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Cleaning Silver Jewelry

Coiled silver bead necklace with large silver ball.

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.

     

Solutions

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Polishing Tarnished Jewelry

To bring the shine back to tarnished silver jewlery, 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 jewelery. 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

Tip: Homemade Silver Polish

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

Tip: Keep Silver Jewelry from Tarnishing

Tie a few pieces of blackboard chalk in cheesecloth and store it with your sterling silver jewelry. The chalk is a great moisture absorber and that is what will keep the jewelry from tarnishing.

By Dorothy from New Creek, WV

Tip: Windex to Polish Jewelry

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.

Using the hot water/salt method mentioned in today's article (or powered tide with no bleach which is what I recommend), so long as you also let the jewelry air dry. Oxygen and humidity is what causes the tarnish in the first place!

Aluminum foil method is very good for heavily oxidized pieces without delicate or loose stones. If the piece still needs some love use the toothbrush with the tide to "detail". If it just needs to be brightened or has pearl or other delicate stones, Windex is the ticket! If the piece is still not shiny enough for you, finish with a polishing cloth. Lastly, keep your sterling silver in zip lock bags when not being worn or used (air = tarnish).

Source: Mom and Pop jewelry store I work at!

By rawkchick from Dallas

Tip: Baking Soda to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry

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

Tip: Taking Tarnish Off Silver

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 just dampened the ashes and rubbed them on the ring with my finger. It worked like a charm. It was simple, free, and my fiance never has to know! Lol. Thank you so much. I hope this helps someone else.

By

Tip: Toothpaste for Silver Jewelry

Rub on toothpaste and just wash off. This works great for silver jewelry!

By Peggy B. from Philadelphia, PA

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Questions

Here are questions related to Cleaning Silver Jewelry.

Question: Cleaning a Silver Bracelet

Does anyone know how to clean a silver bracelet that went in a swimming pool? Thanks.

By Kathy from Charleston


Best Answers

08/18/2010

If it is silver plated it is ruined but if it is sterling silver you can get that stain off with Cream of Tartar and lemon juice. Cream of tartar is a white powder you can find at the grocery store in the spice rack. Lemon concentrate works if you don't want to buy a lemon. Take a few drops of the juice and about an eighth of a tsp of cream of tartar, then just rub on the silver with this mixture and your fingers. It takes a little time but it always works with no scratching of the silver surface. Add lemon juice and cream of tartar as needed to keep a workable amount going. Good luck.


Best Answers

By cettina [74]08/15/2010

I think a jeweler is your best bet. Cleaning with toothpaste and such is fine for dirt, but you probably have affected the bracelet in some way with the chlorine from the swimming pool.


Best Answers

By anne [10]08/13/2010

Try toothpaste, that's what I clean my silver jewelry with.


Best Answers

By jean (Guest Post)08/19/2008

I had the same experince with a bracelet that I wore swimming in the pool. I bought a jar of silver polishing cream, and put the bracelet in the jar, burying it in the cream. Left it in for 2 days, took it out and rinsed the cream off, and polished it. The really shiny finish was gone, stripped off by the chlorine, but the matte finish I wound up with meant thatI could wear the bracelet again.

Question: Removing Tarnish from Silver Jewelry

I want to know the acid used on silver jewelry for whitening? Thanks.

By Haydar

Question: Betadine Changed Color of Silver Bracelet

I have a sterling silver bracelet that I wore when washing my hands with Betadine scrub, it has now gone light gold! Can anyone please tell me how to fix it? Thank you.

By Stephanie

Question: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

Does Totally Awesome clean silver necklaces? If it does how do you use it for this purpose?

By Lavii D.

Question: Cleaning a Silver and Garnet Bracelet

How do I clean a silver bracelet containing garnets?

By Judy


Most Recent Answer

By jean leiner02/02/2012

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.

Question: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

How do I clean silver earrings?

By Scott


Best Answers

By Elaine D.08/25/2011

No problem, just dip them into silver cleaner. It is very simple. To keep my silver from tarnishing, I wrap them in Saran wrap.


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By anne08/25/2011

Soak in half ammonia and half water. Then scrub with old toothbrush and dish soap.

Question: Bleach Discolored My Silver Bracelet

Can you help me please? I dropped my silver bracelet in bleach and it has gone grey.

Thank you.

By Ian


Best Answers

By Susan07/12/2011

The same thing just happened to me last week while I was cleaning and thought I damaged my rings from having my hands in bleach water. I did the same thing, I first scrubbed the heck out of the rings with a toothbrush and then remembered that I had a silver cleaning cloth and rubbed them until they were all cleaned up and shiny. :)


Best Answers

By Barbara [4]07/07/2011

I use cigarette ashes on mine. Just take a damp cloth and dip it in the ashes and rub it in very easy. Then rinse the ashes off. I have been doing this for a lot of years, and never had a problem. Hope this will help you.
roadrouser


Best Answers

By Janice C. [18]07/06/2011

Please don't use toothpaste on your jewelry. I know it sounds like a good, economical thing to do, but toothpaste is abrasive. It will scratch the surface and your jewelry will never be pretty and shiny again. Use professional jewelry cleaner. It's not expensive and a jar lasts forever.

Also don't use toothpaste on dentures. It will scratch them too.

Bleach is corrosive to metal and I don't think your silver bracelet will ever look like new again. You might try clear nail polish on it to give it some luster. I'm sorry this happened to your bracelet.


Best Answers

By Brandy J. [3]07/03/2011

Over the years when a piece of my silver jewelry has gotten forgotten in the depths of my jewelry box, it will tarnish on its own due to normal oxidation. I have found the best cleaner for that is toothpaste. I just put a dab on the item and rub it in real good. For the more intricate designed pieces I use an old toothbrush to get in those crevices. Then rinse in clear water. Plain toothpaste is best but whatever the newer kinds with whiteners and such will work too.

Question: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

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


Best Answers

By Lisa10/11/2010

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.


Best Answers

By Janet07/19/2009

I sell silver jewelry. I use a silver polishing cloth & sometimes silver polish.

Question: Cleaning a Silver Chain

How do I clean a sterling silver chain that has gone black?

Vera Adam from Margate, SA


Best Answers

By WiggieMac (Guest Post)12/07/2008

The tinfoil and baking soda worked like a charm. Thank you


Best Answers

By Marta (Guest Post)03/29/2007

I always use toothpaste, not the gel kind.


Best Answers

By Cindy02/20/2007

I bought a bottle of Tarnex years ago and use it to clean all of my sterling silver including jewelry. One bottle will last a really long time. It smells a little while the tarnish is dissolving but it works in practically an instant.


Best Answers

By sandy02/20/2007

I use a rouge cloth on it. I also bought a gray and white cloth pretty much the same idea as a rouge cloth. Anytime I wear a chain I just run it thru the cloth several times. Lovely.

Question: Tarnished Silver Rope

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


Best Answers

By Frank (Guest Post)02/02/2008

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.


Best Answers

By Erina (Guest Post)08/29/2007

Clean the tarnish off silver objects
Materials: (tarnished silver, a pan or dish large enough to completely immerse the silver, aluminum foil to cover the bottom of the pan, boiling water, baking soda)

Line the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil or use a disposable aluminum pan.
Place silver object on top of the aluminum, making sure the silver touches the aluminum.
Pour boiling water into the pan until the object is completely covered.
Add about baking soda. (about 1/4 cup per liter or 1 cup per gallon of water).
What will happen?

As you add the baking soda, the mixture may froth a bit and may spill over. The tarnish will begin to disappear quickly. For badly tarnished silver, you may need to repeat the experiment a 2nd time to remove all traces of tarnish.

Archives

Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

I'm looking for a cheap and simple way to clean my jewelry (mostly silver). Does anyone have any brilliant ideas?

Delisha from London, England


RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

Regular tooth paste (not gel) is great at cleaning up light tarnish very quickly, just rub it in and polish with a soft cloth! (06/06/2006)

By camo_angels

RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

Soaking in white vinegar works pretty good too. I like using the toothpaste on CZ gently using a soft toothbrush. (06/07/2006)

By PeggyLee

RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

You can buy a rouge (sp? sounds like the stuff you put on cheeks to make them redder) cloth. Mine cost $4 from a jewelers store. All you do is rub the cloth on the silver and it polishes up right away! (06/07/2006)

By kathykl

RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

Place some bicarbonate of soda and aluminum foil in a bowl of warm water and immerse for a few minutes. Will work for silver jewelery but I'm not sure for other metals or gems. Cleans all my silverware wonderfully and cheaply. The silver must touch the aluminum foil for the reaction to occur. (06/07/2006)

By K from Oz

RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

The best thing I have found for cleaning silver jewelry is the alcohol you have in your medicine cabinet. If you wear glasses and have a cloth to clean them, they would help along with the alcohol. No need to soak the jewelry unless they are very dirty. Give it a try I think you will be surprised at how easy and clean it will get your jewelry. (06/07/2006)

By JILLSAVES

Archive: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

I am trying to clean sliver jewelry at home. Is there anything I can use?

RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

How to Make Your Own Silver-Cleaning Cloths

Note: These cloths are not for taking off total tarnish, they are just to use for shining up the silver when it doesn't look quite right.

Tip: Always wear rubber gloves when mixing the cloths in the solution.

  • First, take small, cut squares of lint-free cotton (use an old t-shirt) and saturate cloths in a solution of two parts ammonia, one part silver polish, and ten parts of cold water.
  • Pull the cloths out of the mix and let them air dry. Never dry them in the dryer because of the ammonia.
  • Once they are totally dry, store them in an airtight container like an old coffee can. Use them whenever you need to polish silver.

For more information, these tips came from the website below. http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/lv_household_tips/article/0,2041,DIY_14119_4774678,00.html (09/13/2006)

By Cyinda

RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

Instant Silver Cleaner (no polishing)
  1. In a large bowl (large enough to fit all of the silver you may have), lay down strips of aluminum foil in the bottom of the bowl shiny side up.
  2. Place silver cutlery in the bowl on top of the aluminum foil strips. The silver must come in contact with the aluminum foil.
  3. Pour boiling water onto the cutlery and cover with water. Then sprinkle three tablespoons of baking soda over the silver.
  4. Soak this for ten minutes, rinse well with water and dry.

Note: This only works for real silver. Don't use it for hollow handled knives or glued pieces of silver. This will also work on silver jewelry. Do this when your silver is heavily soiled. You do not want to do this on a regular basis. Do "not" use this method to clean silver jewelry with stones.

For more information, these tips came from the website below. http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/lv_household_tips/article/0,2041,DIY_14119_4774678,00.html (09/13/2006)

By Cyinda

RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

The best thing in this case may be to get a container of liquid silver cleaner from the jewelry department at Wal - oops are we allowed to name stores? Anyway it practically lasts forever (for small items like jewelry) and works very fast and there won't be a chance that it's harmful to the silver. Editor's Note: Yes, you can name stores. (09/13/2006)

By Lily May

RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

Use toothpaste, not gel, works on anything silver. (09/14/2006)

By N. Silvers

RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

This site says rubber corrodes silver so I wouldn't recommend using rubber gloves. http://www.doityourself.com/stry/silver (11/04/2007)

By Jessica

RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

You can use either toothpaste or baking soda. Clean it with a tooth brush. Rinse it thoroughly and be sure you dry it completely afterward. (03/07/2008)

By skbeal

RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

The best silver cleaner I have found is a liquid silver cleaner called Silvermate. I have used it for years and it is non-hazardous and very easy to use. If you don't like scrubbing or polishing, try it. (04/15/2009)

By Chef Marcus

Archive: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

What is the best way to clean silver jewelry?

By RRomano from Houston, TX


RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

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)

By Deeli

RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

I sell silver jewelry. I use a silver polishing cloth and sometimes silver polish. (07/19/2009)

By mulberry204

Archive: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

Can I use water, baking soda, and vinegar to clean my silver jewelry that is tarnished and smoked damaged from a fire?

Read More...

Archive: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

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


RE: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

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)

By laramay