How to Clean Silver with Frugal Silver Cleaner
Cleaning your antique and silver jewelry is very simple and easy. But only if you use the right products. The best way to ensure your pieces' longevity is to use a frugal recipe for cleaning silver.
Instead of using harsh chemicals that might damage the finish or cause it to darken, this frugal silver cleaner uses common household ingredients like baking soda and vinegar. This method of cleaning sterling silver is simple, cheap, and doesn't use any heavy chemicals.
But how do you do it? This article will teach you how to clean sterling silver with a simple method that's easy on your hands, as well as saving you money.
What You'll Need
- Aluminum foil
- Glass baking pan
- Baking soda
- Soft, clean white rag
- Hot water
- Two tablespoon salt
- Tea kettle or coffee pot for boiling water
Line the Baking Pan with the Aluminum Foil in the Washtub
Lay down a layer of aluminum foil in the bottom of a large wash-tub for easy cleanup later. Fill your container with hot water, especially the boiling water from a coffee pot or any other container from which you can pour it safely. After that, place your jewelry on top of the aluminum foil.
Don't worry if you don't have aluminum foil, instead, use a clean aluminum lasagna-style baking dish. Make sure you throw away your dish after using it to clean the silver.
Cover Baking Pan with Boiling Water
Pour some boiling water into the baking pan that's large enough to hold your silverware, until it's more than halfway full. You will need more water if you're cleaning heavily tarnished silver. This will help restore the shine to your silver, and it will also help the boiling water dissolve the grime.
Add Salt and Baking Soda
Sprinkle in two tablespoons of salt and two tablespoons of baking soda. After sprinkling baking soda, pour some boiling water to cover the jewelry in the pan and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
Your solution will bubble and smell. The chemical reaction will cause a sulfur smell, but will not be too strong as it will go away quickly once it's done. You can also achieve a great silver polish by adding washing soda to hot water.
Add the Silver
Place your silver into the water and ensure they are touching the aluminum foil. However, the silver pieces should not touch each other. Add the dishwashing soap and let the silver set for about 12 hours. Use wooden or plastic utensils to turn over your solver pieces.
Do not use metal and avoid using your fingers in hot water to allow as many surfaces of the item to touch the aluminum foil. The chemical reaction taking place in the container should be able to eliminate dirt and stains.
Soak the Silver
Allow your silver to soak for about two to three minutes on each side. For lightly tarnished silver, you'll require several minutes for it to be restored. But for heavily tarnished silver, you may require a few treatments. So, soak heavily tarnished items for as long as five minutes and if the water cools down, don't hesitate to add more hot water, plus salt and baking soda.
Remove the Silver
Take your silver items out of the water. The tarnish should have already started to peel off, which means it's time to clean the item with a gentle brush or towel. You can use a soft cloth or paper towel for this task in case you prefer not to use your hands in hot water.
Once your silver is clean, remove it from the pan then rinse it with clean water. Let it air dry before storing away. Never use gloves when you're cleaning silver as this may cause the items to become scratched.
Tips for Keeping Your Silver Clean for Long
Shine and Polish
You need to keep your silver jewelry shiny all the time with a quick and routine washing using warm water and mild dishwashing soap. Swish your jewelry around in the water for some minutes, rinse, and then buff dry.
Avoid Bleach and Harsh Chemicals
You must not use your silver jewelry with cleaning detergent and bleach that can ruin their surface. Some jewelers suggest using vinegar and baking soda for brightening the silver's finish when cleaned at home. Vinegar is also safe for all metals, including sterling silver, but if you do not feel comfortable using it, commercial silver cleaners are also good.
Store Your Silver Jewelry in a Dry Location
Never expose your jewelry to direct sunlight or heat because it can cause tarnishing when the metal reacts with sulfur and other chemicals in the air. Store your items in a dry location if you are not wearing them regularly to stop tarnishing too.
Also, do not put your silver pieces away when they are still damp. Moisture causes silver to tarnish faster, so make sure your pieces are completely dry before storing them.
Soak the Naturally in Sea Salt
Leave the metal pieces in sea salt overnight, especially if you have already tried all-purpose cleaning products and have not noticed any improvements. Seawater is known for its high volume of natural salts that can help remove tarnish very easily. This helps clean silver naturally without damaging it.
Salt and baking soda are great cleaning products to use when you want to make your own silver polish. Combine one part salt with two parts baking soda, put them on a cloth or paper towel, and apply the mixture directly onto tarnished silver pieces.
Rub the piece gently to remove any signs of tarnishing, rinse off all the mixture, and dry the piece with a clean cloth. This homemade silver cleaner will remove tarnish without harming your silver plating.
Toothpaste also can be used in a pinch when a silver cleaner is not available. Apply a small amount of toothpaste onto a dry cloth or paper towel and apply it directly to the piece that you would like to clean. Gently rub the silver in a circular motion, rinse with water, and dry with a clean cloth. This method will remove tarnish from the silver piece without scratching it.
After you are finished cleaning your silver, make sure to properly store them so they do not tarnish again. Keep the pieces in air-tight containers and place a piece of tissue paper on top of the container before sealing it. This will help absorb any moisture that may seep into the container and cause tarnish.
Use Your Silver Jewelry
It's recommended to use silver jewelry and silverware more often as this will prevent them from tarnishing. Be sure to wipe each piece before you put it away and seal it properly in a container. If your silver is already tarnished, it may be too late for simple cleaning. If this is the case, consider taking a trip to see a professional who can remove the tarnish from your silver effectively.
FAQs on How to Clean Silver with Frugal Silver Cleaner
Can you use silver cleaner on sterling silver?
Yes, you can use silver cleaner on sterling silver. This silver cleaner quickly removes tarnish and restores shine and brilliance to your silverware.
How often do you clean your silverware?
You should be cleaning your silverware at least once per week in order to prevent tarnish. This is not only for aesthetic reasons, but because the chemicals used in most silverware can actually eat away at your skin and cause reactions that will be costly to treat.
Final Thought on How to Clean Silver with Frugal Silver Cleaner
Improper cleaning of your antique silver plate and good-quality silver jewelry can make it lose value. Therefore, it's important to know how to clean silver and the correct way of cleaning it. If you're in doubt about how to clean your valuable silver, it may be best to call in professional help.