Silver jewellery is a delicate, pretty addition to any ensemble – but time and handling can lead to discolouration. This step-by-step guide to cleaning your silver is here to help, safely helping you get your necklaces, rings, watches, bracelets, and earrings looking bright and shiny again.
What to Keep in Mind When Cleaning Silver Jewellery
When it comes to cleaning silver jewellery, it is extremely important to be very careful to avoid abrasive solutions. Scrubbing your precious jewellery with toothpaste or salt can remove tarnish, however it can also lead to ugly scratches – or even wear off a silver finish entirely, if your jewellery is only silver-coated.
If your silver jewellery wasn’t too expensive and you’re merely looking for a quick fix, you can still carefully try a paste of water and baking soda for cleaning silver, but be aware of the potentially damaging consequences.
How to Clean Silver Jewellery Using Aluminium Foil
While this is a very effective technique for cleaning silver jewellery at home, be aware that if your silver jewellery contains glue, this might disintegrate it. Likewise, you should not use aluminium foil on soft or porous stones. Be careful with sensitive jewellery – it’s better to be safe than sorry. Consult the manufacturer for cleaning guidelines or take it to a professional if you are ever in doubt.
If you are merely looking to clean a few simple silver pieces such as rings or earrings, this method might be a lifesaver:
- Line a bowl with aluminium foil (shiny side up) and sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda on top. Place your silver in the bowl.
- Boil enough hot water to cover the jewellery and pour into the bowl. This will generate a chemical reaction that will help to transfer the tarnish from the silver onto the foil.
- Leave your silver in the mixture for a few seconds – the more tarnished the silver, the longer you will need to leave it in.
- Remove the jewellery using kitchen tongs – be careful, you don’t want to burn your hands in the process. Rinse and allow to air dry. Now you should be left with shiny, like new silver items!
There are many variations of this technique – if you’re looking for a different way of doing it, there are plenty of tutorials you can easily find online.
If you cannot use this method for cleaning silver – on a watch, for instance, or items that are too valuable to be rubbed with baking soda – opt for specially designed silver cleaners, or consider taking the pieces to a professional instead.