Most sterling silver can be cleaned in a sudsy bath containing a few drops of dish washing liquid, warm water, and a soft cloth. If the tarnish on your piece is not easily removed by this, there are other ways to get a shine. An internet search will return endless methods to cleaning sterling silver, from expensive silver polishes, to your average tube of toothpaste. Most come with disclaimers, so always read through them before cleaning your jewelry. The baking soda method is my favorite. Easy, effective, and not full of strange chemicals. But before you try it, read these important tips:
>> Jewelry that is precious or sentimental should always be taken to a
professional for cleaning. If you have any hesitation, DO NOT attempt to
clean it. This includes your great aunt's $500 bracelet or the pendant
that has been passed down for four generations.
>> Only use the baking soda method with jewelry that is ALL STERLING SILVER. Glass and crystal beads are usually ok, but some gemstones can be damaged by the process.
>> Store your sterling silver jewelry in an airtight container. If you don't wear it often, a small zip lock bag works great.
>> Don't let your metals buddy up in storage. Some metals can speed up the tarnishing process, so store your sterling silver separately.
>> Some pieces work better with certain methods of cleaning, so if one way doesn't work, try, try again. I've had some pieces that refuse to come clean unless tackled with store bought cleaners.
1. Gather up a ceramic or glass pan, a piece of crumpled aluminum foil to cover the bottom of the dish, baking soda, and a soft cloth.
2. Place the aluminum foil in the pan and lay your jewelry on top, making sure the sterling silver is touching the aluminum foil.
3. Sprinkle baking soda over jewelry and then gently pour boiling water over it all, just enough to cover.
4. As you wait, the baking soda may bubble and it might smell like stinky eggs. If necessary, carefully move the pieces with a wood or plastic utensil if you notice areas not affected.
5. Rinse each piece with water, but be careful not to lose any down a drain! Dry thoroughly and polish with a soft cloth. Be sure to air dry for several hours or overnight, before storing in an airtight container.
Would love to hear other ideas or tips ya'll have for cleaning jewelry. Comments are most welcome.