How to Clean Sterling Silver - Baking Soda and Aluminum Foil Technique
There are many different methods to help you keep your silver jewelry shiny and tarnish free, and it is our experience that all cleaning methods have both advantages and disadvantages. We find that the Baking Soda and Aluminum Foil technique is a simple, organic and cost effective way to clean and polish your sterling silver jewelry. ARhAyas recommends that you perform your own research before using the below “baking soda and aluminum” cleaning technique.
Method Baking soda is activated by boiling water in the presence of aluminum, which dislodges the tarnish by making it bind with the aluminum, leaving the sterling silver clean and shiny again. This technique is not suggested for pieces that contain stones/gems/non-silver additions.
You will need:
- Plastic or glass bowl (glass bowl must be able to take very hot/almost boiling water)
- Baking Soda
- Aluminum Foil (or use aluminum pans for baking instead of plastic/glass container)
- A Wood or plastic utensil
- Line the bottom of a plastic bowl/container with aluminum foil. Alternatively you can just use an aluminum pan for baking (instead of the foil).
- Place the silver jewelry in the container.
- Cover the silver jewelry with 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda.
- Boil and pour enough boiling water to immerse the jewelry. Bubbling should occur, giving off a rotten-egg type odor (the sulfuric gases released by the cleaning action).
- Move the piece(s) around gently with the utensil to ensure that all of the silver surfaces come into contact with the aluminum. You will notice that the silver has become bright again.
- Please use caution during this next step when handling your jewelry as it may be very hot. Rinse the jewelry under tap water. To ensure that you don't lose small pieces like earrings and pendants, put a sieve over the drain to catch anything that may slip off your utensil or fingers.
- Wipe the pieces gently with an absorbent towel and polish with a soft cloth.
- Store silver in plastic bags with zipper locks.
Tips to keeping your silver "tarnish free" longer
- To minimize tarnishing, store sterling silver in a moisture-free environment. To assist with this you can find moisture-absorbent packets in some merchandise such as shoes, medication and accessories that are sensitive to moisture. Reuse these packets by putting some in your jewelry box to minimize tarnish on your sterling silver pieces.
- Use plastic bags with zipper locks, anti-tarnish strips (available at jewelry stores) or moisture-absorbent products (available in some pharmacies)
- Do not wear rubber gloves when working with your silver, as rubber is corrosive to silver.
This cleaning technique is for your personal exploration and educational purposes only. We cannot be held responsible for any damage that may occur to jewelry pieces as a result of using the above technique.