how to clean jewelry silver with baking soda
Sterling silver jewellery is usually very well priced, has a beautiful shine and allows for a lot of creativity. However, sterling silver has one major drawback – the tarnish that forms either for people with certain (normal!) skin types, or when you’ve stored your jewellery for a while. Today we check out 5 easys way that you can safely clean your sterling silver jewellery.
With soap and water
If your sterling silver jewellery is only suffering from a little dust, dirt or sweat, any mild dish soap or hand soap and warm water will safely clean it.
Make sure you dry your jewellery after cleaning with soap and water, otherwise you’ll end up with subtle rinse spots that will dull its natural shine.
Remember ‘Brasso’? There is also an equivalent silver cleaning solution commercially available for just a few dollars. Silvo is usually stocked at supermarkets, and while it seems like an everyday way to clean your silver, you should be aware that:
- Silvo is very mildly abrasive, so don’t scrub too hard with it or use it too often on detailed pieces
- If your item is only silver plated, Silvo will eventually cause it to flake or thin out
If you don’t have Silvo available, any toothpaste will help remove tarnish from silver. The same precautions apply, however.
Making an electrolytic cleaning solution
You don’t have to be an amateur chemist to electrolytically clean your sterling jewellery – you just need a few basic household items and the ability to follow directions. This method for cleaning your jewellery is ideal for highly detailed pieces, where a toothbrush and ‘Silvo’ just can’t get into all the cracks. Also great for sterling silver chains.
Here’s how you can clean sterling jewellery electrolytically:
- Line a saucepan with aluminium foil
- Fill it with enough water to completely cover your item
- Stir in some baking soda – around half a cup per 500ml of water
- Boil the water
- As soon as the water starts to boil, take the pan off the heat and add your silver
- Use tongs to move your item around in the water
Take care using this method with sterling silver jewellery that also includes features like gemstones or cameo plating, as the boiling water could affect these.
Rhodium is a natural white metal similar to platinum, used to give sterling silver higher shine and better tarnish resistance. You can have any piece of sterling rhodium plated – even heirloom pieces. While it is not a cleaning method per se, rhodium plating can help your sterling silver jewellery last much longer between cleanings, and look better too. If you have a piece of silver jewellery rhodium plated, you should use steam or hot water to clean it – chemical cleaners will strip the finish and make it look patchy.