Silver jewellery and silver cutlery tend to lose their shine over time and even to get black. This is tarnish – a result of chemical reaction between silver and sulphur in the air. Most silver jewellery and accessories today are plated with very thin layer of rhodium to protect the metal and make it brighter and shinier. However, this thin protective coat wears off making it easy for silver items to blacken.
Actually, silver items react not only with sulphur in the air. Perfumes, cosmetics, hair spray, hand cream, oils from skin and even some foods – can get the metal to tarnish and lose its lustre and shine. Luckily there are some simple and inexpensive ways to remove tarnish, polish and clean silver.
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Here are 11 recipes for easy DIY silver cleaning at home:
1 Aluminium Foil + Laundry detergent
This cleaning trick is appropriate for slightly tarnished silverware or silver jewellery. Line a bowl with aluminium foil and fill with hot water. Add a tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent and stir well. Drop your silver items inside and let them soak for a minute. Take the silver out with kitchen tongs, rinse with lukewarm water and lay on a paper towel to let the items dry.
2 Aluminium Foil + Baking Soda
This is one of the best recipes in our silver cleaning arsenal. The aluminium-soda bath is very useful when you need to clean more than one thing or bigger items – such as silver cutlery, candlesticks, or tableware. Cover the bottom of a large baking pan with aluminium foil, with the shiny side up. Use ceramic, or glass bakeware never metal one, to avoid unwanted chemical reactions. Fill with water and add baking soda. You need 1,5 tablespoons of soda for every gallon of water. Bring to boil and put the tarnished silver inside for 15 seconds. Take out the silver using kitchen tongs. Leave the silverware on paper towel to cool down. All tarnish is gone. For built up, stubborn tarnish you may have to repeat the procedure. Never use this recipe for jewellery with encrusted gemstones.
3 Cornflour + Water
If your silver has lost its shine this recipe will help you restore it. Prepare a thick paste of water cornflour and apply it onto the silver item. Let the mixture dry completely and rub it off with a towel to polish the surface and restore the shine of your jewellery and silverware. If you are out of cornflour you can substitute it with cream of tartar.
4 Ketchup Clean-up
It may sound weird, but ketchup works great if you need to remove tarnish from silver. This method is good handy if you have only 1-2 silver items to clean. Squeeze a few drops of ketchup on a paper towel and gently rub the tarnished silverware or jewellery. If there is old, tarnish built up apply ketchup directly onto these areas and leave it for 15 minutes. After that rub with microfibre cloth and rinse with water. Some items like fancy candlesticks or silverware have more details. Use a soft toothbrush to reach between crevices and clean the tarnish.
5 Hand Sanitiser
Hand sanitising products are a quick solution if you need to polish your silver ring on the go. Squeeze small amount of hand sanitiser on soft paper handkerchief and gently rub your jewel. The mat and slight tarnish are gone and your silver is clean and shiny again! Don’t try this recipe on jewellery with encrusted mineral stones, because some of the ingredients of the hand sanitiser could damage the stone.