Cleaning silver with baking soda is one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to remove stains from the precious metal.
Preserving Silver's Shine
There's nothing more disheartening than spending a fortune on silver items and watching them tarnish before your very eyes. Unfortunately, silver tarnishes when exposed to air. It's part of a chemical reaction that affects a variety of silver pieces, from jewelry to flatware.
Sterling silver is an alloy that is mostly silver, but is mixed with a bit of copper. Meanwhile, plated silver features its own combination of silver and other metals. Regardless of the make-up of your silver items, you will have to clean them from time to time to preserve their original shine.
Tips for Cleaning Silver with Baking Soda
Environmental advocates are not fond of commercial silver cleaners, as many contain toxins that can harm the planet. If you are an eco-friendly cleaner, then you might consider a safer method of keeping your silver items radiant.
Cleaning silver with baking soda is one of the most popular ways to rid the metal of dirt, grime, oils and tarnish. There are three methods of doing use baking soda to clean silver.
Follow these steps to get your silver to shine without breaking the bank:
- Line a large bowl with aluminum foil, making sure that the shiny side is facing towards you.
- Place the soiled silver items into the foil-lined bowl.
- Pour very hot water into the bowl to cover the silver items.
- Add two heaping tablespoons of baking soda to the water until it begins to bubble.
- Allow the silver items to soak in the baking powder mixture for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the silver pieces from the water.
- Rinse well, making sure that all of the baking soda is removed from the crevices of the silver items.
- Dry well before storing.
This method works best on smaller silver items, such as rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
This method works best on larger silver items:
- Combine half a box of baking soda with water to form a paste.
- Dip a soft, damp cloth or a clean sponge into the paste and rub it onto the dirty silver items. If the items are heavily stained, leave the paste on for a while.
- Thoroughly rinse the silver with water.
- Dry well before storing.
This method calls for aluminum foil, baking soda, and salt:
- Place a pan on the stove and heat.
- Add a sheet of aluminum foil to the bottom of a pan.
- Add two to three inches of water to the pan.
- Add one teaspoon baking soda and one teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil.
- Add silver pieces and boil for about four minutes, making sure the mixture covers the silver pieces.
- Remove silver items with tongs.
- Rinse well with clean water.
- Dry and buff silver items with a soft cloth.
Additional Cleaning Tips
Rubber and silver are archenemies, so it is not wise to use rubber gloves when cleaning the precious metal. Instead, wear plastic or cotton gloves when cleaning silver with baking soda. Also, do not store silver items in containers or cabinets or drawers that feature rubber seals or rubber bands.
Other enemies of silver include:
- Salad dressing
- Fruit juices
To reduce the amount of time you will have to spend cleaning your silver pieces, avoid having the aforementioned items come into contact with them.
Finally, if your silver has stains that won't come out using baking soda, then consult a silversmith to repair the damage.