The first thing you need to realize is that tarnish is typically caused by things that we do or wear. Perfume, lotions, sweaty skin and hair products can all cause your jewelry to begin to tarnish. If you take your jewelry off without wiping off the residue from these things, you are contributing to the tarnish. When you add the fact that most people leave their sterling silver jewelry sitting out, exposed to the air most of the time, tarnish becomes inevitable.
For this reason, you need to start to change your habits when putting on and removing jewelry. Before you put any jewelry on, you should make sure your lotion and perfume has soaked into your skin and all hair products, especially hairspray, should be applied. When you are removing your silver jewelry, you should take a few seconds to wipe it off with a soft cloth such as an old t-shirt or flannel shirt.
Once you wipe your jewelry clean, you should store it in an airtight container, such as a zip lock baggie, a cloth bag or an airtight jewelry box. The less air and light your silver is exposed to when you aren’t wearing it, the less tarnished it will become.
If your sterling silver jewelry begins to show signs of tarnish, simply wipe it clean with a silver cloth. Most cloths come in two parts: a cleaning cloth and a polishing cloth. It is a soft cloth that should clean your jewelry with just a couple of wipes if the tarnish has not gotten too bad.
With just a few preventative measures, you can easily keep your sterling silver jewelry from becoming tarnished. Taking time to keep it clean after wearing it and storing it away from light and air is all you need to do to cut down on tarnish significantly and keep you from spending hours trying to get badly tarnished silver clean. The few seconds it takes to wipe it clean are well worth it in the end.