Can Sterling Silver Get Wet?

Sterling silver is a favoured precious metal for jewellery manufacturers for many years. They have numerous qualities, especially as it is durable. However, it can lose its shiny aesthetics – a sign that it may have been exposed to too much water.

So, can sterling silver get wet? Sterling silver jewellery can get wet occasionally, but generally, you should keep it dry. Also, certain types of water will cause more oxidisation or discolouration and even speed up the corrosion, tarnishing or damage.

In this article, we look into sterling silver. Can sterling silver get wet? What to do if my jewellery does get wet? Are there certain types of water that is more likely to harm my sterling silver jewellery? And, what are some tips that will improve the life of your pendant Sterling silver? This article reveals all.

What is sterling silver?


Sterling silver is formed usually by adding copper to silver, producing a metal alloy; having 92.5% silver. Pure silver, which is 99.9% silver element, the remainder is trace elements. Pure silver is tough to shape in jewellery design, so sterling silver is far more popular. Sterling silver jewellery has historically symbolised wealth and prosperity.

Related: Reasons Why You Should Buy Sterling Silver Jewellery

What happens when sterling silver gets wet?

Sterling silver undergoes oxidation reactions upon contact with water. The extent of the response is further determined by the type of water and chemicals present in the water. When oxidation reactions are done when these compounds contact water, the metal alloys in the sterling silver plated jewellery can tarnish, discolour or corrode.

Below is a list of the activity do's and don'ts; this guide discusses different waters and their effect on sterling silver jewellery.

Can you shower with Sterling Silver Jewellery?

Shower water is the least harmful water type to your sterling silver jewellery. Most showering water supplies do not contain salt or harsh chemicals that would react with sterling silver jewellery.

However, certain mains water may be treated with chlorine or high minerals such as limescale and chalk, likely harsher on the metal. We recommend avoiding showering with your jewellery on in these areas. If you happen to forget, it's okay; and gently wash it with some delicate soap after taking a shower to reduce wear.

Also, don't forget that it's humid in the bathroom. Moisture is not suitable for sterling silver jewellery. Again, we recommend removing the pieces before entering the bathroom and storing them instead in a dry and cool place.

Can I swim in a pool with Sterling Silver Jewellery?

Pool water is treated with high chlorine levels and will cause sterling silver jewellery and rhodium-plated jewellery to react. Silver will react with chlorine, as mentioned above and damage and discolour your jewellery. Avoid pool water to keep your sterling silver jewellery for a long time.

Can I swim in Salty water with Sterling Silver Jewellery?

Salty water includes ocean water and even some pools. Salt is very corrosive, especially to your plated jewellery. After swimming, you will often find residue on the surface of the jewellery, which should be cleaned immediately - rinse with soft/mild soap and dry it out.

A fun fact: Wearing jewels in the ocean water increases your chances of being attacked by sharks, as the glitter of the jewellery resembles shiny fish scales. As a general rule, avoid swimming in the ocean while wearing jewellery, gold or silver.

Can I swim in a hot tub or spa with Sterling Silver Jewellery?

The water in hot tubs or spas is especially bad for sterling silver as it combines high temperatures and humidity with highly chlorinated water. You should permanently remove any kind of jewellery metals before entering a spa.

Can I swim in hot springs with Sterling Silver Jewellery?

Though natural spring water has healing properties, the high concentration of minerals and gases wreak havoc on your sterling silver jewellery. A key element in hot spring water is sulphur, and this, combined with the warmth and humidity of the water, will cause the damage quicker. Never enter a hot spring while wearing jewellery, gold or silver.


3 Golden Rules For Sterling Silver Maintenance 


Golden Rule 1: Keep it away from moisture

Moisture is a threat to sterling silver longevity. Sterling silver jewellery does not belong in the bathroom, where it is vulnerable to humidity and dampness after a showering. Before long, you will notice the tarnish and dullness. Avoid the pool, hot tub, spa, sauna, steam room and natural hot springs.

Keep your jewellery for a long time and save it from possible discolouration by always removing it before a swim in any kind of water.


Golden Rule 2: Keep harmful chemicals away from it

Harsh chemicals can wreak havoc with your sterling silver and not just those found in water. Beauty treatments and products can also dull your jewellery. Avoid using essential oils around the jewellery, especially at the spa.

It's essential to remove all your jewellery before spa treatments and morning and evening beauty regimens.

Some women use toothpaste and baking soda to clean jewellery. But these can scratch the surface of the silver. There are specially designed chemicals that jewellers supply to clean the silver and often include polishing cloths.


How long does sterling silver take to tarnish?

Tarnishing doesn't affect the quality of your piece of Sterling silver jewellery, but it does affect the appearance. The time it takes to tarnish is dependent on the environment, of course. As mentioned, if you store your jewellery correctly and wear it regularly, you should avoid tarnishing it for an extended period.

Some jewellers do coat sterling silver in rhodium plating. Rhodium-plated jewellery has platinum/palladium metal which gives it a white gold look.

A deep layer of rhodium often coats high-quality sterling silver jewellery imported from Italy over the sterling silver. This eliminates tarnishing and gives an appearance virtually identical to white gold.


Vital care tips

Sterling Silver Heart Pendant Care Tips

It is true you can clean your jewellery if they appear to tarnish or dull. However, doesn't it make more sense to look after your jewellery so that it will look new for longer?

Store your Sterling Silver Jewellery Properly

You should place sterling silver jewellery in a dark room of your home when you are not using it. This should be far away from sun exposure, moisture and heat. You maybe want to invest in reflective paper strips that you can place along with your store-bought sterling silver not to have to worry about your jewellery.

You can also remove the air exposure around each jewellery piece by storing it in its bag. This will reduce the likelihood of coming into contact with any contaminants causing them to tarnish.

How do I clean sterling silver?

Sterling silver requires periodic maintenance, so you can use a silver polishing cloth to clean and polish the metals. Using papers, even soft tissue paper, will result in staining and scratches. It can take a bit of mild detergent; dish soap is usually the best solution for silver.

You then rub a piece of cloth to finish. Rubbing should be in the shape of a back & forward motion. Repeat until satisfied with the result.

Wear it regularly

The smart, efficient way to maintain the appearance of sterling silver is to wear it every day, contacting your skin. Ensure to remove it for events like spa treatments or swimming, but it is suitable for daily wear.

Wipe it off after wearing it

Wash or polish your jewellery after wearing it each day to remove any chemicals or dead skin cells prone to damage. You can also wash with a damp cloth and lightly polish any wear or visible marks on jewellery.


DEPHINI Sterling Silver Heart Pendants


Dephini Sterling Silver Heart Pendant Necklaces


View our Collection

Dephini's exquisite sterling silver designs are beautiful and unique gifts for loved ones. Taking inspiration from the classic heart symbol, our necklaces make a perfect valentine's day gift, a gift amongst loved ones or a fashion statement.

Our high-quality Sterling silver:

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean and care


Many of our heart designs feature CZ crystal accompanied with an elegant and delicate sterling silver chain. Visit our store to see our range of sterling silver gifts.

 Further Reading: Esoteric Meaning of the Heart Symbol

Read more: Double Heart Necklace: Meaning and Symbolism