The silver rings, ornate candle holder, and silverware will tarnish in time regardless of how carefully you maintain them. Silver should be kept clean regularly to maintain its sheen and prevent severe tarnish from causing it to appear old and even more challenging to clean. Silver doesn’t require the same regular maintenance as commonly used home items such as linens and kitchen appliances.
Your most used rings, necklaces, and other jewelry items might only need a little polishing now and then. But silver that is rarely worn and is kept on display or hidden away in boxes, cabinets, or drawers may need a deeper cleaning.
What Causes the Silver to Tarnish
Usually, tarnish is caused by a chemical reaction between silver and sulfur from the air and light that makes the formation of greyish-black silver sulfide. Silver is susceptible to tarnishing, even the pure ones, especially when exposed to gases with sulfur. Jewelry items, however, maintain their brilliance with constant friction and use.
How Frequent Should Silver be Polished
Cleaning your silver items every quarter is enough to maintain their good appearance. You do not need to put too much effort into polishing silver because no matter how gentle your hands are, they will surely leave fine scratches. There are a lot of commercial cleaning products available in the market, but it is safer for you, your family, and the environment if you use homemade cleaners. Natural cleaners such as baking soda and dish soap are inexpensive and easy to find. Keep on reading to learn how to make your own silver cleaning product.
Natural Ways to Clean Silver
Household Item #1: Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda
One of the well-liked and simple methods for cleaning silver jewelry is by using aluminum foil and baking soda. Now, you can use this straightforward procedure to counteract the effect if your silver jewelry starts to appear yellow or black. You can complete the process with supplies you already have at home without the need to purchase any costly products. This low-cost, simple procedure will clean your jewelry within 3 to 5 minutes even in the worst tarnish conditions.
- Line your bowl with aluminum foil, shiny side facing up. Then boil enough amount of water that can fill the whole bowl or basin. Put a tablespoon of baking soda for each cup of water you put into the bowl, and stir it until the mixture bubbles.
- Place your jewelry in the bowl immediately, making sure that it touches the aluminum foil. This part is necessary for the chemical reaction to happen. Give the solution a 2-5 minute soak.
- If the level of tarnishing is severe, you may keep it in for up to 10 minutes. The jewelry should then be carefully removed, rinsed with cool water, and wiped with a dry cleaning cloth. All done! Prepare yourself to be surprised!
Household Item #2: Lemon and Salt
This technique is often utilized to clean silver antiques, jewelry, and silverware. To use this method, set the tarnished silver item in a dish with three tablespoons of salt, hot water, and lemon juice, and let it sit there for five minutes. Once finished, take it off and gently rub it with a clean cloth. You’ll be able to get rid of the tarnish by doing this.
Note: The tarnish can be removed with the help of a white silver cleaning cloth. Regular cloth requires too much work and does not provide the best outcome.
Household Item #3: Tomato Ketchup
To clean silverware at home, you may also use tomato ketchup. Simply squeeze a little amount of ketchup over the paper towel, then gently apply the tarnished spots with the towel. If your silver still isn’t becoming shinier, let it sit in the ketchup for 15 to 20 minutes, then wipe it off using a soft cloth and rinse it off. Utilize a toothbrush to reach parts between the crevices if you are going to use this method on objects with textured detailing, like candlesticks or elegant cutlery.
Household Item #4: Laundry Detergent
Another classic and well-liked method for removing tarnish is by using laundry detergent. From your laundry area, grab a cup of detergent and add to a dish of hot water then put the silver items in it. Remove it after 5 to 7 minutes, then rub it with a clean towel. A frothy substance is produced when the laundry detergent combines with the water. The nicest part is that it smells wonderful! It removes dirt or grime from jewelry and lifts the tarnished color.
Household Item #5: Toothpaste
One of the simplest DIY silver cleaning techniques is by using toothpaste. Just apply toothpaste in a pea-sized amount onto the jewelry or silverware and massage it in circular motions to shine and remove the tarnish. After five minutes, wipe it with a clean towel and rinse the toothpaste off with water. This effortless method can clean your silver items in no time!
Household Item #6: Vinegar and Baking Soda
Your tarnished silver is only one of the numerous things vinegar, water, and baking soda can be used for. Simply combine 1/2 cup white vinegar and two tablespoons baking soda together in a bowl of warm water. Allow the silver to soak for two to three hours. After hours of waiting, give it a cold water rinse and let it air dry.
Household Item #7: Cornstarch
Silver items can be restored to their original state by using cornstarch and water paste. Massage with a damp towel, allow to dry and then wipe off with a lightly abrasive material like a rough towel or cheesecloth. If you run out of cornstarch, you can use cream of tartar as a replacement.
Household Item #8: Lemon-Lime Soda
If you noticed that your silver jewelry has become matted and tarnished, immerse it in a plastic basin of lemon-lime soda. After the allotted time has passed, remove the silver, thoroughly rinse it with clean water, and then dry it with a soft cloth or paper towel. Only silver items with a minor tarnish will work with this technique.
Household Item #9: Ammonia
This is a simple method for polishing silver jewelry, accessories, and silverware. Prepare a solution with two parts warm water and one part clear ammonia. Your silver items should soak in the mixture for ten minutes. Take everything out of the mixture when the allotted time has passed, wipe them thoroughly with a soft cloth, and then buff the surface with a dry cotton cloth. Ammonia should be used properly when cleaning jewelry, if not, this can damage the item permanently.
Additional Silver Cleaning Tips:
- Think about bringing your priceless jewels or other silverware to a professional. You might not want to DIY that for the first time.
- Dishwashers shouldn’t be used to clean silverware or other silver items. Even though it may be tempting, hand washing is recommended in this instance because washers frequently make tarnish worse.
- Avoid using abrasive products like scouring pads and bristle brushes.
- Never use abrasive cleaning agents like chlorine or bleach.
- Take note of the gems. Depending on how heavily your silver is set with gems, some techniques might not be advised. Avoid using any recipes that call for lemon juice in particular.
- If you keep a little piece of chalk inside the box containing your silverware and jewelry, it will remain shiny for longer. Due to its high absorption capacity, chalk will keep moisture off from your silver. You can use small silica gel packs if you do not have chalk.
- The majority of these techniques make use of bowls. If at all possible, use glass bowls (except when working with hot water). Avoiding causing chemical reactions with other metals, such as stainless steel, is important.
- A few delicate cleaning cloths (microfiber or 100% cotton flannel) are required for each technique. Always keep one or two available.
- After applying perfume, put on jewelry to stop your fragrance from contacting the silver.
How to Maintain Your Silver Items
- Maintaining silver in a regulated environment with humidity levels of about 50% is essential to keeping it shiny. Just be sure to keep it distant from places where it may be subjected to damp conditions as not all of us reside in surroundings where we can manage this.
- To keep it protected from the weather, keep the silver items in soft, tight bags. Use tissue paper made of acid-free or undyed cotton fabric whenever possible. Even if that’s how it was handed to you, storing it with newspaper or rubber bands is not a good idea.
- Simple maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult. A soft cloth should be used to dust your silver occasionally to prevent tarnish. Additionally, whenever you notice it beginning to tarnish (which will differ depending on the item and how pure the silver is; lesser sterling tarnishes more rapidly), just give it a quick wash with some dish soap.