For everyday silver jewelry, a bowl of warm water and some mild dish soap can do the trick. Alternatively, there are disposable and reusable silver cleaning cloths that are infused with cleaner and polish in one and make clean up easy.
Keep in mind that these DIY methods won’t keep your silver tarnish-free forever and may damage delicate items. Consider using them for emergency spruce-ups.
Baking soda is a cheap household item with many uses, from soothing upset stomachs to keeping teeth white. It can also be used to clean silver items, as it has a mildly abrasive effect that can remove tarnish.
To use baking soda as a silver jewlery cleaner, first wrap each piece of jewellery in aluminum foil and place it in a container large enough to hold all of the silver pieces (such as a large bowl or pot/pan). Add some boiling water, then add baking soda until the solution is thick enough to be rubbed on the silver.
Allow the baking soda to work for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cool water and polish until shiny. This method works best for smaller items such as earrings, bracelets and rings. Larger pieces may require longer soaking times.
If silver jewelry or serving utensils start to look dull, a simple solution of lemon juice and baking soda can restore their shine. It’s inexpensive and natural, plus it works just as well as commercial cleaners.
Lemons are rich in vitamin C and contain phenolic compounds such as limonene and eriocitrin. These are known to have strong anti-cancer properties and are also good for the immune system.
To make your own natural silver cleaner, combine one tablespoon of lemon juice with half a cup of instant dry milk and place your silver items in the mixture to soak overnight. The lemon will break down the oxidation, making the pieces shiny again. This method is best for hard metals such as sterling silver, but avoid using it on softer stones like pearls and diamonds.
Silver jewelry cleaners are available in a variety of forms, including jars that you dip your pieces into. A homemade solution of vinegar and baking soda is also a good choice. You can find these cleaners at most grocery stores or hardware stores.
The mild abrasives in toothpaste can help remove tarnish from your silver jewelry. Put a dab of white paste toothpaste (not gel) on your finger or a soft cloth and rub the tarnished silver gently. Rinse and buff dry with a clean cloth.
This trick is a quick and easy way to get your silver shiny again. However, be careful not to use it on gemstones like pearls or opals. The toothpaste could scratch or erode the stones. Avoid using this hack on plated silver as well.
If you are looking for a quick, mess-free and chemical-free way to clean silver jewellery, vinegar is a great option. Combine a few drops of lemon juice and olive oil, dip a cloth in the solution and gently rub to remove tarnish from your jewellery. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry with a soft cloth or microfiber towel.
In addition to cleaning your jewelry, you can also prevent it from tarnishing by storing it properly. Keep your pieces in soft anti-tarnish bags, and place a piece of chalk or silica gel inside the bag to absorb any moisture that may discolour your jewellery. Also, don’t wear silver jewellery when doing household chores, washing dishes or swimming. The excess friction can cause it to tarnish faster.
Silver is a soft and delicate metal that can be easily damaged. Often, it is mixed with other metals to make it sturdy enough for jewelry making; this combination is called sterling silver.
Whether your silver jewelry is pure or silver-plated, it will tarnish and lose its sparkle over time. Tarnishing is most rapid in areas of high humidity and air pollution. Chemicals found in cosmetics, perfumes, hairspray, hand soaps and sanitizers can also accelerate the process.
To clean your silver jewelry, line a container with aluminum foil with the shiny side facing up and add boiling water and baking soda (bicarbonate of soda, for you Brits). The salt and baking soda act as electrolytes to improve the ease with which electrons transfer between silver and aluminum foil.