DIY Cleaning Silver A rainy day science experiment
Updated: Feb 26, 2019
Yuk, what is that gunk!
Over time, all Sterling Silver will tarnish - it's just a fact of life. When silver is exposed to certain elements, there is a chemical reaction that creates black and sometimes rainbow colored smudges - it called a sulfate stain. But all is not lost! There are ways that you can help keep your silver looking fresh and new. Proper care can keep your jewelry looking lovely for years to come.
Cleaning using the Tinfoil Method - Cleans like a champ! It's important to note that you shouldn't use this method if you have stones or gems in your jewelry. This is a pretty safe method of cleaning that you can even do with the kids on a boring day when you are looking for something interesting to do. It's actually kind of fun and you can look at it as a science experiment when everyone is bored.
What you need:
a tarnished piece of silver
a dish large enough to put your items inside of - you want the water to go over the height of your jewelry
measuring cup (large glass 4 cup to make things easier)
tongs or something to grab your items
cloth for drying your silver
If you are doing this with kids, provide some cloths and aprons for the dripping water mess
What you do:
Boil your water
Line the bottom of your container with the shiny side of the tin foil facing up.
Once the water has boiled, pour it into your glass 4 cup measuring cup
This ratio changes depending on how much water you need. I normally use 1 to 2 tablespoons for this mixture
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt and then stir (it will froth a bit)
Add water to the dish
Place silver item into the dish and ensure that it is touching the foil
Wait - how long? On average up to 5 minutes for really tarnished items
Remove and wipe with a soft cloth. Avoid using a rough paper towel as it could scratch the surface.
Does this always work? Well, often it does. Sometimes I have to do this a few times if the tarnish is very bad but it IS a good method for cleaning items quickly and without chemical products you have to purchase.
I've done my sterling chains and rings many times using this method. I've also done silver spoons and other items using this method.
Feel free to share your posts below and comments on how this experiment has worked for you.