Silver jewelry starts out clean and shiny, but as the pieces age, they can look dirty or even tarnished. If the shine has faded from your favorite silver necklace, ring or bracelet, you don't need a commercial cleaner to restore it. Common household ingredients that you may have on hand, such as vinegar, baking soda, salt and aluminum foil, can work to remove tarnish from silver naturally.
Items you will need
- Cotton balls
- Aluminum foil
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
Dip a large cotton ball in white vinegar. Rub the silver jewelry with the cotton ball, using small circular motions, then wipe it dry with a towel.
Cover the bottom of a pot with aluminum foil. Lay the foil so the shiny side faces up. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of baking soda to the pot, then pour in 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Add 1 cup of water, then bring the mixture to a boil on the stove. Remove the pot from the stove and soak your silver jewelry in the vinegar mixture for at least 15 minutes. If your silver is very tarnished, you may need to soak it a bit longer. Remove each piece with tongs and buff dry with a clean towel.
Fill a glass with 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 cup of flour. Combine the ingredients to make a thick paste. Rub the paste on all surfaces of the silver item, then let it set for 15 minutes. Wash the paste off with lukewarm water, then dry the jewelry with a cloth.
Dampen a toothbrush with water, then dip it in baking soda. Scrub the jewelry with the toothbrush. Dip the toothbrush in vinegar and scrub the piece again. When the baking soda stops fizzing, rinse the jewelery off with warm water and dry it with a towel.
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- To keep your silver in top condition, wrap the pieces in acid-free tissue paper and store them in sealed plastic bags.
- Do not store silver near rubber. Rubber corrodes and damages silver jewelery.
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- Mother Nature Network: How to Clean Silver with Green Ingredients
- Jeffrey Herman: The Care of Silver
- The New Homemaker: Vinegar; (Almost) the Only Cleaner You'll Ever Need
- eBay: How to Clean Silver the Old Fashioned Way, No Chemicals
- Michigan State University Extension: Homemade Cleaners
- Marc Debnam/Digital Vision/Getty Images