If you’re reading this article, my best guess I that you own a piece of 925 sterling silver Jewelry or a silver artifact. Silver is a precious material and is common as jewelry, gifts, Judaica and other special artifacts. The silver has been around since the beginning of time. Sometimes, it was regarded as just another metal, but over the years, it has reached a high status and is now regarded as precious and beautiful.
Silver tends to tarnish, which can create a black or yellow look on the otherwise shiny metal.
To keep that spark and shine, make sure to gently clean your jewelry after wearing it, and place it in a closed space, where it won’t be exposed to oxygen, humidity and other elements.
In a quick survey I did amongst my friends, I’ve heard dozens of tips and tricks to clean silver jewelry. In this comprehensive guide, I’ve collected some of the most common and easy methods for cleaning silver items.
Perhaps the most common way to clean silver, is using a pre-treated silver polishing cloth. Silver polishing cloths are often used by silversmiths and jewelers, along with store owners and collectors, to keep their display beautiful and shining at all times. The pre-treated cloths have tarnish-removing particles integrated in the fabric, and are anti-scratch to ensure a smooth surface. If you’re using a pre-treated cloth, make sure to carefully follow its cleaning instructions, since it cannot be laundered.
If you choose a non-treated cloth, make sure you use a soft and clean-surfaced cloth when using other methods.
To clean small details and dents, insert a Q-tip with a sliver of polishing material, and watch the silver rejuvenate and shine.
If you take a stroll down the cleaning aisle at your local supermarket, you will find an array of silver polishing products. We strongly recommend trying new products on hidden and discrete locations, to ensure that the silver isn’t damaged by the product. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for recommendations of their favorite silver polishing product- experience doesn’t lie!
If chemicals bother you, or you simply want to save money, try one of the many natural silver cleaning remedies out there.
White Vinegar / Baking Soda for Heavy Tarnish
½ cup white vinegar
2 tbsp. baking soda
If your jewelry or artifact has been sitting outside for a while, exposed to oxygen and humidity, you must have noticed it is covered with a heavy coat of tarnish. To remove the tarnish, and allow for a deeper cleanse, immerse the tarnished piece in this wonderous remedy for a few hours, rinse, and let it dry before proceeding to a gentle cleaning method.
Baking Soda / Water / Aluminum Foil / Salt
Large pan / kitchen sink
2 tbsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. salt
This method is really cool, as it utilizes a unique chemical reaction, and cleans your silver at the same time! To clean the silver with this method, simply line the pan or sink with foil (shining side facing you), place the silver on top, pour boiling water (until covered), and add the baking soda and salt to the fun. Wait for the baking soda to dissolve, while continuously stirring the mixture, and about 7 minutes later – voila! The tarnish is gone!
Make sure to remove the silver using tongs or tweezers, because the chemical reaction can cause your hands to itch. Upon removal, allow the items to dry, and gently buff them with a soft cloth.
Traditional Soap & Water
Soap (ammonia-free, phosphate free)
You know that sinking feeling when you’re at an event, and suddenly realize your silver is tarnished and raggedy-looking? No fear! Use a combination of simple dishwashing soap and warm water, soak the silver for a few minutes, and wipe it with a clean cloth napkin.
Unconventional Toothpaste Method
Surely you’ve heard about this method, but weren’t sure if it was a myth or not. Well, it isn’t! the toothpaste method is REAL, but requires extra caution. To use this method, find a non-whitening, non-gel toothpaste, and gently rub it into your silver with a soft (new!) toothbrush. After applying the toothpaste to the entire piece, rinse it with warm water, and dry with a clean cloth.
Expert tip: Use a combination of baking soda and warm water instead of toothpaste, for a safer, more natural solution!
Whether you choose a conventional method or an unconventional one, make sure to clean your silver on a regular basis, and retain its natural beauty and shine!
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