Can Sterling Silver Get Wet?

Assuming it is spring break, all you want to do is go out for a swim. However, does this mean you must remove your sterling silver jewelry?  It is important to know can sterling silver get wet while swimming or taking shower?

Yes, It does get wet. But Getting wet occasionally while wearing sterling silver jewelry does not damage it. However, extended exposure might lead to oxidation of the top layer, making silver darken quickly.

How Different Water Types Affect Sterling Silver

There are different scenarios where the sterling silver jewelry might get wet. We want to look at different water type exposures and how they can affect your piece below. 

  • Shower water 

For the most part, shower water should be generally fine. This is because they do not contain many harsh chemicals that would otherwise affect the look of your sterling silver jewelry. 

How about the soap you are using? The soap is even better as it will wash off the residue on the jewelry’s top layer. This makes the silver piece maintain its shine. 

  • Pool water 

Swimming is always fun, but is the water safe for sterling silver? Considering that pool water would have chlorine, it might not always be the best thing to wear sterling silver while swimming as chlorine reacts with silver. 

It also depends on how much concentration of chlorine is in the water. If there is too much chlorine in the water, consider cleaning the piece right after swimming with it. 

  • Hot tub 

Hot tubs tend to have more chlorine than pools, and the water is hot too. Expect more chemical reactions since the temperature is higher. Taking off the sterling silver jewelry is best before getting into a hot tub.

In case you decide to sit in the pool with your sterling silver piece, consider having it cleaned as soon as possible to avoid color change. 

  • Saltwater 

You might find in some places you are showering with salt water, or for some reason, the sterling silver piece is dropped in salt water. Well, what should you do?

Saltwater is generally corrosive. That is why you should either take off the piece or rinse and dry it immediately after you get out of the water with clean water. 

Salt water tends to give the shiny silver a scaly look. That is not what you need for your sterling silver to look like. 

  • Hot springs 

Hot springs are not the safest for your sterling silver jewelry. Hot springs generally contain many minerals, including sulfur which will not be good for your jewelry. 

You might have noticed that jewelers use sulphuric acid for oxidizing silver jewelry intentionally. Unless it is intentional, you should not be getting the silver piece wet with hot spring water. 

Caring for Sterling Silver

One thing about caring for sterling silver would be keeping it away from moisture. 

Moisture is the biggest threat to sterling silver look and longevity. That is why you can keep it away from the bathroom, where it might be vulnerable to humidity. Also, showering can also lead to dampness. 

You should also keep the harmful chemicals also away from the sterling silver jewelry. 

Make sure you keep your sterling silver jewelry away from beauty treatments and related products. This is because they can have chemicals that would dull silver. 

Some people use baking soda or toothpaste to clean their sterling silver jewelry. This might clean the silver, but it might leave it with scratches. We recommend you always use the proper chemicals made for cleaning sterling silver. 

Does Sterling Silver Tarnish after Getting Wet?

The biggest concern for someone buying sterling silver is if it will tarnish after getting it wet. 

When we say tarnish, it is simply when sterling silver will develop a dull color because of the top surface being oxidized. 

You should know that sterling silver will largely tarnish with time, even without getting wet. However, the chemicals in the water could largely lead to faster tarnishing. 

So, how long does it take for the sterling silver to tarnish?

Sterling silver sitting in water for long hours can tarnish within a day. However, the tarnish does not mean the sterling silver piece will wear and tear immediately. Other things that will determine how fast the jewelry will break down. This includes how you care for the jewelry. 

Each time you notice that your sterling silver jewelry is tarnishing, ensure that you have it cleaned and polished. 

Storing your sterling silver jewelry is also part of caring for your piece. It is best to store it in a dark room or a place far from direct sun exposure, heat, and moisture. You can invest in reflective paper strips so that the jewelry is not always exposed to sunlight. 

Also, remove air exposure by keeping the sterling silver in the jewelry bag. It helps reduce the chances of the sterling silver being exposed to other contaminants while in storage. After knowing this, you might also be interested to know about is sterling silver hypoallergenic?

Here is a video showing how to care for sterling silver

Cleaning Sterling Silver at Home

If you have dirty or tarnished sterling silver jewelry, it is possible to clean it and have it look good once again. However, which would be the way to do so?

We look at several cleaning methods you can use to leave you with a shiny sterling silver piece. 

#1 Using a mild dish soap

Fill a bowl with warm water, and then add a few drops of dish soap. Make sure it is mild dish soap. You do not need harsh chemicals to remove the dirt layer. 

Get a soft toothbrush in soapy water and rub it gently over the silver jewelry. Once you are done cleaning, rinse this piece of jewelry in a clean bowl of warm water. Finally, dry it off by using a soft towel. 

#2 Using a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil 

Mix a half cup of lemon juice with a teaspoon of olive oil. This should give you a solution good enough to clean silver. 

Make sure that you are cleaning the silver jewelry with a nonabrasive cloth. As always, rinse the jewelry in clean water and dry it too with a clean cloth. 

#3 Use commercial silver cleaners

Commercial cleaners can also be a good thing for cleaning sterling silver too. Make sure that the cleaners do not have harsh chemicals. These chemicals would easily damage sterling silver as they can remove the anti-tarnish coatings. 

We recommend doing proper research to identify which is the best commercial silver cleaner. We use Wright’s silver cream and it did a great job!

Wright's Silver Cleaner and Polish Cream

We do not advise scrubbing the sterling silver with toothpaste or baking soda. This is because baking soda could easily scratch the surface of your jewelry. 

Frequently asked questions

What happens when sterling silver gets wet?

It all depends on the contents of the water. For example, some water types might have too many chemicals affecting sterling silver adversely. 

Can sterling silver get wet in the shower?

Yes, it can. You can shower with sterling silver but ensure it is entirely dried after getting out of the shower. This is to prevent tarnishing due to moisture.

Will sterling silver rust when it gets wet?

Sterling silver can remain to look good for a long and does not rust. Just make sure you care for it to maintain its shine. 

Can sterling silver be worn every day?

There is no problem with wearing sterling silver every day. However, make sure you also clean it more often to avoid premature tarnishing and dulling. 

Final Thoughts 

We hope we ‘ve covered your question: can sterling silver get wet, but you should not keep it in wet conditions for a long time. This is because you would end up with tarnished jewelry. We have also looked at which water type is likely to lead to tarnishing. So, do not enter a hot tub or hot springs with sterling silver pieces, as they can get tarnished easily. Instead, ensure you have these pieces of jewelry well taken care of to maintain a clean look. 

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