Do you have old sterling silver jewellery stashed in a drawer? You’re not alone. Many people have old jewellery that they don’t want to get rid of, but also don’t want to wear because it’s tarnished.
But just because you haven’t worn them in a while doesn’t mean you can’t restore them to their former beauty. You can make your precious accessories look sparkling and new again, and you don’t have to break the bank doing it! Here are some tips on how to clean sterling silver jewellery at home.
Aluminium foil and baking soda
The baking soda and aluminium foil method is one of the most highly recommended ways to clean jewellery online. That’s because it’s a great DIY method to clean sterling silver without using any chemicals at all.
- Wrap a piece of aluminium foil around the jewellery making sure it’s completely covered.
- Place it in a container that contains baking soda diluted in hot water. A few tablespoons of baking soda should do the job.
- Leave overnight before removing from the container.
- Scrub off any remaining tarnish with a toothbrush or soft cloth.
- Rinse with warm water.
Dish soap is gentle on your jewellery and will remove any dirt or grime from its surface. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to clean your jewellery, this method might be best for you.
- Mix a few drops of liquid dish soap in warm water until bubbles emerge. Then, dip your silver jewellery into the solution. Let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes to loosen up any dirt or grime on the surface of your piece.
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to clean any crevices and hard-to-reach places on your silver jewellery, but be careful not to press too hard or you risk damaging it.
- Rinse the piece thoroughly in warm water to remove all soap residue.
- Rub the piece with a silver cloth or a microfiber towel to dry off any moisture.
Baking soda and vinegar
The combination of bicarb or baking soda and vinegar is a great way to clean jewellery. The acidity in the vinegar will help remove any marks or stains from your jewellery, while the baking soda will absorb any grease or dirt that’s present.
- Add water to some baking soda and mix to make a paste. A ratio of 2:1 is recommended.
- Next, coat the portion you want to clean with the paste and gently rub. Let it dry.
- Once the paste has dried, wipe off any residue with a soft cloth and then rinse under warm water.
- Next, add one part white vinegar to three parts water in a bowl. Soak your silver jewellery in this mixture for 10 minutes.
- Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly. Repeat as necessary.
Lemon and olive oil
Olive oil is a natural degreaser that will help remove grease from your silver, making it easier to clean. Meanwhile, lemon juice is an acidic liquid that will work to remove tarnish from your silver. Try this method to make your silver jewellery shine again.
- Take half a cup of lemon juice and one teaspoon of olive oil and mix in a bowl of warm water.
- Soak your silver jewellery in the solution for about 30 minutes.
- Rinse it off with clean water and dry thoroughly.
Alternatively, you can also use a clean cloth with a small amount of the solution to make it shiny again.
Toothpaste is a mild abrasive that can help remove tarnish from your silver jewellery. It also has antibacterial properties which may prevent any harmful bacteria from growing on your piece.
Just make sure the toothpaste is not a whitening formula, and don’t use this method on anything silver-plated.
- Mix a small amount of toothpaste with water to create a paste and then use it to clean your silver jewellery.
- Rinse off the toothpaste and pat dry with a soft cloth or towel.
Coca Cola contains citric acid, which is a mild abrasive. This can help remove tarnish from your silver jewellery.
For best results, make sure not to use diet coke as this contains a lower level of acidity.
- Boil Coca Cola over medium heat and then dip your jewellery in it. Let it soak for about three to five minutes.
- Rinse off the Coca Cola and pat dry with a soft cloth or towel.
Commercial jewellery cleaners are typically made with an abrasive agent, like pumice or baking soda, that helps remove tarnish without damaging the metal. These can be found at most grocery stores, but make sure to read the label first to determine if it is safe for your piece of jewellery.
- Clean your silver jewellery with a soft cloth or toothbrush.
- Next, simply add the cleaner to warm water and dip the piece into it.
- Let this sit for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off.
- Dry with a soft cloth or towel.
Some people also recommend using ammonia to clean your silver jewellery. This can be effective if the jewellery is very tarnished.
A warning: Be careful not to put too much ammonia as this can damage jewellery.
- Mix one part ammonia and six parts warm water into a bowl and dip the piece into it..
- Let the jewellery sit for about 10 minutes.
- Next, use a toothbrush to scrub off any dirt or grime.
- Remove it from the solution and rinse off with clean water.
Soft polishing cloth
Not all jewellery cleaning jobs require drastic measures. If your piece is only slightly tarnished, or does not tarnish at all (like gold, platinum, or stainless steel), a soft polishing cloth might be enough to do the trick.
- Use the cloth to rub the jewellery in a circular motion until it shines. Be careful not to rub too hard or use too much pressure as this can damage your piece of jewellery.
- Repeat this process as necessary if there is a lot of tarnish present.
Bonus: How to prevent tarnish on sterling silver jewellery
Sterling silver jewellery is beautiful, but it can be tricky to keep them looking that way. Fortunately, knowing how to care for your jewellery and how to store jewellery is quite simple:
The best way to prevent tarnish is to keep your piece clean and dry! A few tips:
- Store it in an airtight container. Or you can wrap it in a soft cloth and keep it in a drawer sealed with a rubber band.
- If you have particularly sensitive skin, avoid wearing silver jewellery when swimming in pools or hot tubs as chlorine can be damaging.
- You can also use a commercial silver cleaner. This is a spray that you can use to clean your jewellery after wearing it and helps keep it looking shiny and new.
- If you have a lot of silver jewellery that needs to be stored, consider using individual plastic bags for each piece. Then, place a cotton ball inside the bag with your jewellery to absorb any moisture that may come in contact with it.
Cleaning your jewellery can be simple when you use household products and follow a few easy steps. Your jewellery will not only look better, but it will also last longer.