How to clean silver jewelry?

- Célia Jeandel

How to clean silver jewelry?

Clean your silver jewelry with 15 gentle and effective methods

Is your silver jewelry blackened, oxidized or tarnished? The purer a piece of silver jewelry is (925, 950, 999), the more it tarnishes over time. The problem occurs because of the reaction of silver to molecules that contain sulfur or oxygen in the air. So it is oxidation that makes your sterling silver jewelry dull. This phenomenon also applies to silver kitchen utensils.

how to clean your solid silver jewelry

It is therefore necessary to clean them gently , ideally without chemicals. Rest assured, cleaning your silver ring, your silver pendant, your silver earrings or even your silver bracelet is quite simple by following a few rules or methods. Instead of using caustic and dangerous chemicals to clean silver, opt for natural and more eco-friendly ingredients instead.

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Below you will find proven natural methods for cleaning your silver jewelry .

The Best Natural Ways to Clean Your Silver Jewelry

To effectively clean your silver jewelry, bring at least

  • a soft toothbrush, even used
  • a chamois leather or a very soft cloth

Other utensils and ingredients will be recommended to you following the recipes. Now let's take action!


You can clean your silver jewelry using beer.

clean with beer solid silver jewelry ring necklace pendant bracelet silver 925

Leave the jewelry to soak overnight in a bowl filled with beer. In the morning, rinse them thoroughly then dry them with a soft cloth or chamois.


You can clean your silver jewelry with toothpaste.

clean with toothpaste solid silver jewelry ring necklace pendant bracelet silver 925

Put a small amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush, then gently scrub your silver jewelry. Rinse thoroughly under cold water, then dry with a soft, dry cloth or chamois.

Wood ash

You can clean your silver jewelry with ash.

clean with wood ash solid silver jewelry ring necklace pendant bracelet silver 925

Brush your silver jewelry with ash (reduced to powder), delicately. Rinse them and rub them with a chamois or soft cloth.


You can clean your silver jewelry with soda.

clean with sodas solid silver jewelry ring necklace pendant bracelet silver 925

Leave your silver jewelry to soak overnight in soda, such as Coca-Cola or Sprite. Rinse them and rub them with a chamois


You can clean your silver jewelry with breadcrumbs.

cleaning silver jewelry with breadcrumbs

Rubbing jewelry with bread crumbs is an old grandmother's trick to make silver jewelry shine.

Baking soda

You can clean your silver jewelry with baking soda.

clean solid silver jewelry with baking soda ring necklace pendant bracelet silver 925

Wet a toothbrush. Sprinkle it with a few pinches of baking soda. Gently rub your silver jewelry, rinse it with clean water and dry it with a chamois leather. Baking soda, like lemon and vinegar, is a component of the slightly more complex recipes that you will find below (see “Lemon juice and bicarbonate”, “Vinegar and bicarbonate” and others).

Youtube video " Clean silver jewelry radical method in 2 minutes"

Lemon juice

You can clean your silver jewelry with lemon juice.

clean solid silver jewelry with lemon juice ring necklace pendant bracelet silver 925

Citric acid is effective in removing oxidation that occurs on sterling silver; it also removes hard water stains, lime deposits, calcium and rust by breaking the bond between them and the object's surface. The citric acid in lemon juice is a natural chelating agent – ​​it traps and removes heavy metal ions – which is why it is often included as an ingredient in products made for metal cleaning. Fresh lemon juice works best because the acid is the strongest, but bottled lemon juice is effective as long as it hasn't reached its expiration date.

The citric acid in lemons is a natural cleaning agent powerful enough to make sterling silver items shine, often without even having to scrub them.

Excessive cleaning of sterling silver with lemon juice can remove the oxidation intended by the creator of the jewelry (i.e. patinas, weathered silver)

patinated and shiny silver ring

Necessary tools

To avoid creating chemical reactions with other metals, mix ingredients in glass bowls or containers; avoid using stainless steel. Do not wear latex or rubber gloves, as they contain sulfur - also found in mayonnaise, eggs, mustard, wool or onions - which discolors and tarnishes sterling silver. Use microfiber cloths or cotton flannel cloths to dry and polish silverware. To get into crevices and detailed areas, use a baby toothbrush with the lemon juice cleanser of your choice.

1. Lemon juice and powdered milk

Mix 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice with 1/2 cup of instant milk powder and 1 1/2 cups of water in a glass bowl. Soak your items overnight in the mixture. In the morning, rinse with cold water and dry with a soft microfiber or cotton flannel cloth. Double or triple the ingredients, if necessary, to accommodate larger silver pieces.

2. Lemon juice and baking soda

Create a paste with 1 part baking soda and 4 parts lemon juice - fresh or bottled - in a glass bowl. Dip a lint-free cloth into the solution and rub it over the teapot or sterling silver jewelry. Wipe the entire item with the homemade paste; when finished, rinse with clean water and dry it with another clean cloth. Lemon juice, like vinegar, reacts with baking soda to generate bubbles that can effectively clean an item if left to soak for a few minutes as well. Use the mixture immediately, as its effectiveness fades quickly when it stops bubbling.

3. Olive oil and lemon juice

Combine 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a large glass bowl large enough to place a small microfiber cloth in to absorb the homemade cleaning solution. Wring out the cloth after it is wet and use the cloth to polish the silverware. Rinse the silver items in clean water and dry them with another clean microfiber or cotton flannel cloth.

Warning from the expert:

"Do not clean opaque gemstone jewelry with lemon juice; the acid in the juice affects some gemstones. Pearls, for example, may disintegrate upon contact with the citric acid in lemon juice. The quality of the silver also affects how quickly it tarnishes; 999 graded sterling silver tarnishes much more easily because it is purer."

"Do not clean silver-plated items or fine silver with anything abrasive – such as salt and lemon juice or using baking soda paste – as this may damage the silver. Artisans of Silver often include oxidation in the design in areas with intricate detail to give depth and shading to the silver object. Be careful when cleaning these areas to avoid removing the "oxidation that was to be part of the design. Too much cleaning with lemon juice removes the artist's intended oxidation from the sterling silver pieces."

“Always scrub your silver jewelry gently when using a toothbrush soaked in lemon juice. Rinse it with clean water, then dry with a soft cloth or chamois.”

clean your jewelry rings necklaces pendants and bracelets in solid silver maintenance

White vinegar

In this section learn how to clean silver with vinegar to remove tarnish from silver jewelry or silver plated items like cutlery or a silver tray by combining vinegar with ketchup, baking soda, aluminum foil, toothpaste and other household products.

Like lemon juice, vinegar is acidic , which causes a chemical reaction when it comes into contact with tarnished silver. It makes the solution ideal for use as a silverware cleaner. Additionally, combining white vinegar with other common ingredients only increases its cleaning power.

Which vinegar-based recipe for cleaning your silverware is best for you? To help you decide, we've put together some suggestions on cleaning jewelry with vinegar. You can create all of the recipes on this list using everyday household items and make your silver polishing a breeze.

If you follow our recipes, you can learn how to clean silver jewelry with vinegar . From simple to complex, these seven cleaning recipes and tips will get your money back into shape.

Here are six easy recipes and tips for cleaning silver with vinegar

1. Pure vinegar

When cleaning silver with vinegar, do not dilute it until you have cleaned the silver.

Sometimes the simplest methods are the best. If your silver pieces have only light tarnish, try using pure distilled white vinegar for cleaning.

Simple vinegar soak

  • Non-reactive container, such as an enamel container
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • A clean cloth

Pour the vinegar into the container and place the jewelry or other silver items in it. Use enough vinegar to completely cover silver items. Allow items to soak for at least 15 minutes. After the silver pieces have soaked, rinse them with lukewarm water and dry them with the cloth, like these earrings.

solid silver earrings

2. Vinegar and baking soda

If your silver is too tarnished to clean with straight vinegar, you can boost the cleaning power of your vinegar by adding baking soda. Baking soda, also called baking soda, reacts with vinegar to produce a mildly caustic solution. Tarnished silver cleans well when soaked in a solution of vinegar and baking soda.

Vinegar and baking soda cleaning solution

  • Non-reactive container
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. tbsp baking soda
  • A clean cloth

Pour the vinegar into the container. Add the baking soda carefully to avoid boiling over from the chemical reaction. Add the silver coins and leave to soak for two or three hours. Rinse the items in lukewarm water and dry them.

Youtube video “Cleaning a silver piece with vinegar”

3. Vinegar, baking soda and tea tree

If vinegar and baking soda still leaves your silver heavily tarnished, add tea tree oil. A valuable essential oil, tea tree oil not only smells good, it is also a dynamite cleaning agent. You don't need a lot to make a big difference, either. One or two drops does the trick.

Mixture of tea tree oil, vinegar and baking soda

  • A pot or other container
  • 3 volume of vinegar
  • 1 drop of tea tree oil
  • 1 volume of baking soda
  • An old toothbrush
  • A clean cloth

Pour the vinegar into the jar and add the tea tree oil. Place your silver coins in the vinegar and oil mixture, and soak for at least eight hours. Remove the elements from the vinegar.

Coat the silver with baking soda and scrub gently. The long soak should loosen any residue, allowing the baking soda scrub to clean it away. Rinse the pieces with lukewarm water and dry them.

4. Vinegar and ketchup

It may seem strange to clean silver with ketchup, but a solution of vinegar and ketchup is a reliable way to polish silver. The ketchup makes the cleaning solution more acidic and gives the mixture a little more cleaning power.

Due to the acidity of the solution, keep an eye on your jewelry during the cleaning process to make sure you don't accidentally remove the top layer of silver along with the tarnish.

Vinegar and ketchup recipe

  • Non-reactive container
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • An old toothbrush
  • A soft fabric

Mix the vinegar and ketchup in the bowl. Immerse the jewelry in the mixture for five to ten minutes. Remove the silver coins, coat the toothbrush with the cleaning mixture and gently scrub the silver coins until the tarnish is gone. Use lukewarm water to rinse and dry the silverware.

You can also use vinegar alone or with ketchup to clean your brass jewelry. Instead of immersing your brass jewelry in the cleaner like you do for silver, instead rub some of the mixture onto your brass pieces. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

Youtube Video "How to clean silver jewelry?"

5. Vinegar and toothpaste

Toothpaste toothpaste may contain sand as a scrubbing agent, which means it may leave scratches on pure silver or gold. However, you can use it to clean silver plated items like sterling silver, costume jewelry, or to clean fake silver jewelry. Vinegar cleans tarnish, stains, body oils and other dirt.

To ensure this recipe won't damage your jewelry, it's always a good idea to test the cleaning process on an inconspicuous area before cleaning the entire piece.

Toothpaste and vinegar method

  • A jar or other container
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • Toothpaste
  • An old toothbrush
  • A clean cloth

Coat the bristles with toothpaste and gently rub the jewelry. After a few minutes, rinse them with lukewarm water. Soak the pieces in the vinegar for five to ten minutes. Rinse the pieces again and dry them.

6. Vinegar, salt, water, baking soda and foil.

When it comes to cleaning silverware, ion exchange is your friend. Ion exchange is a transfer of molecules from one object to another. In this case, the salt and vinegar mixture forces an ion exchange between the silver and the foil. The silver molecules move toward the aluminum foil, leaving behind a shiny, clean surface.

This method is so effective that it also cleans raised designs. So be careful when using this process on decorated silver, unless you are not afraid of losing some details of the design.

Vinegar and Aluminum Foil Method

  • A small saucepan
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 C. tbsp baking soda
  • 1 sheet of aluminum foil or foil
  • A clean cloth

Add the water to the pan and heat until boiling. Place the foil in the bowl, shiny side up. Pour the salt and baking soda onto the foil.

Carefully add the vinegar, then mix the ingredients in the bowl until they dissolve. Add the boiling water, and use tongs to place the silver pieces in it.

Once the silverware is clean, remove the pieces using pliers. Dry them and polish them with the cloth.

Why does this work?

When salt, baking soda, aluminum foil, and water are combined, they create a chemical reaction called ion exchange. During this process, the tarnish on the silver (silver sulfide) is converted back to silver, and the sulfide becomes aluminum sulfide on the foil. If your silver is tarnished enough, you will see a brown tarnish on the foil.

7. Clean your silver jewelry with pickle vinegar

The liquid compound that preserves pickles removes residue from jewelry.

clean solid silver jewelry with vinegar ring necklace pendant bracelet silver 925

Pickle vinegar might be the best silverware cleaner you can use. It perfectly removes oxidation and dirt. However, this solution is a strong cleaning agent, so you should follow some safety precautions to avoid splashing.

Because tap water contains solids that can react with vinegar and reduce the vinegar's effectiveness, use only distilled water in the mixture. To avoid a forceful reaction, be sure to add the vinegar to the water and salt, not the other way around.

Recipe with pickle vinegar

  • A large pot (not used for food preparation)
  • 1 cup of distilled water
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • A soft fabric

Protect your eyes with glasses and your mouth with a scarf to avoid possible splashes and mix the water and salt. Then add the vinegar. Place the saucepan on the stove and heat the liquid until it is just below boiling point. Add the silver items to the liquid and soak them until they are clean.

Remove the silver pieces from the pickle vinegar using tongs, rinse them with lukewarm water and dry them carefully with a soft cloth.

Will these vinegar recipes clean other types of metals?

Vinegar is effective for cleaning many metals other than silver. However, some metals do not need to be mixed with the same strength as silver. For example, using vinegar would not be the best way to clean pewter.

You can also simply soak your silver jewelry in a glass filled with white vinegar for 2 hours. Rinse them with water then dry them.

Advice from our grandmothers

clean your jewelry with fine stones

If your jewelry contains stones, rub them gently so as not to damage them.

The benefits of natural methods for cleaning your silver jewelry

There are several benefits to creating a silver cleaning solution as described in this article:

  • You don't need to polish silver items.
  • You don't use chemicals.
  • The results are quick and spectacular.
  • These solutions are inexpensive and use natural ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
  • These methods not only remove tarnish that occurs through contact between silver and air, but also remove factory patinas.

If you want your objects to retain their patina, do not insist on these areas and favor a local treatment rather than a global one (stick to a toothbrush and a soft cloth rather than a full soak).

Take advantage of these tips and tricks to clean your silver ring, clean your silver earrings, clean your silver bracelet or even clean your silver pendant necklace.

Do you have any comments, other tips or feedback on cleaning silver jewelry? Do not hesitate to leave us your comment.

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