How to Clean Silver: 12 DIY Hacks To Clean Your Silver Jewellery At Home

You love your silver jewellery and you know it to be precious, rare and beautiful. But from time to time you will find that its sheen is lost due to tarnishing or oxidization. If you do not clean tarnished silver, your cherished silver collection is likely to end up forgotten in a box or a shelf, never to be redeemed again. It doesn’t have to meet that sad fate.

If you find yourself wondering how to clean silver jewellery, we bring you a detailed guide on everything you need to know about how to clean silver jewellery at home with easy remedies, so you can keep it looking sparkly, glamorous and full of lustre.

Why Sterling Silver Jewellery Needs Cleaning

Silver is known to be delicate and prone to scratches and tarnish more than other metals. Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that develops over it. Tarnish grows over time, at first it looks palish yellow, and then turns brown, eventually turning into an ominous black.

There are two types of silver jewellery people usually own silver plated and sterling silver. Both are subject to tarnish. The truth is that pure silver doesn’t tarnish easily but is too soft to be used to make jewellery. What we have instead is sterling silver. It is around 92.5%  pure silver and the rest is other metals, often copper, which tarnishes when exposed to air and light. In fact, it’s a chemical reaction that is inevitable. It is the main reason why silver jewellery or silverware is locked in shelves and compartments that restrict the flow of air. Tarnish will still set in over time.

But don’t be miffed. It is nothing you can’t handle at home. Let’s get straight to the cleaning methods.

How To Clean Silver Jewellery At Home

We’ve listed multiple ways, many of these household products to clean silver. But please note that 1 and 2 are for deep cleansing dark/heavy tarnish, while the rest are for medium to light tarnish.

1. Silver Polish

How to clean silver

One of the most common and also one of the easiest methods to clean sterling silver jewellery is silver polish which will get that tarnish off from your silver jewellery in no time.

  • Take silver polish and put it on a slightly damp cloth.
  • Rub it up and down carefully.
  • Do not rub in circles.
  • Be extra careful and use a light hand when cleaning silver plated jewellery (as opposed to sterling silver).
  • Change cloth sides to avoid getting the tarnish back on.
  • Be careful while covering delicate areas to avoid breakage.
  • Use q-tips to get into the small crevices.
  • Rinse the jewellery in warm water and wipe it gently with a soft, dry cloth.

Follow this procedure as soon as you notice tarnish building up. Word of caution – do not buy an off-brand silver polish from a drug-store. Buy a good one from a jewellery store or find one online.

2. Aluminium foil + baking soda + salt + hot water

How to clean silver

 

Try this foolproof method at home to get rid of that stubborn tarnish from your silver jewellery. This is also a good method to clean silver ornaments at home.

  • Take a large bowl. Cover it with aluminium foil. Make sure the shiny side is up.
  • Place your jewellery on top of it.
  • Add hot water to the mix until the jewellery pieces are fully immersed in it.
  • Add 2 tablespoon of baking soda and salt.
  • Stir perfectly.
  • Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes or more if the tarnish is really heavy.
  • Use tongs to remove the jewellery.
  • Rinse in normal water and dry it with a soft cloth.

This is a tried, tested and recommended technique by countless. You will actually see the tarnish settle on the aluminium foil. Your precious silver trinkets will be as good and shiny as new.

3. Lemon juice + soda

clean silver with lemon juice

When cleaning silver jewellery at home, this method works effectively well for light tarnish. A perfect remedy when you want to shine your bling.

  • Fill a bowl with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and add one glass of soda in it.
  • Leave your jewellery in the mixture for an hour.
  • Remove it, rinse and dry with a soft, dry cloth.

4. Vinegar + baking soda

As far as household products to clean silver go, vinegar and baking soda aren’t just versatile cooking ingredients, they’re surprisingly good cleaning agents, too. Try baking soda to clean your sterling silver jewellery in no time.

  • Take half a cup of white vinegar.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda – do not overuse.
  • Soak your jewellery in it for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Remove, rinse with water and clean with a soft, dry cloth.

5. Lemon juice + salt

How to clean silver with lemon soda

This is also a good and easy alternative to clean tarnished sterling silver ornaments and get it to shine brightly.

  • Pour 1 ½ cups of water in a bowl or glass.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and salt.
  • Add ½ cup of dry milk.
  • Leave your jewellery in the mixture overnight.
  • Remove, rinse and dry with a soft, dry cloth.

6. Vinegar + tea tree oil + baking soda

Try out this simple way to clean silver. The mixture of three purifying agents works wonderfully well as a natural way to clean silver.

  • Take a glass jar and place your jewellery in it.
  • Add ½ a cup of white vinegar, one drop of tea tree oil and some baking soda.
  • Leave it overnight or for 6 to 8 hours, depending on how much tarnish has gathered.
  • Remove, rinse with water and clean with a soft, dry cloth.

7. Beer

Clean silver with beer

Although this may not effectively work on hardcore tarnish, it is a good way to clean silver jewellery when trying to remove lighter layers.

  • Pour beer in a glass or bowl.
  • Soak your silver jewellery in it.
  • Leave it in for 10 or 15 minutes.
  • Remove, rinse with water and clean it with a soft, dry cloth.

8. Banana peels

How to clean silver with banana

It’s not the fastest way to clean silver and won’t feel or smell great, but it works moderately well.

  • Take a few banana peels.
  • Throw them in the blender with some water.
  • Remove the paste.
  • Take a cloth or a brush and use the paste to clean off the tarnish.
  • Rinse in water and clean with a soft, dry cloth.

9. Ammonia + hot water

How to clean silver

 

If you are looking for a quick way to clean silver, try this method for less heavy tarnish. It’s a relatively simple way to clean silver.

  • Pour hot water in a bowl.
  • Add ½ a cup of ammonia in it.
  • Soak your silver in the mix for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Rinse in water and clean with a soft, dry cloth.

10. Antacids

How to clean silver

Antacids are not just for the health of your stomach. Try them on your silver jewellery too.

  • Drop two tablets of antacids in a glass of warm water.
  • Let the tablets create bubbles.
  • Soak your silver in it for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove, rinse and clean with a soft, dry cloth

11. Aerated Drinks – Seven-Up/Sprite/Coca-cola

How to clean silver

Sounds odd, doesn’t it? Makes you want to question all the times you drank aerated drinks. It may not work on medium to high tarnish, but it will clean and remove any darkness on your jewellery.

  • Pour one of the drinks in a glass of water.
  • Soak your silver jewellery in it for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Rinse and clean with a soft, dry cloth.

12. Laundry detergent

How to clean silver

For light tarnish and dark spots, try this easy method to clean tarnish off silver.

  • Add one tablespoon laundry detergent in warm water.
  • Let it mix and form bubbles.
  • Leave your jewellery in it for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Rinse and clean with a soft, dry cloth.

A quick word of advice

 

Even though toothpaste and ketchup have been used to clean silver jewellery, we would advise against it. Toothpaste is abrasive on silver jewellery and ketchup will only prove to be ineffective. If the tarnish is too heavy and old, and your silver jewellery is too rare or delicate or is made of expensive gemstones, you might want to consider a different approach. In such cases, the best way to clean silver effectively is to get it polished from professionals, such as those at a good jewellery store.

How to store sterling silver jewellery to avoid tarnishing?

It’s not enough that you clean your silver jewellery only when the tarnish sets in. With our home tips on cleaning sterling silver, you can make several thoughtful preventive measures to slow down the tarnishing. Here’s how:

  • Never leave your silver jewellery lying around in open. It causes exposure to air, light and humidity which accelerates the tarnishings.
  • Store it in an air-restricted shelf or closet, in a lined jewellery box. But ensure that it is stored in a cool, dry area.
  • Use ziplock bags to place them safely in.
  • Store your sterling silver separately, not with other pieces of jewellery.
  • Chalk absorbs moisture. So keep a stick in your jewellery storage bag.
  • You can place some anti-tarnish paper or silica bags in the Ziploc bag too.
  • You can also buy special silver jewellery storage bags online or from jewellery stores.
  • Keep it away from sunlight or chemically treated wooden surfaces.
  • Keep it away from rubber bands, if there are any in your jewellery box.
  • Do not get into a hot water tub or in the shower with your silver jewellery on.
  • Wear your perfume before you put on your silver jewellery, i.e. do not directly spray on it.
  • Avoid wearing silver jewellery with latex or woollen clothing.

Most of all, wear your silver jewellery often to prevent it from corrosion. Don’t shy away from making your best fashion statement with your favourite pieces of silver just because of the fear of tarnish.

If you are looking for tips on cleaning your gold jewellery, check out our post on Great Ways to Clean Gold Jewellery at Home, it has got some great tips.

 

6 Comments

  1. 925silverjaipur
    September 25, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing these tips

  2. Nitika
    October 9, 2018 / 1:47 pm

    I need a quick way to clean silver forks and spoons, will these methods work?

    • jeweladmin
      October 25, 2018 / 3:31 pm

      These methods do work on silverware as well. The aluminium foil, baking soda, salt and hot water method will be the easiest to get many spoons and forks cleaned at once.

  3. Jake Owen
    November 9, 2018 / 1:10 pm

    Hi, great article, I’m looking for a jewellery gift for my girlfriend. She loves the look of silver but is allergic to it.

    • jeweladmin
      November 9, 2018 / 1:14 pm

      Hey there, if you’re looking for an alternative to silver, why not buy something in white gold. It is pricier than silver but you get some beautiful designs. See types of gold. If money is no object, platinum jewellery is a fabulous gift too. See how to buy platinum jewellery.

  4. 925silverjaipur
    November 26, 2018 / 5:37 pm

    This is amazing! Thanks

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