7 tips to efficiently clean your silver pieces

It is highly likely that you have quite a lot of silver jewelry pieces at your home that you didn’t touch for a while. Overwise you wouldn’t be here reading this article. Silver pieces need constant attention in order to keep their perfect silver state. You can buy products for cleaning silver in a specialized store, but this we only recommend for highly tarnished items. I have good news; you might have all the ingredients needed to clean it right in your home. We have made a list of tested methods you can use straight away to make your silver jewelry clean again.

Why silver tarnish?

In case you don’t know what tarnish is, it is that dark-looking layer that makes your jewelry kind of ugly. It forms as a result of a chemical reaction between hydrogen sulfide or sulfur present in the atmosphere and silver. Besides that, jewels and especially silver get tarnish from your body sweat, this is caused by the presence of Sulphur and amino acids it produces.

See Wikipedia if you want to learn more about the process for different metals.

Try any of those methods and see how it goes for you:

Baking Soda and Aluminum Foil

For this, you will need a bowl, 1 layer of aluminum, baking soda and a soft cloth. Add boiling water and baking soda in the bowl that is layered with the foil. Let is stay there for about 3 minutes, rinse it under cool water and then clean it with a soft cloth. The baking soda should be at a ratio of 1 tablespoon for a cop of water, don’t overdo it. For badly damaged silver jewels, you can leave it up for about 10 minutes instead of 3. You can use this method to remove either colored tarnishes or black ones.

Lemon and Salt Bath

This method is only recommended for soft tarnishes. For it you will need to squeeze a lemon into a bowl and then add 3 tablespoons of salt and hot water. Leave it for about 5 minutes, then rinse it in cold water and start cleaning it with a soft cloth. If you see that soft cloth is not doing its work, we recommend buying a silver cleaning cloth as that will be more effective.

Beer

Yes, beer works very well for cleaning silver, one more reason to keep some beer cans in your fridge, just in case 😉. Pour a can/cup of beer in a bowl, add the jewelry and let it there for about 10 minutes. Remove and start rubbing it with a cloth.

Laundry Detergent

Using a laundry detergent is recommended mainly for dark tarnishes. Pour one small cup of detergent into a bowl, add hot water and let the jewelry stay for about 5 minutes. Remove it and start rubbing it. The detergent also works well for removing stains between difficult to access holes in jewelry, this is caused by the interaction of it with hot water.

Banana Peels

This one is my favorite, more reasons to buy bananas at the market. Not only are they packed with vitamins and energy, but their peels can be used to effectively get rid of stains. However, this method will work better for delicate pieces that are not yet hardly tarnished. You will need a blender, some banana peels, water, and a silver cleaning cloth. First, put the peels and some water in the blender and make a paste. Take that paste and start scrubbing with a soft cloth or toothbrush, but a toothbrush is not recommendable as it might leave marks on your silver. Wash it in hot water and dry it with a clean cloth.

Toothpaste

I think this one comes as no surprise for you. Toothpaste can clean quite a lot of things, especially teeth of course, but it can also fight with the unpleasant tarnish on your silver. For it, you will need a toothpaste that is not gel and an old scrubbing toothbrush. The older the better, new ones are sturdier and can leave scratches. The steps are pretty self-explanatory, take the toothpaste, put it on the toothbrush and start scrubbing gently. Leave it for about 5 minutes then rinse it, make sure to not let any leftovers, dry it with a soft cloth.

Ketchup

This is the last method in your arsenal and it is here for a reason, this is the messiest one and also works for easily tarnished objects so it not that recommendable, but at least it will come with some fun. It is said that tomatoes react well with the layers of tarnish, but in my experience, it only removed the lighter stains. So for it you will need to fill a bowl with ketchup, let the silver pieces in it for about 10 minutes, remove them, rinse with hot water and start drying with a cloth.

Tips to prevent tarnishing

  • Use a conditioner, it polishes the silver and protects it.
  • Try not to swim in a chlorinated pool or use ammonia containing products. You can read our article on what solvents not to mix for additional information.
  • Put chalk or rice in the box you store it. Those are good at absorbing humidity and as a result, stop Sulphur from reaching your objects.
  • Clean it regularly, the best prevention is regular cleaning of your silver jewelry.

To conclude, I recommend the baking soda and aluminum method as the most effective one and use the solvents you can find in stores only for hardly tarnished silver. Also, one good investment would be the silver cleaning cloth as it is more effective than a simple soft cloth.

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