Effective ways to Clean Silver Jewelry

Event coming up or, you are a clean savvy person? Restoring the shine and luster of your silver sterling jewelry is always worthwhile. It is refreshing to open an organized and gleaming sterling jewelry box, not rather tangled lump and tarnished bijoux. Recently coming across some tarnished, tangled and lumped silver pieces of my own in a basket saddened me a bit and motivated me to clean them myself. After some experiments, the best options with the most effective ways to clean silver jewelry, few of them I narrowed down.

Aluminium Foil and Baking Soda White

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Corn flour paste



Laundry detergent

Ammonia solution

Lemon and Salt

Reactions occur due to some chemicals such as Hydrogen Sulphide, Sulphur or some salts in our body sweat that corrode or discolour the jewels. This reaction is tarnishing.

Although Sterling Silver reacts not with water or oxygen, this corrosion is a common misconception that oxidation could occur.

Silver is usually stored air-tight, but because most of the gem boxes and cabinets are not airproof, the tarnishing process can still occur but at a sluggish pace. Besides the air, with your alkaline hides, your silver jewellery can be very reactive, thus resulting in discolouration of jewellery and even skin from the presence of Sulphur and amino acids in one’s sweat.

Rather than going for the expensive silver polishing products that don’t even yield a fruitful result as expected, why shouldn’t we try easy DIY method at home with everyday household products?

Method 1: Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda

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Cover a bowl layered with aluminium foil with hot water and baking soda.

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Rinsing it with cool water is the next step after removing it 1-3 minutes later from the bowl. Rub it dry with a soft cloth.

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The result is prosperous as within a few minutes, even in seconds, the discolouration vanishes as this process is an outcome of chemical reaction that removes the tarnish.

Method 2: White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Covered with white vinegar, place the silver items in the sized bowl.

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With proportions of 4 tablespoons to 1 cup vinegar, add baking soda into the bowl. After an hour, rinse the silver with clean water and with a soft cloth, dry it well.

Inadvisable for the antiques, still it can work well for Sterling silver. Acidic in nature, vinegar act as a favourable cleaning agent.

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Adding other common ingredients like baking soda enhances its cleaning power. We thus have learned that it is a safe, effective way to remove tarnish.

Method 3: Corn Flour Paste

Another great way to clean silverware is from corn starch which is abrasive enough to clean the silver item without leaving the scratches. Apply a thick paste made from corn flour and water onto the silver. Let it dry. The dried mixture is then wiped off and buffed with a damp towel or sponge to restores its shine.

Method 4: Ketchup

It may sound weird and messy ketchup can be a suitable ingredient to clean tarnish off the silver jewellery and cutlery. Found in our pantries, a few drops of the ketchup squeezed onto the tarnished silverware. By rubbing the item with a piece of paper towel or toothbrush, we can clean it.

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Also, leave ketchup for 15 minutes in old, tarnish build-up cases, then cleaned off with a cloth of micro-fibres, and finally rinsed with water.

Method 5: Toothpaste

Squeeze a small pee-sized, non-gel and non-abrasive toothpaste on a soft cloth or paper towel. With a circular motion, rub the paste onto the jewellery or silverware to polish and clean off the tarnish build-up. After leaving it for around 5 minutes, wash off the toothpaste with water. Wipe it dry and find the silver shine restored.

Method 6: Laundry detergent

Reacting with water, one cup of detergent poured into a bowl of hot water creates a foamy solution like baking soda and water, foamier. Place the silver jewellery in the solution and leave it for 5 minutes. Remove and rub it dry with a clean cloth. It doesn’t remove the tarnish, but it cleans the dirt or gunk off the silverware. Bonus points for a pleasant smell from the detergent!

Method 7: Ammonia solution

An easy way to brighten your silverware is Ammonia solution. With the ratio of 1:2 clear ammonia and lukewarm water, soak the silver item in the liquid solution for 5-10 minutes. Wiping it with a soft cloth and buffing it further with a dry cotton cloth to polish it is the next step. It is not a recommended option for silverware, but it works! The pungent smell of ammonia does bring this method among the least favourites.

Method 8:Lemon and Salt

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By placing the tarnished squeeze a lemon in a bowl with salt and hot water for 5 minutes with a soft cloth.

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The result is not as bountiful as expected. It took some hard rubbing with a white silver cleaning cloth and extra time for tarnish lifted from the earring.

Few other famous but rather odd methods to polish silver jewellery to regain its shine is achievable by rubbing the silver sterling with hand-sanitiser or window cleaner with a soft cloth for a few minutes. Some other unconventional methods might include using beer, vodka or coca-cola. The procedure is the same by placing the silver sterling jewellery or cutlery in a bowl of beer, vodka or coca-cola for 5-10 minutes. Then rinse with clean water and dry them with a soft cloth.

These methods are not the best or give perfect results, but it helps with the discolouration. It sometimes lifts off tarnish too.

To summaries all, the most effective ways to clean silver jewelry in the DIY method is aluminum and baking soda. It’s easy, quick and least expensive. Slowing tarnish down, the moisture reacting with Sulphur or sulphides in the air, place the silver sterling with a moisture absorbent such as chalk or silica gel packs.

Well… Try these recipes and let us know which one is your most effective way to clean silver jewelry!!! You can visit more jewelry maintenance from here.

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