How to Rid Tarnish from Silver Jewelry

After some time, sterling silver may turn a blackish or brownish color. This is a natural oxidation that occurs through a chemical reaction with substances in the air. It can be a pain to remove. Silver polish in liquid form or a polishing cloth may be used to remove the tarnish. The drawbacks are that it is difficult to rid the tarnish in the nooks and crannies of the jewelry. Furthermore, silver polish works by dissolving the tarnish; it actually scrubs off some silver off the surface, which can be detrimental for silver-plated jewelry.

A chemistry experiment that is gaining recognition for reversing tarnish involves using aluminum foil, baking soda and water. Place the jewelry in a foil lined dish deep enough to be covered by the mixture. Heat water to near boiling and add baking soda until it fizzes and froths, usually a few tablespoons to ½ cup. It may spill over. Pour the mixture into the dish covering the jewelry. The tarnish should disappear within minutes. Heavily tarnished jewelry may require additional treatments.

If the silver jewelry also contains precious stones or other non-silver components, professional cleaning by a jeweler is recommended.