Sunday, February 10, 2013

Clean your sterling silver jewelry naturally, without toxic chemicals!

First, let me show you what I have always used to clean my silver & gold jewelry. For years & years & years & years:

I opened up the silver cleaner the other day & gagged. The odor is horribly intense & there is a warning on the jar itself stating the solution is dangerous. I was pretty much over it. I sat down at the computer & did some googling on how to clean sterling silver naturally. I'm not linking back to any one site because I went to numerous sites & basically, they all say the same thing. So I pulled out the ingredients & got busy.

A friend warned me that she tried this experiment with her silver jewelry & it ruined her pieces. The difference is, her recipe (she got off Pinterest) called for vinegar. Not one of the recipes I found called for vinegar, so that may have been her problem (some of them did call for salt, but I didn't use that, either). None the less, I chose 3 very old, very tarnished pieces to start with, just in case they, too, ruined. The earrings I don't think I have ever worn. My ears are too fat (now you know by now I have a 'fat ear' problem, which is why I have so many piercings), so they've just been thrown in my jewelry collection for 15+ years. The ring I've worn a few times, but not many. No biggie if any of these got ruined.

Here are the supplies you need:

Baking Soda
Hot, hot water
Bowl or pot

The first procedure I tried called for a bowl, with "wadded up" foil in it, & then 1 or 2 tblsp. baking soda.

Place jewelry in bowl & then add very hot water. Within minutes, bubbles begin to form on the tarnished pieces. The aluminum with the baking soda acts as a magnet to remove/reverse tarnish.

Was pretty cool, actually!

As you can see, my pieces were really tarnished & the procedure was taking quite some time, so I went back & read some of the other sites. Most of them mentioned placing the jewelry directly on the foil (vs. on the baking soda), so I changed procedures.

I got a pot, put enough water in it to cover my jewelry & let it boil. I then removed it from the heat. I put a piece of foil in it & tossed my pieces in. At this point, I threw in 2 more earrings & a ring, just for fun.

Then, I sprinkled on baking soda. I didn't really measure, I just kept sprinkling until I thought there was an adequate amount.

You can see how good they are looking - by this time (maybe 20 minutes?), the tarnish was really coming off!

Because my pieces were in such bad shape, I just let them sit in the mixture. I even put my hand in a few times & swished them around & then let them sit longer. I didn't time how long it took, as I was playing games with my kids while the pieces sat, but I'm guessing about 40 minutes total. Obviously, the longer they sat, the more untarnished they became. When I thought they were done, I pulled them out!

They look pretty darn good! I then washed them off with soap & water & dried them with a towel.

I was having a hard time getting a good, lighted photo, that really showed how revived & new they look! This is as good as I could get & I think they look fantastic!! They're so pretty again!

Out with my toxic jewelry cleaners! I'll use this simple, inexpensive procedure from now on. No more icky, harmful chemicals! I don't really think it matters which procedure you use, but I think the boiling water might work a tad faster. And, placing the pieces on the foil & then adding baking soda. I think it's more the ingredients that make it successful versus the technique. And of course, depending on the condition of your pieces, the less tarnished = the less time it will take.

Happy silvering!

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Linking up with:  Not Just A Housewife, Home Stories A to Z, Under the Table and Dreaming, Alderberry Hill, Uncommon Designs, HuckleberryLove, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, House of Hepworths, The Shabby Nest, Between Naps on the Porch, A Bowl Full of Lemons, House of Rose, Mary Organizes


Tricia said...

That's awesome!! I'm going to give it a try on some of my cheap pieces for using it on my good stuff. LOL

angsays said...

I have heard of this method for silver pots and such but I never thought of this for sterling silver. I think this post just ended my aversion to buying sterling silver jewelry. Thanks!
I found you via Not Just a Housewife linky.


Bonnie and Trish @ Uncommon said...

I tried this technique on my tea service and it totally works! Your jewelry is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing with us at Monday Funday!

Take care,


Tina Pippo said...

Wonderful tutorial! I loved the outcome!
Great post!! I included it in my post Βόλτα στη Γειτονιά #22 :)
Have a great week!!

Julia Kendrick said...

Oh wow, Melissa! That is great! I am going to have to try this soon!! Pinned for later. Julia

Rita said...

Love this idea. I am pinning it to try out later! Thanks for sharing.

Mary White said...

this worked amazing! i didn't even realize that some of my charms were tarnished until they shone so beautifully after this procedure. so easy to do!

K Saelens said...

This worked great - thanks for the tip! Just a note to be careful with opals - I had one that ended up cloudy looking after the baking soda bath.

Gra8ful*Mom said...

So, this is working but smells really bad! Any chance these fumes are harmful?

EndlessThoughts said...

It's baking soda and water. It's far from harmful or toxic.