Cleaning silver jewelry properly allows your pieces to maintain and enhance their beautiful luster. Over time, silver tarnishes from exposure to substances like sulfur and oxygen in the air. Build-up from cosmetics, skin oils, and hairspray also coats and dull silver’s shine. Following some simple steps and using the right products to clean silver jewelry so it shines again in no time.

Use A Commercial Silver Polish

Polishes and creams specifically formulated for cleaning silver jewelry are very effective in removing tarnish and buffing out surface scratches. They contain very fine abrasives to polish the silver and citric acid or a chemical polish to dissolve the tarnish. Popular brands include Wright’s Silver Cream, Hagerty Silversmiths Polish, and Goddard’s Silver Polish. To use a polish, simply follow the directions on the product. Polishes are great for routine cleaning of silver pieces.

Make A Homemade Solution

For a quick homemade solution, soak your silver jewelry item in a mixture of baking soda and water. The baking soda is a natural gentle abrasive that helps scrub tarnish off the silver surface. Mix baking soda and water in a 3:1 ratio to make a paste. Apply the paste to your sterling silver rings and other jewelry using a soft damp cloth or soft-bristled brush. Gently scrub until the tarnish is removed and then rinse with water and pat dry with a separate clean cloth. For heavily tarnished silver pieces, you may need to scrub a little harder. Baking soda cleaning can be done as frequently as needed.

Deep Cleaning Method For Sterling Silver Jewelry

Sterling silver rings add a touch of sophistication to any outfit. Its shiny and lustrous surface is what attracts most people to this precious metal. However, due to oxidation caused by exposure to air and moisture, silver pieces tend to lose their shine over time and get tarnished. Aluminum foil is a very effective material that can clean silver. It creates a chemical reaction to naturally lift the tarnish from the silver surface. Line a glass dish or bowl with a piece of crumpled aluminum foil. Add a few tablespoons of baking soda to the bottom of the dish. Place your silver jewelry pieces in the dish making sure all sides are in full contact with the foil. Pour in just enough boiling water to submerge the jewelry. The tarnish will transfer to the foil within seconds. Remove and rinse your silver pieces with cold water and pat dry with the help of a soft cloth. For heavier tarnish buildup, you may need to repeat the foil method a couple of times.

Ultrasonic Cleaner For Heavily Tarnished Pieces

For sterling silver rings and other jewelry items with excessive tarnish buildup, an ultrasonic cleaner can provide a deep and intensive clean. Ultrasonic cleaners use ultrasonic sound waves at an optimal frequency to create millions of microscopic cleansing bubbles. The bubbles penetrate deep into pores and crevices of the silver to lift out even the most stubborn tarnish and dirt. Ultrasonic cleaning solutions are typically sold with ultrasonic devices and specially formulated for cleaning silver and other metals.

Use Toothpaste For Stubborn Tarnish

Regular white toothpaste, not gel, can work great for removing tough stuck-on tarnish from silver jewelry. Gently rub the toothpaste onto the jewelry with a soft damp cloth or soft-bristled toothbrush. Scrub in small circular motions until the tarnish is lifted and then rinse thoroughly with water.

Restore The Shine With An Easy Cornflour Paste

There are simple ways to naturally clean and polish your silver jewelry and items at home. One effective method uses a cornflour paste to safely remove tarnish and restore shine to dull silver.

Prepare the paste by combining cornflour and water to form a thick, mushy texture. Apply the paste thoroughly onto your silver jewelry or utensils, covering all tarnished areas. Allow the paste to dry completely, which may take several hours. Once fully dried, gently rub the cornflour mixture away with a soft cloth or towel. This will remove any remaining tarnish while revealing the bright, polished silver underneath.

The cornflour acts as a mild abrasive that gently exfoliates surface stains on your silver without damaging the metal itself. As you rub away the dried paste, tiny particles of cornflour lift away embedded dirt and oxidation that causes tarnish.

If you do not have cornflour on hand, cream of tartar can be substituted in this recipe as an alternative. 

Quickly Polish Silver On The Go With Hand Sanitizer

When you need to quickly polish a tarnished silver ring while away from home, hand sanitizer can come to the rescue. Squeeze a small amount of hand sanitizer gel onto a soft cloth, such as a microfiber cloth or facial tissue. The gel should be enough to dampen the cloth without dripping.

Gently rub the dampened cloth in circular motions over your silver jewelry, concentrating on any areas that show signs of tarnish. The ethyl alcohol in hand sanitizer acts as a mild solvent to break up and lift away surface stains on the metal. Once you have rubbed the entire surface of the jewelry, buff the sanitizer from your silver using a dry part of the cloth. This will eliminate any film left behind and reveal a freshly polished shine.

It is important to only use this technique on plain silver jewelry without stones, as the chemicals in sanitizer could damage certain gemstones. 

Lemon Lime Soda Works Great For Slightly Tarnished Silver

For jewelry with light tarnish, submerging your silver pieces in lemon-lime soda can help restore their shine and luster. Fill a bowl with lemon-lime soda and gently place your silver jewelry into the carbonated liquid, making sure the pieces are fully submerged. Allow the jewelry to soak in the soda for one hour. The acidic soda and carbonation work together to lift surface tarnish from the silver through a chemical reaction.

After soaking, remove your silver jewelry from the soda and thoroughly rinse under clean running water. Dry the pieces using a soft, lint-free cloth or paper towel. Polish any stubborn stains with the cloth.

This method works best for silver with light oxidation or dullness on the surface of the metal. It may not be effective on heavily tarnished silver or pieces with much detail that traps dirt and stains.