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5 tips on how to clean tarnished silver

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

You saw the most beautiful piece of silver jewellery and it spoke to your heart. You invested in it and wore it with pride. However, now it’s all dull and discoloured. Maybe you own one of Gaia's Nature Inspired Jewellery which helps you feel unique and stand out from the crowd. Do not fear! Here are 5 easy tips on how to clean tarnished silver pieces.

1. Silver Cleaning Cloth

One of the easiest ways to clean tarnished silver is with a silver cleaning cloth. This special little miracle worker is impregnated with a silver cleaning solution. All you have to do is gently rub your precious silver jewellery piece and watch how the tarnish disappears off it and your piece is restored to its former beauty. The cloths can be purchased from any jeweller or some big online stores (buying in bulk will also save you some pennies).

You will need: silver cleaning cloth

Amazingly a single cleaning from the silver cleaning cloth could last for months of frequent wear and will prevent your jewellery from turning dull again. Use the cloth for simple touch-ups as well as full-on cleanings and you will be amazed how well they work.

2. Salt Bath

Rock Salt

A salt bath is also a fantastic solution for cleaning tarnished silver jewellery. It’s very easy to do at home, however before you dip your precious metals in this solution, do check that it is ok for it to be soaked in saltwater. Most stones and gems should be ok, as well as most precious metals (if it’s ok in the sea, it should be ok in homemade saltwater) but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

You will need: water, salt, aluminium foil, bowl, soft cloth

Method: boil two cups of water, pour in a bowl and add a tablespoon of salt. Once the salt is dissolved, add a few pieces of shredded aluminium foil to the bowl. The salty water and aluminium will react with the silver, removing the tarnish and leaving a beautifully shiny surface. Rub dry with a super soft cloth.

3. Lemon Bath

nine lemons on a cloth

Cleaning your tarnished silver with lemon will not only give back its spark but is also antibacterial. This method is ideal for cleaning heavily tarnished antique silver (not only jewellery). Wearing our jewellery and mainly rings every day results in bacteria collecting in ridges and engraved details of the jewellery. Lemon has great antibacterial properties and will help remove the little nasties.

You will need: one lemon, bowl, water, salt, soft cloth

Method: Squeeze the juice of a lemon into the bowl of hot water. Add three tablespoons of salt and mix the solution well. Please adjust the amount accordingly to the size of the silver items you are cleaning. Place the silver you are cleaning into the solution and let soak for five minutes. Remove the silver from the solution and clean by rubbing it with a soft cloth to remove tarnish.

4. Washing up liquid

Bubbles from washing up liquid

This cleaning method works for both gold and silver tarnished jewellery as well as precious stones. It’s a very simple way of cleaning lightly tarnished jewellery.

You will need: washing up liquid, 2 x bowls of warm water, soft cloth

Method: Simply choose a mild washing up liquid and add it to a bowl of warm water. Mix the two together until gentle foam appears in the bowl. Place your jewellery into the solution and allow it to soak for at least 30 minutes. You can place more than one piece of jewellery in the bowl, but be careful you don’t overcrowd it. Once the time is up, remove the jewellery and place it in another bowl of clean warm water. One by one, gently rub your jewellery pieces with a soft toothbrush to remove tarnish. Rub dry with a soft cloth.

5. Bicarbonate of Soda

This method is the genius of chemistry and is one of the best and most popular ways to clean tarnished silver.

You will need: bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), aluminium foil, bowl, hot water

Method: Line a bowl with aluminium foil (shiny side up). Measure how much water you will need to pour in the bowl as you will need 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 1 cup of water. Pour the hot water in the bowl (to the top). Once the solution starts to bubble place your tarnished silver into it right away. Make sure your jewellery touches the foil as this will create a chemical reaction. Leave your items in the solution for 2-5 minutes, depending on the level of tarnish, however heavily tarnished silver could require up to 10 minutes. When the time is up, rinse your silver under clean water and gently dry it with a soft cloth.

Hope you found these 5 tips on how to clean your tarnished silver useful. To prevent damage or further tarnishing, make sure you clean your jewellery regularly and implement genuine care. This involves taking steps to prevent damage, such as removing jewellery when you wash your hands when you are exercising or gardening to prevent scratches, dents, but also storing your jewellery in proper boxes or airtight bags to avoid oxidisation. For a complete guide to caring for your sterling silver jewellery by Gaia, read my blog post here.

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1 Comment

Unknown member
Jul 09, 2023

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