How to Clean Tarnished Jewelry
Posted on 06 April 2017
You wear it to work, on a date, while hanging out with your friends, or just on an ordinary day. It’s your favorite necklace, bracelet, or other piece of jewelry, and it always adds something extra to your outfit—until it starts looking a little off color. Over time, it’s natural for jewelry to become dull, but this doesn’t mean it can’t be worn ever again. If you’ve ever wondered how to clean tarnished jewelry, you’re in luck.
PURPOSE Jewelry is fashion jewelry and is made of base metals and then plated. Therefore, as time goes on and you are continuously wearing the jewelry, you might experience a slight change in the color. You can restore your custom, handcrafted jewelry back to their former glory via a few easy methods.
What Causes Jewelry to Become Tarnished?
Tarnish occurs on silver and other jewelry when the surface of the piece combines with sulfur, body oils, makeup, sweat, and other outside substances. In the case of silver jewelry, when silver combines with sulfur it creates silver sulfide, which looks black.
There are varying degrees of tarnish, making your pieces look slightly dull or completely blackened. Being out in the world means being bombarded with all kinds of particles and substances over time. Just as you would need to clean up after a long day, so does your jewelry!
Transforming Your Tarnished Jewelry
Fortunately, there are a number of options for how to clean tarnished jewelry effectively. Whether you’re working with handcrafted jewelry, costume jewelry, or the real deal, these cleaning hacks will turn your tarnished jewelry back to their bright and shiny selves in no time.
Silver Cleaning Cloth: Perhaps the easiest way to turn tarnished silver jewelry back to normal state is to use a cleaning cloth. These little miracles need only to be rubbed gently over your silver jewelry and other precious metals to restore them to their former beauty. You can find these cleaning cloths at your local silver store or online, where they can be bought in bulk for under $15.
What’s more, a single cleaning from the cloth can last for months of frequent wear and use without your jewelry pieces turning dull again. Keep them around for simple touch ups or full on cleanings and be amazed at how well they work.
White Vinegar and Water: This one’s great for cleaning costume jewelry because it leaves them looking hyper-glossy and clean. Simply combine equal parts white vinegar and water in a bowl and get a soft toothbrush to really get into the corners and crevices if the piece contains holes, grooves, gems, etc.
Soak the brush in the solution and then get to gently brushing every tarnished area of the piece until you start seeing some improvement. If you like, you can also soak the piece in the solution for a few minutes before gently brushing or sponging it clean.
A Dip in A Salt Bath: This solution is great for cleaning silver jewelry, and it’s easy to do on your own. Before starting, however, check to see if the jewelry that needs cleaning will be okay soaking in a saltwater solution. Most stones and gems should be okay, as well as most all precious metals, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Once you’ve checked everything out, boil two cups of water and place in a bowl. Add in a tablespoon of salt and wait for it to dissolve completely, then take a sheet of aluminum foil, shred a few pieces, and place them in the bowl. The combination of the aluminum and salt will react with the silver, removing the tarnish to reveal a gorgeously shiny surface.
Warm Bubble Bath: That’s right—a bubble bath can totally remove the tarnish from your jewelry. This works for both silver and gold jewelry as well as precious stones and is one of the simpler DIY methods of cleaning light to heavy tarnish. Using a mild dish soap of your preferred scent, combine soap and warm water in a bowl until the solution is foamy.
Next, place the jewelry into the bowl and allow to soak for about thirty minutes. You can add multiple pieces to the solution if needed, but be careful not to overcrowd it. Once the time is up, remove pieces one by one and place in a second bowl of pure water to rinse. You can then gently scrub the pieces with a soft toothbrush until tarnish is removed and piece is no longer soapy. Place the pieces on a clean cloth to air dry.
To prevent further tarnishing and other damage, be sure to clean your jewelry regularly, and practice proper care. This includes taking steps to prevent damage, such as removing jewelry when you wash your hands, storing jewelry in proper boxes to avoid prolonged air exposure, and removing jewelry during strenuous activities to avoid scratches, dents, and other issues.
As you can see, there are various ways to clean tarnished jewelry of all kinds, giving your favorite pieces a second lease on life!