Miracle is not an exaggeration. I’ve been working with silver for over 15 years and have tried all manner of tarnish removers with varying degrees of success and satisfaction. Chemical, natural, scrubs, dips, soaks, even burning it off with my torch when I can, and the best results were less tarnish than before but never gone completely. In addition to not really working, some chemicals can ruin pearls, stones, beads, and even the silver itself. Well, thanks to metal-supplier Rio Grande’s wonderfully helpful blog, I have found an easy, all-natural way to make silver bright and shiny and like new again.
On to the miracle…
Supplies (really, that's it!)
1. Lightly scrub your pieces with an old toothbrush and dish soap. Rinse thoroughly.
2. Line a glass bowl deep enough to hold your pieces with aluminum foil. Put the pieces in.
3. Boil enough water to cover all that.
4. Sprinkle at least a tablespoon of baking soda over the pieces. (I just shake a healthy layer over the pile.)
Minutes before the magic happens
5. Pour in the boiling water, carefully fold the edges of the aluminum foil in so it’s completely submerged, and watch the fizzy bubbles do their thing. The tarnish jumps from the silver to the foil, so the more foil under the water’s surface, the more area there is for the tarnish to cling to.
It even makes a sound.
6. Let everything fizz and soak until it’s cool to touch. Rinse each piece and pat dry with a towel.
7. Dance in the glory that is your renewed jewelry. Yay, science!
- Tiara after – So bright!
- Chainmaille after – So shiny!
- Aluminum foil covered in the silver’s old tarnish
I can’t guarantee that any elements other than silver will or won’t be cleaned or damaged. So far, all silver has come out clean, gold is unchanged, and beads haven’t been altered. The beads I’ve subjected to this process include coral, turquoise, glass, plastic, goldstone, pearl, Swarovski crystal, cinnabar, abalone, and wood. Damage could happen, so if you can, test a similar non-silver item ahead of time.