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 Monique from Somerset, UK

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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.

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I once heard that monosodium glutamate (MSG) can be used to clean and shine any pure stainless metal, like gold and silver.

Cleaning Silver with MSG - silver

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January 30, 2014

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.

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July 24, 2012

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!

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July 9, 2015

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!

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Tie a few pieces of blackboard chalk in cheesecloth and store it with your sterling silver jewelry.

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27 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 9, 2015

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?


October 24, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

Yes, Opals are porous and can easily crack; they require oil like Olive Oil gently wiped over to keep it's luster and protection. Never wear opal jewelry in dishwater or other harsh detergents and frequently wipe over with soft oiled cloth.

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July 20, 20161 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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May 19, 2000

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


By Erina (Guest Post)
August 29, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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By Frank (Guest Post)
February 2, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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October 11, 2010

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


July 19, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

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

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October 11, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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, but I see that they're out at the moment. 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.

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August 22, 2011

How do I clean silver earrings?

By Scott


August 25, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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

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August 25, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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July 16, 2015

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?


July 16, 20150 found this helpful

If the bracelet was plated in silver it may have removed this. Try rubbing the chain together to see if that brightens them up. If it does then you may not have lost the finish. I like the tbsp. baking soda in an aluminum foil pan with boiling water added. Set jewellery in there and leave it until the water is cool. Or use a glass dish and a hand sized piece of foil.

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September 10, 2018

How do I clean silver rings with diamonds and gemstones in them that were in a house fire?

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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?

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August 24, 2015

Can I use denture tablets for cleaning a sterling silver necklace with little diamonds in it that turned black?


August 26, 20150 found this helpful

With regard to the denture tablets, I suspect they will not remove the tarnish. They are not made for that at all.

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January 31, 2012

How do I clean a silver bracelet containing garnets?

By Judy


February 2, 20120 found this helpful

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.

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January 16, 2014

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

By Haydar

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