Can I Wear Sterling Silver in the Shower?

can i wear sterling silver in the shower

Many of our customers tell us that they don’t take their jewellery off when they shower. It’s not something that we recommend, with any jewellery. But, is it so wrong to wear sterling silver in the shower and, if it is not good for it, why not?

Can I Wear Sterling Silver in the Shower?

Lady washing hands and rings and the discussion on Coronavirus the importance of cleaning your jewellery.
Beautifully manicured women’s hands covered in rings being washed outside under free flowing water

Whist showering won’t out and out damage your silver jewellery (unless it’s marcasite silver, when there is a good chance it will damage it), there are a number of reasons we advise people to remove their jewellery (and watches) when bathing.  

The Chemicals

First of all, tap water contains chemicals, such as chlorine, salts and other chemicals. The level of these chemicals is not anywhere near as high as in swimming pools, but there are still chemicals present in the water.

Whilst some metals, like gold, very rarely react with other chemicals, silver does. It’s not that the water will harm silver, as it won’t, but silver does react with other chemicals, even if it is mild.

As you may know, simply leaving silver jewellery on the side will cause a chemical reaction to occur with the air. The reaction occurs on the surface of the silver and a layer of tarnish will appear, giving a blackened surface to the silver jewellery.

This is completely normal and is easily removed with a silver jewellery cleaning cloth. 

Increasing Tarnish on Your Silver Jewellery

Wearing your silver jewellery in the shower can accelerate silver tarnish as it comes in contact with chemicals in the water.

Leaving the Jewellery Wet or Damp

Leaving the jewellery wet or damp, particularly in little crevices of the jewellery will also cause it to tarnish. 

Soaps and Chemical Residue

Using soaps, shampoos and conditioners which all contain different chemicals may react with the metal alloys in the silver – remember with 925 sterling silver the item will be 92.5% pure silver and the rest is made of alloys, often copper. We talk about this in our blog here.

Mild soap is fine on sterling silver and it’s very important to keep your jewellery scrupulously clean, particularly rings, but some harsh chemicals are not and we don’t think it’s a risk that taking ten seconds to remove your jewellery before showering avoids. 

Person washing their hands at the sink with running water
Washing hands with soap

As we’ve described before about the importance of removing your jewellery every day, soaps and other products, creams and lotions that you may put on your skin after showering are also going to be applied to your jewellery as you rub the lotions on your body. This won’t be doing any favours in keeping your silver clean and looking good.

Residue left in or around the jewellery when you wear sterling silver in the shower, including skin chemicals if you have slept in your jewellery, will attract particles of dirt and dust and will definitely cause the item to become dirtier easier and quicker than if the piece were removed before showering and then popped back on after your have dried and finished dressing. 

Gemstones will have a layer of soap on them and this will dull the light shining through the stones.

The Heat of the Water

The heat of the shower or bath will cause metals to expand, including your silver jewellery. If you have claws or other settings in your jewellery holding precious stones in place, showering or bathing may compromise those settings, by warming and cooling the metal repeatedly.

Loose stones can easily get lost and, in a shower, there’s only one place for dislodged parts of your jewellery to go … down the plug hole! . 

Perfume is a Big No-Go!

Perfume, applied after a shower, can be one of the most damaging products to use on your jewellery and we strongly advise you sticking to the old adage, “jewellery should be the first thing you remove in the evening and the last thing you put on in the morning”. 

silver and enamel pendant for blog can I wear sterling silver jewellery in the shower

Build the Habit of Removing Your Jewellery

We suggest getting into the habit of removing your jewellery when you come home of an evening and leaving somewhere safe until you can pop it back on the following day. 

Hot Tubs

The advice about not wearing your silver jewellery in the shower applies even more so to wearing it in the Hot Tub – which will contain many precious metal in levels that may cause your jewellery to tarnish. 

Swimming Pools

Under no circumstances should you wear your silver jewellery in the swimming pool. This is because they are containers for a strong solution of chemicals.

We’ve seen some incredibly damaged pieces of silver – particularly Pandora bracelets – after customers have worn them in the swimming pool.

To Sum Up …

Whilst you can clean silver jewellery with warm warm and mild detergent, please remove your jewellery before showering.

The combination of heat, chemicals in the water and products we all bathe with, as well as leaving jewellery damp and then putting products including perfume on the silver will not benefit our silver jewellery at all but could well cause tarnishing or worse.

Make it a habit to remove your jewellery when you come home each evening and certainly before you shower or bath. It’s a habit worth building as your beautiful jewellery with thank you for it. 

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