Okay, sterling silver gets dirty we get that, but what’s the best way to clean it? In our opinion, as we use this method at the store, this non- toxic way is the best and you’ll have everything you need in your kitchen cabinets (and if you have kids, get them to help by telling them you’re doing a science experiment!). Here’s what you do:
1. Line a porcelain dish with tin foil (you’ll notice in the photo that it doesn’t have to completely cover the dish). Also – light a candle, not for ambiance, but because you’ll want it later on in this process. Although, hey, if you want ambiance, go nuts and light as many as you want.
2. Place your tarnished jewellery or silverware in the dish. However, please don’t use this method for pearls, opals, or emerald jewellery.
3. Using equal parts baking soda and regular table salt cover your item(s) – for jewellery you can do a few pieces at a time, silverware depends on the size – you’ll see I only did this small plate by itself. From experience, don’t do too many pieces at once.
4. Use the hottest water you can get and cover the items completely. Not quite boiling water is perfect.
5. Sit back and let science do the work! This is where you tell the kids you’re a genius as you explain that the foil, salt, baking soda and water create a chemical reaction that lifts the tarnish. You know it’s working by the sulphur smell that is now hanging in your kitchen. Aren’t you glad we suggested the candle? If the kids aren’t around, enjoy the ambiance and have a glass of wine while your silver is soaking.
6. After it’s soaked for 3-5 minutes rinse it well with warm water. If it’s still tarnished, repeat the process. I had to soak the plate pictured here twice.
7. Dry and buff with a soft cloth. You’ll want to finish by buffing your jewellery with a polishing cloth (skip that step with items you’ll be eating off or serving foods from – the chemicals in the cloth shouldn’t be ingested ?). I like a bit of patina on my silver, so you’ll notice I left some tarnish in the detailing of this plate – I love the depth it gives. As well, this plate is purely decorative, so I DID use a polishing cloth on it! BTW – we sell the most fabulous jewellery polishing cloths, ever – seriously! We found it at the JCK Jewellery show in Las Vegas, and as far as we know, we’re the only jewellers in the area (Calgary, High River, Okotoks, Nanton, Claresholm) who carry it. Come in for your free demo!
8. Sit back and enjoy how fabulous your silver looks, and maybe enjoy another glass of wine while you clean more silver!