Daily Wire Tip May 20: Should I Use WD-40 to Prevent Tarnishing?

By on May 20, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
May 20, 2010

Question:

There is an email circulating which claims that WD-40 will keep silver from tarnishing.  Is that true?  If so, how is it used to stop the tarnish?

Answer:

As WD-40 is a non-volatile, viscous oil that remains on whatever surface it is applied to, so using it to coat your wire jewelry with will prevent corrosion/tarnish, however it will also be transferred to whatever the person wearing the jewelry has on for clothing, their skin, etc. Therefore although it does the job, personally I would never use this product on jewelry of any type! The only true way to semi-permanently prevent tarnish on sterling silver is to have it professionally plated with rhodium (I say semi-permanent because if the plating is thin, it will eventually wear off with the continued wear of a jewelry item, and the underlying base for the plating process is nickel, and if you incorporate stones, beads pearls, etc into your work, these items cannot be present during the plating process, making the plating process impractical for handcrafted wire jewelry items). Sterling silver jewelry does tarnish, as it has throughout the ages. If anyone really wants an affordable silver product that will not develop a black patina, use argentium. Wire-Sculpture has a nice selection of argentium wire found here: Argentium Wire

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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6 Comments

  1. avatar

    JACKIE

    May 20, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I believe if you store your sterling silver in Pacific cloth bags, it helps to keep it from tarnishing. The cloth is expensive but I think it is well worth it.

  2. avatar

    Christine

    May 20, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    If people store their silver in Anti-corrosion products like the jewelry boxes with the treated liners and as wire with the packets of anti-corrision there is not nearly as much of an issue. My jewelry box does a wonderful job!

  3. avatar

    Diane Green

    May 20, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    A piece of chalk helps, or those little bags you get in packaging, containing moisture collecting crystals,

  4. avatar

    Lila

    May 21, 2010 at 11:01 am

    FYI – Argentium DOES tarnish, eventually. There is copper in it, just a smaller amount.
    I use the little gel packs that come in vitamin bottles to keep the jewelry from tarnishing. One with every piece. Works well.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      May 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm

      Yes Lila, but argentium does not tarnish black! Rather it turns a pale blonde color, which is so light that it can be rubbed off with a piece of clean t-shirt. I have been using argentium since it first became available in 2005.

  5. avatar

    Alex Netherton

    May 21, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    I have begun using Argentium almost exclusively, and I love the stuff!

    WD40 also stinks, and the stuff is a petroleum distillate, thus can be harmful to the skin.

    Nothing will stop sterling from tarnishing, except to use Argentium, which IS INDEED Sterling, just with a different name and slight difference in the alloy. Amazing stuff!

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