How to Clean Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver

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Rhodium-plated sterling silver is a type of rhodium-plated sterling silver that requires exceptional keeping. It’s beautiful but if it’s not properly taken care of, it will need a new coating sooner than expected. Here are some tips on how to clean rhodium plated sterling silver so that it looks as good as new.

How to Clean Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver  

Cleaning rhodium-plated sterling silver involves four major steps; soaking, rinsing, drying, and storing the piece of rhodium-plated sterling silver. When it comes to the materials required, you only need water, provided it is not high-pressure, some mild detergent, and a soft cloth.

Sterling silver necklace on white background

Rhodium is a precious metal of the platinum group. If not properly cared for, the rhodium will fade with time. Given that rhodium costs more than gold, it is generally important to take care of it to retain the overall value of your rhodium-plated sterling silver.

What Are Sterling Silver and Rhodium Plate?

Sterling silver, is a silver alloy composed of 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent copper, or any other metal. Sterling silver is typically identified by its hallmark stamp, 925, representing 92.5 percent silver content.

You’re probably wondering where the rhodium plating comes into play. Rhodium is a gleaming silvery-white rare earth metal that is a member of the platinum group of metals. The metal has grown in appeal in the rhodium-plated sterling silver industry because of its hardness, endurance, and natural brilliance.

The most exciting characteristic of rhodium is that it does not corrode: it does not oxidize when exposed to air and does not tarnish. It is used to improve the durability, brilliance, and light reflection of a piece of rhodium plated sterling silver. Furthermore, because rhodium is a strong metal, rhodium-plated rhodium-plated sterling silver is more scratch-resistant.

What You Need to Clean Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver

Don’t be startled by this list of items; most of them may be obtained in your own house. If you don’t already have one, you may need to purchase a polishing cloth, but otherwise, you should have everything in your kitchen cabinet. You will require:

  • Two bowls
  • Mild detergent
  • A soft towel or a microfiber cloth
  • A soft polishing cloth, although this is optional

If you have multiple rhodium-plated pieces of rhodium-plated sterling silver to clean, consider cleaning them all at once to save time.

Also, if you decide to use a microfiber cloth, be sure it hasn’t been chemically treated. The idea is to avoid using anything harsh on your rhodium-plated sterling silver, whether chemical or abrasive. This soft towel or soft cloth is also helpful in cleaning wrought iron furniture.

What You Need to Avoid While Cleaning Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver

Before you begin cleaning your rhodium-plated sterling silver rhodium-plated sterling silver, let’s go over the cleaning agents you should avoid using on your rhodium-plated sterling silver.

  • Harsh chemicals
  • Silver dips
  • Any abrasive
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Ammonia-based chemicals
  • Polishing cloths for silver or gold

Harsh chemicals should never be used on sterling silver or rhodium-plated sterling silver. Although rhodium plating is scratch-resistant, you don’t want to ruin it by using inappropriate materials. Zinc is not necessary to use harsh chemicals to clean as well.

While toothbrush or toothpaste is not recommended for sterling silver, cleaning the safety razor will be helpful to get rid of rust by using a decent amount of toothpaste.

Furthermore, avoid using any chemicals meant for cleaning rhodium-plated sterling silver or sonic-cleaning equipment. The majority of sonic equipment bounces the rhodium-plated sterling silver hence causing damage.

Rhodium plated sterling silver ring with gemstone

Cleaning Your Rhodium-Plated Silver

The best method to safeguard and extend the life of your rhodium-plated silver is to keep it clean. Let us begin cleaning now that you have your supplies and jewels ready.

If you’re inexperienced with the steps, simply go slowly so you don’t inadvertently harm anything. You’ll become acclimated to the cleaning procedure, and your rhodium-plated sterling silver will appear better as a result.

1. Soak the Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver in a Cleaning Agent

Combine a third cup of a gentle liquid detergent and one cup of warm water in a mixing dish. Then, dip the rhodium-plated goods in the mixture for a few minutes to remove any dirt lodged on the surface. 

Allow the objects to soak in the foamy water for at least 10 minutes, but not more than fifteen minutes. Consider using a timer because the time includes cleaning time, and any extra time might result in harm.

Carefully massage all of the materials inside the bowl with your fingertips. As previously stated, do not use toothbrushes or other abrasive objects. Rhodium does not tarnish; thus, your fingertips will be fine.

2. Rinse off Your Soaked Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver

Fill a sink bowl with water by placing your sink stopper tightly over the drain and pouring lukewarm water through it. In case you are connected to a hard water source, do not use it. It will leave stains on your rhodium-plated sterling silver, exactly as it did on the door of your shower and use distilled or bottled water instead.

Rinse the rhodium-plated sterling silver under the water source of your choice to eliminate all of the bubbly water. You might alternatively use a second bowl with tap water and you can replenish the water in the bowl as many times as you like, as long as you use room temperature water.

The crucial thing in this step is to eliminate all of the soap residues, and whether your rinse water appears soapy or clear is a good sign. Be delicate all throughout the rinsing process so you don’t harm the rhodium plating on your sterling silver.

3. Dry the Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver

Put your rhodium-plated sterling silver on a silky, clean towel or microfiber cloth to dry. It’s worth noting that the softer the towel, the better, so if you have one made of Egyptian cotton, use it.

Next, pat it gently to remove any extra moisture from the objects. Remember that friction causes plating to fall off; therefore, the softer you are, the longer the rhodium plating will remain. You may opt to dry the rhodium-plated sterling silver using a hairdryer on the lowest setting of heat available but if you don’t have one, let it air-dry all night.

4. Store the Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver

When storing the rhodium-plated sterling silver use tissue paper. If you have several pieces, wrap each on a piece of paper separately. The tissue shields the rhodium-plated sterling silver and protects it from grinding against anything that may cause a scratch.

If you don’t have a rhodium-plated sterling silver box, store your silver rhodium-plated sterling silver in the box it came in or in a zip lock bag or airtight container. Add any silica gel packs you have, which are commonly found in shoe boxes and vitamin jars.

Silica gel packs are called desiccants because they absorb moisture, which helps to prevent and reduce tarnish.

Rhodium plated sterling silver with gemstone

Tips for Caring for Your Rhodium-Plated Sterling Silver

  • Avoid wearing sterling silver or rhodium-plated sterling silver in water, particularly swimming pools and spas, is usually recommended because chlorine can corrode your rhodium-plated sterling silver in a brief period.
  • Avoid contact with shampoos, fragrances, and deodorants whenever feasible. In addition, we recommend taking off rhodium-plated sterling silver before going to bed and when undertaking hard labor such as gardening or cleaning.
  • Avoid touching your ring’s rhodium coating. Constantly washing your hands, for example, might cause it to wear off faster.
  • Habits such as pushing or moving a pendant down a chain can strain and weaken the chain over time.
  • When cleaning your rhodium-plated sterling silver, avoid scrubbing it too hard and be careful. These techniques will keep your rhodium-plated sterling silver appearing as gleaming and new as possible for as long as possible.
  • Polishing is optional, but if you notice the necessity, use a polishing cloth to give the piece of rhodium-plated sterling silver a gleaming appearance. Remember to polish it with the grain, not against it.
  • If you are still unclear about adequately cleaning your rhodium-plated piece, mainly if it contains a diamond or ruby, seek expert assistance. It’s pretty simple to damage rhodium-plated sterling silver, and you don’t want to lose all of your money in an instant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Jewelry Cleaner on Rhodium Plated?

No, you should never use regular rhodium-plated sterling silver cleaners on it since the strong chemicals can damage the plating. Clean your rhodium-plated sterling silver with warm water and a light liquid soap to keep it from tarnishing. Use a light polishing cloth as well, and dry promptly.

Moreover, polishing is also helpful in other materials like cleaning nickel silver. It can use to remove dirt immediately.

How Long Should You Leave Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver in Soapy Water?

You need to soak your rhodium-plated sterling silver in soapy water for ten minutes. Make sure to not leave it for more than 15 minutes to avoid rusting and tarnishing. Consider utilizing a timer because the excess time may cause harm to your item.

Conclusion

Rhodium-plated sterling silver is simple to care for as long as you follow the proper maintenance instructions. Remember to avoid harsh chemicals while cleaning your rhodium-plated sterling silver, don’t rub it too hard, and be careful. These measures will ensure that your rhodium-plated sterling silver’s quality is well-maintained.