It can be pretty annoying when your favorite piece of jewelry tarnishes and loses its luster after long periods of wearing or storing it. Especially when you were looking forward to sporting it to a special event, oh, the disappointment!
But, don’t lose heart! I’m here to teach you easy ways on how to clean silver jewelry at home, using stuff you may already have available! I also included some tips on how to prevent tarnishing so read on and let’s get polishing!
1. What Can Cause Silver To Tarnish?
In order to find a good solution, we must first understand the problem. So, tarnishing: why and how does it happen?
First of all, the most common type of silver in jewelry, sterling silver, is made with other metal alloys like copper. Copper is mixed with silver to make it more durable and strong. Tarnishing is actually due to the reaction of copper with sulfur in the air.
Here are other factors that can cause tarnishing of silver:
- Harsh chemical compounds like nitric and sulfur dioxide.
- High levels of pollution
- High levels of humidity
- Contact with makeup and other cosmetic products due to metallic abrasion
- Ocean or sea water
- Exposure to rainwater or prolonged soaking in a bath, shower, or swimming pool
- Photographic chemicals
- Certain cleaning agents
- Changes in body chemistry
- Contact with body fluids like sweat and fatty acids
- Heavy antibiotic use
- Low silver content and quality of silver jewelry
2. How Do You Keep Silver From Tarnishing?
Aside from avoiding the mentioned causes of tarnish in silver, here are a few more tips in order to prevent your loved jewelry from tarnishing:
- Store your jewelry in a clean, dry, and airtight container. Lock and lock, Tupperware, and Ziploc bags work pretty well.
- Add an anti-tarnish strip or a piece of chalk in a container where you keep your jewelry. These absorb elements that cause tarnishing.
- Do not leave wet jewelry in the bathroom without protection.
- Do not wear jewelry in the shower, hot tub, or swimming pool. The moisture and humidity here attract tarnishing.
- Minimize your jewelry’s contact with perfume, body lotion, makeup, hairspray, and other cosmetic products.
- Clean your jewelry often and immediately after taking it off.
- Use a soft, dry cloth or a real polishing cloth to wipe your jewelry before storing it.
- Finally, the general jewelry rule of thumb: Put on your jewelry last before leaving your door, and remove it first upon returning home.
- How To Clean Silver Jewelry At Home
Many books and websites online promote many products, potions, and normal everyday things as what cleans silver. I’ve also given you some tips on how to prevent silver from tarnishing. But what do you do when your jewelry is already old and tarnished?
Here are seven simple methods on how to remove tarnish from silver:
1. Baking Soda, Boiling Water, And Aluminum Foil
This money-saving hack comes from Linda Cobb, also known as the Queen of Clean.
Step 1. To do this, the first thing you need to do is to line the bottom of your sink with aluminum foil. If your sink is made of stainless steel, use a glass bowl instead.
Step 2. Then, pour boiling water into the sink or bowl.
Step 3. Next, sprinkle in about three tablespoons of baking soda.
Step 4. Soak your silver jewelry and pieces in the water for at least 10 minutes.
Step 5. Wash, rinse, and buff them with a soft cloth, and you’re done! Your jewelry should be just like new!
If you have no baking soda, you can also use laundry detergent with this method. For stubborn tarnish that persists, make a thick paste and rub it onto silverware or jewelry with a damp sponge before rinsing and drying.
2. Using a Commercial Cleaning Solution
If you already have a jewelry cleaning solution, why not use it, right? Here’s how:
Step 1. Dip and soak your jewelry in the cleaning solution and soak for about a minute or two.
Step 2. Rinse your jewelry with warm water.
Step 3. Using a soft piece of cloth, blot your jewelry dry as gently as you can. This should also polish the pieces.
If you don’t have the cleaning solution at home you can buy @Amazon
3. Ketchup Or Toothpaste
Surprisingly, these two common household gels have more use than just flavoring food or cleaning your teeth. They can also remove tarnish from silver!
Step 1. For tarnished silver, squirt on a small amount of ketchup on a paper towel and rub this gently against the tarnished parts.
Step 2. If this does not work, let the ketchup sit for about 15 minutes before rubbing it.
Step 3. Then, use a soft cloth to remove the ketchup and rinse your silver pieces clean. You can also use an old toothbrush for cleaning between small textured details.
Step 4. Apply a small amount of toothpaste on a rag or paper towel. Use this to rub and polish silver. Rinse it off and notice how your jewelry shines!
4. Cornstarch Or Cream Of Tartar
Another eco-friendly and cheap way to clean your silver jewelry is by using cornstarch or cream of tartar. Here’s how:
Step 1. Create a paste with cornstarch or cream of tartar and a little water.
Step 2. Apply this on your silverware and silver pieces with a damp cloth.
Step 3. Let the paste dry.
Step 4. Rub off the dried paste with a mildly abrasive towel or rough cheesecloth.
5. White Vinegar And Baking Soda
Get back the shine and luster of your favorite jewelry with this homemade silver cleaner!
Step 1. Mix half a cup of white vinegar with 2 tablespoons of baking soda.
Step 2. Soak your jewelry in this solution for two to three hours.
Step 3. Rinse your jewelry under cold water.
Step 4. Dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.
6. Lemon Juice And Salt
Another cheap and easy cleaner for your silver pieces is a solution with lemon juice and salt.
Step 1. Mix a tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 ½ cup of water, and ½ cup of powdered instant dry milk.
Step 2. Soak your silver in the mixture overnight.
Step 3. Rinse and dry.
7. Window Cleaner
Step 1. Spray any window cleaner solution on a toothbrush or a rag.
Step 2. Use this to scrub your Sterling gently.
Step 3. Wipe off the solution from the silver and dry it thoroughly.
That’s it! Tarnished silver should not steal your shine from you. There are many easy, non-expensive ways to clean it and keep it that way. What method worked best for you? Don’t forget to share this with your silver-loving friends!
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