Silver is a metal we have used for centuries, known for its elegant look. It has been a part of our dishes, jewelry, myths and legends. The downside of silver is the fact it is a delicate metal, more fragile than other commonly-used ones in our household. It can easily tarnish, which means it needs to be cleaned on semi-regular basis. Cleaning it is not as hard as it sounds however, as you often don’t need much to do the job the right way. Here are some tips on how you can do that, using natural products you can find pretty much anywhere.
Why does silver become tarnished? That happens when the metal oxidizes when it becomes exposed to air. Humidity can speed up the process, making it darker and darker as time goes by. The biggest offenders around your home that contribute to the tarnishing process are things like fruit juice, eggs, salt, olives, vinegar, salad dressings or even rubber. Here are some of the more common, time-tested ways of cleaning silver:
• Aluminum foil, baking soda and salt method
Take a sheet of aluminum foil and place it in a pan, adding enough water to cover the object you are cleaning. Next you need to mix a tablespoon of water with a tablespoon of baking soda. Add those to the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Add in your silver object and let it boil like that for about 2-3 minutes worth. Make sure you have the piece covered by the water. Remove the water from the stove, then rinse the pieces and buff them to a shine.
• Toothpaste method
You can use this way to clean hard to reach places on silver objects. Coat your silver with some toothpaste and run it under warm water to produce some froth. Rub the item and rinse it while doing so. You can use a soft-bristle toothbrush that won’t damage its surface. When you are done you should buff it with a cloth with the appropriate softness.
• Cleaning with alkalies
Alkalies are capable of removing the tarnish from copper, brass and silver. Wood ash, baking soda and washing soda are alkalies, capable of removing the tarnish with ease. You can mix the cleaner of your choice with water until you have a thin paste. Coat the jewelry or object with the paste and rub it with a cleaning cloth, rinsing it off afterward. Dry it and if the tarnish warrants it, try again and again until the silver is once again shiny and beautiful.
• Regular cleaning
This is required if you want your objects to look nice and shiny. It is doubly more important for jewelry. Clean them after use with a fully cotton piece of cloth so you can remove any dirt, sweat and more from it. Sweat contains salt, which in term helps build up tarnish.
You can also use a silver polish or spray to clean the tarnish if you don’t trust household products. If your jewelry has gemstones you should be extra careful with them as they can get easily scratched by abrasive treatments such as baking soda or toothpaste.
Stella Benett is a 32 years old passionate blogger and freelancer but before all she is a lovely mother and wife. As every housewife Stella has no free time and often does a lot of things at the same time. She loves cleaning the house in Colindale because it gives her a sense of ‘pleasure’ and ‘achievement’.