Always, Katie: How to Clean Your Silver-Plated Jewelry (without damaging the silver plating!)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How to Clean Your Silver-Plated Jewelry (without damaging the silver plating!)

As I mentioned in my post last week about organizing my jewelry, the silver plating on several of my older pieces had tarnished... on some of them, quite a bit.  And honestly, when I'm reaching for a necklace to complete an outfit, I rarely grab the one with the weird goldish-greyish-greenish layer of funky gunk! 

For example: this Anthropologie knock-off necklace that I made two and a half years ago (time flies!)

This is what it looked like when I made it... 


And here it is, fast forward almost three years...

So sad :-(

I knew not to try to use silver polish on something silver-plated, as silver polish removes a thin layer of silver from whatever you're polishing, and the layer of silver on silver-plated jewelry findings is already super-thin to begin with.  So I searched the internet for a way to clean the gunk off my jewelry without destroying it.

I found instructions on this website and decided that it was worth a try...

Her ingredients are cheap, household items...

  • An aluminum pie plate (or a bowl with aluminum foil covering it - the aluminum is important for the chemical reaction.  Check out the link to the original article for more info on what is supposed to be going on, chemically.  I'm far from a chemist, and haven't run this by the chemists in my life yet, but it worked for me!)
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Hot water (enough to cover jewelry in the pie plate)
  • Paper towels
(Before you start - keep in mind that this process WILL ruin a purposely antiqued finish, and while some people have had great success with pieces with semi-precious stones and crystal... you never know.  So be careful.)

The procedure is easy enough.  Put one tablespoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of salt in the pie plate... pour the hot water over the soda and salt and stir to dissolve... dip your jewelry in (if it's lightly tarnished) or place it in and let it sit for a few minutes (for more heavily-tarnished pieces).  Fish the jewelry out and dry it off with the paper towels.  Very tarnished pieces may turn almost black and need a good rub down with the paper towels, but the silver underneath should be beautifully sparkly and clean! 

It may not be QUITE as good as new, BUT I'm still really excited to have a bright silver necklace that I will actually wear, as opposed to a sad, neglected, tarnished necklace.  :-)  It will also come in handy for the Katie's Closet sale I have been contemplating... I can rehab some of my more neglected pieces and hopefully sell a few of them at awesome second-hand prices. :-) 

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1 comment :

  1. I wonder if this would work on real silver platters and pitchers.


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