I’ve read about an easy do it yourself way to clean up tarnished sterling silver jewelry. I finally got around to trying it today.
– a piece of aluminum foil
– boiling water, 1-2 cups
– baking soda, 1 Tablespoon per cup of boiling water
– some tarnished silver jewelry to clean
Crumple up the foil really well, place in an empty bowl, and nestle each piece of jewelry into the foil so it is making good contact with the foil. This is really important to ensure the electrochemical reaction required to clean the silver.
Boil the water, add baking soda, stir well and then pour into the bowl with jewelry and foil. The chemical reaction to remove the tarnish from the silver will bubble while it’s happening.
Wait 15 minutes or so. Remove jewelry and rinse well.
Tarnish results from silver reacting with sulfur-laden substances in the air, forming black silver sulfide on the surface of the silver. This technique reverses that reaction, causing the sulfur to instead move to the aluminum in the foil.
Wasn’t that easy?! 🙂