How To: Clean Silver Jewelry

I did something kind of crafty today, and for once it actually worked out really well!

I’m sort of addicted to sterling silver jewelry, especially handmade stuff that I buy on Etsy. I usually try to keep my silver jewerly polished and clean using a polishing cloth, but that has its drawbacks. For one thing, it’s really a drag to use for very tarnished items, and for another, it’s almost impossible to use on smaller, more delicate pieces and parts of jewelry. For example, I had this necklace which I bought on Etsy, and which you’ll see in the picture is not really amenable to hand-polishing with a cloth:


Lots of tiny, delicate little handmade parts. I love this necklace, but it was really starting to get dark and tarnished. Plus I had a few other pieces that were looking kind of dull too. So I did some Googling and this is the method I ended up using:

1. Line a shallow glass baking dish with aluminum foil, and lay out jewelry on the foil.
2. Heat or boil some water (I used about 4 cups, and just heated it in the microwave for 4 minutes).
3. Add a few tablespoons of baking soda, and do it over the sink since it will fizz (I used about 3 tablespoons).
4. Pour fizzing water over the jewelry and let it soak for up to a few minutes (for me it took about 60 seconds).
5. Remove jewelry with tongs (remember, the water is hot!) and rinse with cool water.
6. Lay jewelry out on a soft towel to dry (can also blot with another towel to dry faster).

It made a huge difference, I mean like night and day. I wish I’d taken before and after pictures, because the change was quite stunning. What also blew my mind was how fast it worked – I could see the jewelry changing color immediately. And it was so cheap and easy! To think I was actually thinking maybe I needed one of those ultrasonic jewelry cleaners or something. To heck with that stuff! Google saves the day!

One thought on “How To: Clean Silver Jewelry

  1. Excellent! Thanks! I have a bunch of silver jewelry that is just sitting in a drawer all tarnished: I have a tube of silver cleaning paste that I love (and have had for years), but — like with your cloth –it’s too much of a PITA for intricate or small pieces. I will try this as soon as I buy some baking soda. 🙂

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