Silver jewelry is very beautiful and complements your attire, whether formal or jeans casual. However, silver has a dark side, tarnish. This is a guide about cleaning silver jewelry.
To bring the shine back to tarnished silver jewelry, pour hot water into a mug, add three tablespoons of salt (to make an electrolyte), put in some aluminum tin foil and the tarnished silver jewelry. The tarnish (silver sulfide) will then be liberated and be given off as a gas (rotten eggs smell). Rinse with water to reveal super shiny jewelery.
Source: A jeweler friend.
By monique63 from Somerset, UK
How do I clean a sterling silver chain that has gone black?
Vera Adam from Margate, SA
The tinfoil and baking soda worked like a charm. Thank you
I do outdoor craft shows and love working with beads. I purchased small gift boxes with clear lids about 2 x 3 inches. They look good with one pair of silver plated dangle earrings in each box. They tarnish very quickly and it takes 3 times longer to clean a pair than to make a new pair.
What neutralizes silver oxide (the tarnish on my silver)? I am tired of trying to clean in all the tiny, tiny nooks between the beads. Help please. Thanks.
By Carol from Waynesboro, GA
I also make jewelry. I usually store sterling silver in a zip-bag with a 3M anti-tarnish strip. When I present jewelry in a box, I place the small zip bag with an anti-tarnish strip underneath the "cotton." I make sure I tell the recipient about storing the jewelry long-term in the bag with the strip. The strips don't last forever, and when they feel like it needs to be replaced, they can place a plain piece of chalk in the bag.
I've gotten my anti-tarnish strips at artbeads.com, but I see that they're out at the moment. Riogrande.com sells them in larger quantities, but you need to set up an account to use them (might be worthwhile if you have a sales tax license). Right now they have 1000 1-inch strips for about $40. There are also anti-tarnish zip-bags, and anti-tarnish tissue paper.
Silver jewelry that has become tarnished can be cleaned by soaking it for a few minutes in a mixture of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of baking soda, and then rubbing it with a soft cloth.
By Eileen from Yorktown, VA
How do I clean silver earrings?
No problem, just dip them into silver cleaner. It is very simple. To keep my silver from tarnishing, I wrap them in Saran wrap.
After using household bleach for cleaning I realized my favorite silver ring had been tarnished and I was freaking out! I had the impulse to rub it with salt as it is an alkaline and submerge my ring in salted boiling water. It worked in about 25-30 mins!
I have a silver necklace with opals in silver settings. Is it saft to use the salt, soda, and water with the aluminum foil. Will it damage the opals?
I have some custom made opal jewelry. The artist who made them told me to clean my opal jewelry with baking POWDER (NOT baking soda). Just pour a teaspon of BP into a small bowl, and pinch a dap onto the jewlry the rub around. (I have a baby toothbrush that I use for crevices around the stones) then wipe off and "buff" with dry towel. My one ring is in sterling setting with 24k gold inlay. It also polishes those without damage.
I forgot my silver jewelry in a jar of Connoisseurs Cleaner and it came out all discolored. I found the composition online. It is thiourea, sulfuric acid, and alcohol ethoxylates. Is there any hope to salvage it?
Did you get any help for this? I did the same with a necklace - left too long in "Jeweler's" liquid cleaner. I left it in too long along with decent costume earrings & now my real silver necklace is black and other colors! Help!
I have had a beautiful silver rope necklace for about ten years that has gotten terribly tarnished. I can't remove the tarnish with a chamois cloth because of the intricate rope detail. I've tried Tarn-X and the baking soda/aluminum foil solution to no avail. Does anyone know of an effective way to clean silver jewelry? Every jeweler has told me that they don't do silver.
By Pam in OH
Another thing you can do is buy "coin cleaner" (some coin stores sell it). I don't remember the chemical in it, but it is a blue liquid, very watery. You soak the silver in it for a few seconds, agitate the solution while it's soaking, wash it off, and the tarnish is gone. I have heard that you should not use it on silver plated objects though. I have a sterling rope chain, and that is what I do for it.
My mom and I heard of this cleaning tip a long time ago. Take a cereal bowl and line it with tin foil. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda, place jewelry in the the soda (cover it a bit), and add boiling water. It will bubble some, wait until the bubbles go down and the water cools (15 min to half an hour). Take each piece out, rinse well and lay on a towel to air dry.
By JeanieB from NJ
I used Nair while wearing my brand new sterling silver engagement ring. It tarnished my ring and believe me, I was freaking out. I read tips on here and tried using cigarette ashes.
I left my silver jewelry in silver jewelry cleaner too long and now it's a dull, whitish color. I've tried to use a soft cloth and polish them, trying to bring back the shine, but nothing has helped. Can anyone help?
I work at a silver and native American jewelry store. We use Windex (I've never tried an off brand of glass cleaner), and an old soft toothbrush to get into hard to reach areas. Windex is the ticket!
Can I use denture tablets for cleaning a sterling silver necklace with little diamonds in it that turned black?
With regard to the denture tablets, I suspect they will not remove the tarnish. They are not made for that at all.
Rub on toothpaste and just wash off. This works great for silver jewelry!
Tie a few pieces of blackboard chalk in cheesecloth and store it with your sterling silver jewelry.
How do I clean a silver bracelet containing garnets?
If the bracelet is dirty(not tarnished), soak it in a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of ammonia for 1/2 hour then rinse and air dry. The stones will sparkle. If the bracelet is tarnished, use a pea sized dab of silver polish or white toothpaste (not gel), rub it into the wet bristles of an old soft toothbrush, then use the brush all over the bracelet.
Do not scrub too hard, because if the bracelet is silver plate. it may come off. Rinse and air dry. Do not use either of these methods on opal, pearl or real turquoise jewelry. I have cleaned both good and costume jewelry. The only problem I have ever had was some "jewels" came unglued after soaking. Never had a problem with real stones. Hope this helps.
How can I remove tarnish from silver plate jewelry? The toggles become almost black, and even the sterling silver, too!
By Kathleen from St. Louis , MO
Just get some regular toothpaste and a rag or old toothbrush, and rub the toothpaste on. Then wash it off and dry it. Should be shiny again. (09/03/2010)
Can I use water, baking soda, and vinegar to clean my silver jewelry that is tarnished and smoked damaged from a fire?
By Karen from Douglas, AZ
Wash with diluted, mild dish-washing liquid. Rinse thoroughly. Dry with cotton. Lay flat to air dry overnight. Wrap in jewelers's anti-tarnish tissue. Store in its own airtight plastic bag. Silver jewelry can be immersed in water for cleaning if there are no soft gemstones, pearls, crystals, or silk thread in the piece.
Same advice as with all other jewelry: avoid getting any chemicals, including perfume, hairspray, deodorant spray, body lotion, acetone, bleach, or turpentine, onto your silver jewelry. Store your silver jewelry carefully so it needs less cleaning and doesn't get scratched. Wear your silver jewelry often! The color of silver becomes richer and more beautiful the more it's worn. (04/06/2010)
I am a silversmith and I know that cigarette ashes will clean silver jewelry. I wonder if the actual ashes from the fire would also clean the jewelry? Also, you could try toothpaste. But rinse the jewelry really good to prevent the paste from getting hard and discoloring the piece. Try it. (04/06/2010)
Try the white toothpaste with peroxide or whitener and baking soda in it. Not the gel kind. Get an old toothbrush scrub clean and rinse well. This is good for all types of jewelry. (04/08/2010)
Shining Silver: You remember years ago those commercials for the silver cleaning plates? I had bought one and through the years it has gotten misplaced. I loved it because it cleaned the tarnish off of silver easily with no chemicals and not a lot of rubbing.
There is a way that you can make your own with items that you have in the kitchen. Grab a large glass baking dish. Place a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the bottom in the pan. Wash all of your silver items and place on the foil in the pan. Heat 1 quart of water to boiling. Add 1/4 cup of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. Pour into the pan with your silver items and cover for a minute.
Now when you pull your items out most or all of the tarnish will be gone. (Careful! they may be HOT!) For larger items you may need to turn them several times to cover all sides.
What is the best way to clean silver jewelry?
By RRomano from Houston, TX
Toothpaste, but not the gel kind. It works great on anything silver. Place the toothpaste on a soft cloth or cotton and rub away the tarnish. (07/18/2009)
I sell silver jewelry. I use a silver polishing cloth and sometimes silver polish. (07/19/2009)