How to clean silver at home. Having antique silver crockery, or your favorite collection of vintage design silver cutlery that you have been preserving for a special occasion, can sometimes get untidy, weary, and most of the time, it gets dark.
Now, you didn’t even use it, and if you “did” use it, still, it would look odd, and you might want to give second thoughts about keeping those pieces of silver jewelry or your antique silver cutlery set.
So, wait up! Don’t throw them yet, and before doing anything, read this article to derive back the previous glory of your valuable silver pieces, may it be your jewelry or your silver chalices.
Know the story behind this problem first, then read out about the solutions I have proposed.
And silver readily reacts with Sulphur to form silver sulfide, which appears as a thin, dark, or black coating over silver. And believe me tarnished silver looks like a piece of junk!
How to clean silver at home
Method to cure silver
Yup! darkened or tarnished silver has to be treated in many ways, which can bring back the shine or gloss of the silver.
May it be pure silver or sterling silver, both can be revived with a small effort.
The techniques that are being used to treat silver or sterling silver are extremely easy and efficient, and the best part, you can DIY.
There are many things available at home or your nearest supermarket that might help you get rid of the tarnish of silver and help you get a clean silver as a result.
The things or tools for this job that I will mention might surprise you a bit, but hey! I studied it and did my homework, so trust the process!
Treating tarnished silver
A tarnished is difficult to clean and requires strong agents to undo the formation of silver sulfide.
So, a bit harsh reactive agent like baking soda, lemon juice, or vinegar might be used in the process.
Aluminum foil, if we talk about it, is an excellent ion exchanger and highly reactive, well, at least more reactive than silver.
We have to use aluminum a lot in the following processes. So, you need to learn the mystery behind the process.
Aluminum is more reactive than silver, and we know that silver tarnish is composed of silver sulfides, so, in many reactions, aluminum being a more reactive agent, will attract the Sulfur ions more towards itself hence giving out clean silver.
All of this is just a little chemistry we all should know!
There are several methods to remove tarnish from silver, and these include:
Aluminum foil and baking soda on business
To be honest, this, according to me is the most recommended recipe for this job. This method is mostly useful at times when there is a load of silver you want to clean.
The steps involved in this procedure are
Take a big pot or a bowl and cover its base with aluminum foil. Make sure that the aluminum foil is placed in the right direction, and one more thing, the bowl you use should be anything but metal.
The reason behind this is simple; metal will react with the metal or take part in the reaction.
Add water into that bowl and take 15 tablespoons of water per gallon. Boil the water and make sure it’s boiled.
When boiling, add all the things that need cleaning inside the bowl or pot and wait f15-20 minutes for the reaction to take place.
After this, take out the silver with the help of a holder or kitchen tongs. Place the silver onto the paper towel or damp cloth until it’s cool enough to deal with.
As the silver cools down, you’ll notice that the tarnished coat has been removed, and you have clean silver now.
Do not use this method for silver if it’s sterling. Do not use this method for jewelry with gems or stones on it.
Clean with Ammonia and water paste
Ammonia, like aluminum, is also quite an effective cleaner. And in fact, it is super easy as well.
Any piece of jewelry or cutlery, or other silver-made things can be revived back to their original form by this method.
The steps included are:
Take a glass bowl, again, not a metal one. Make a 2:1 solution of warm water and clear ammonia.
Now, dip your jewelry or other items that need to be cleaned into the solution.
This might take up to 10 minutes. As soon as you take the items out of the bowl, use a dry cloth to clean the silver items you soaked.
Use a microfiber cloth or a soft cloth to dry and polish items. The results will be extremely satisfying. You’ll get nice and clean silver at the end of the process.
Old vintage silver or antique silver jewelry cannot be washed or treated with this method as it is too hard on silver. The old silver items will start losing their shine or might start to decompose as well.
Ketchup does the cleaning well
Yes! As weird as it sounds but more effective and productive than it seems. You’ll stop having ketchup with your fries but start cleaning silver items with it. Hah!
Just kidding around, guys; I think I might have exaggerated it a bit! “But once you try, you won’t deny.”
So, the ketchup formula is, as far as I know, the easiest one. The steps involved are listed below:
Take a paper towel and add a few drops of ketchup to it. After putting the ketchup, start applying and rubbing it on the item you want to clean.
If the tarnish is old and tough, you should apply some ketchup directly to that silverware.
Keep on rubbing the silver items constantly for some time and leave it for 15-20 minutes so that the tarnished is removed properly.
After this gap, wipe the ketchup and rub it with a microfiber cloth.
Now, wash the silver item with water and dry it out with some cloth or paper towel. For items that have more detailing or gaps or crevices, use a toothbrush to reach those gaps.
Antique items should be avoided in this process because ketchup has citric acid, which might cause damage to the silver that is old and antique.
Toothpaste has other jobs to do
The toothpaste recipe is also worthwhile to try and easy to do yourself. Like the ketchup one, the steps use simple and inexpensive ways to clean silver items efficiently.
The steps involved in this DIY cleaning of silver tarnish are:
Take a clean and soft cotton cloth or a microfiber cloth.
Apply a small amount of toothpaste over that cloth piece and rub it all over the item.
The best way to do it is by rubbing the soft cloth in the back-and-forth direction because rubbing it in circular motions will make the previous scratches visible.
Let the toothpaste stay on the silver item for 5-10 minutes. Later, thoroughly wash the toothpaste off the silver.
The shine you were longing for in your silver jewelry will now be revived.
The toothpaste you use should never contain gel and should be non-abrasive and mild.
How to revive sterling silver
Sterling silver needs to be dealt with in different ways, using separate materials. Silver which is sterling is not pure silver and contains a small amount of copper to make it stiff.
This makes silver prone to tarnishing and will tarnish even quicker than normal silver.
Some methods to polish silver that is sterling and to bring back its shine have been introduced, which have made life a lot easier for us!
Baking Soda and white vinegar combo
Baking soda has been famous for its magnificent cleaning services and the satisfying job it has done in this field.
And with the addition of vinegar makes the work even more effective because vinegar has some impressive germ-killing and dirt-removing skills.
The procedure to clean silver with this deadly combo is given in further steps:
Take a nice and clean bowl and add silver items that have tarnished spots into that bowl. The bowl should not be a metallic one.
Add a few drops of vinegar and white vinegar into that bowl and properly add it to cover the silver with that white vinegar.
Add about 4-5 tablespoons of baking soda into that bowl and leave it. Go watch an episode of your favorite Netflix series that should be for an hour at least. Once you’re free, go check on the silver and take it out.
Wash it well and rinse off the mixture from the silver. Later, dry it with a soft cloth. And voila!
I will again whine about not doing this method with your antiques because they are old, and their time has been over.
Harsh things like vinegar/lemon juice might just make it brittle, and the silver might start to deteriorate.
Just Baking soda and water
If you intend to clean tarnished that is tarnished or jewelry, baking soda with water is a perfect yet productive method to do it!
The steps are super easy, and you can follow them anywhere.
- Bad and tough tarnishes are treated with baking soda with water forming a thick paste that acts as a strong and reactive agent to remove tarnish.
- Add soda to a bowl and a small amount of lukewarm water to make a thick paste.
- Apply this paste over the silver tarnish and leave it for 5 minutes.
- Later, gently rub the paste over the silver with a soft cloth and dry the item to get clean tarnished silver.
- Avoid scratching the surface by rubbing the cloth too hard.
Methods to polish silver
After washing with baking soda, gently rub and buff with a soft cloth in a circular direction to get polish.
Methods to preserve/store silver.
The best way to store silver is to add a piece of chalk to it.
That way, the chalk will absorb the moisture that the silver was supposed to absorb, and the silver will remain intact for a longer time.
Hey! Having tarnished silver jewelry or vintage cutlery set, no worries. There are several simple, quick and easy silver cleaning tips that I have found.
Just be aware that these methods are not for silver-plated items. Silver cleaning has been made a lot easier with the help of these tips and tricks.
To get good silver polish, you can also use acid-free tissue paper to rub it.
Also, to prevent tarnish, you can use the anti-tarnish bag to preserve silver or use a tarnish-resistant flannel or add a piece of chalk!
Hope these tricks are helpful for you to protect your precious silver items from getting thrown away and protected.