comes in the costume and fashion category. And this particular jewelry possesses the highest tendency to tarnish and even discolor your skin on the fast notes.

Question: Is it All Right to Put Sterling Silver in Water?

Answer: No, it is not all right to put sterling silver in water. Do not make this mistake because contact with water will tarnish your jewel item quickly. While you are in the shower or at the pool and beach, always take off your jewelry. Swimming pools have chlorine in them and this kind of harsh chemical weakens your jewelry structure. So, make sure and keep in mind that it not right and fine to put your sterling silver in water. However, if you accidentally make this mistake, then dry your jewels thoroughly and store them at the dry location as well.


Yes, the sterling silver jewel type is right for you, but you need to take much care of it. Do not take its care and maintenance part for granted. As this guide has told and explained to you how long does it take sterling silver to tarnish! And if you have any questions on this guide, do ask us.

Moreover, sterling silver is perennially popular and quite famous among consumers. They like this jewel type because of its strength and also malleability. Furthermore, this jewel category has got an endless parade and a wide number of designs.

We have marked and identified this metal as an affordable precious metal. And you can make it all timeless looking if you take the right care of it. If you have worn this jewelry piece, then you should also know how to keep it away from tarnishing.

Hence, we have shown you the simple procedure as to how to avoid tarnishing problems. You need to follow as much simpler cleaning techniques as you can and share your feedback as well. We will share more of the tarnishing and rust prevention tips on this web page, so keep tuned with us.

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Jasmin Piterson

Hi i am Dr. Jasmin Piterson an Sole owner and editor of The Piercing Home. I works with expert piercer and writes original content based on their recommendations. Previously, I have done my doctorate from the University of California. I covered all kind of stuff related to piercing. My favorite things include Eyebro piercing, septum piercing and all kind of piercing for both male and female

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