Polished Perfection | How to Clean Your Jewellery in 5 Minutes
I talk a lot about cleaning and maintaining your jewellery and feel like this cleaning method is my party trick.
It's so effective for cleaning dirty and dull gold, vermeil, gold-plated, sterling silver, or silver-plated jewellery (or anything that contains silver). It's quick and easy, and best of all, you are using really common household ingredients that you already have.
This method is called an ion transfer and is literally science.
We are reversing the chemical reaction that causes tarnishing by a chemical exchange between the silver and aluminum foil, which, as a result, removes the silver sulfide (tarnish).
If you read our previous blog post, you will know I touched on tarnish and what it actually is:
"Tarnish is actually the result of a chemical reaction between the silver and sulfur-containing substances in the air. The silver is combining with sulfur and then forms silver sulfide. Silver sulfide is black. When a thin coating of silver sulfide forms on the surface of silver, it darkens the silver. That's what we call 'tarnish." — Credit / The Chemistry of Silver Tarnish
You Will Need:
- Baking soda
- Boiling Hot water
- Dishwashing liquid
- A shallow bowl or baking tray
- Tin foil (aluminum foil)
- A soft cloth
Firstly, line your bowl/baking tray with foil and then place your tarnished/dirty jewellery in it, ensuring that all the pieces are touching the foil.
This is a very important step; the silver and aluminum must be in contact with each other for this to work, as it creates a small electric current flow between them.
Then, sprinkle a heaped tablespoon of baking soda and add a small amount of dishwashing liquid.
Finally, cover your jewellery with boiling/hot water.
This concoction should fizz, and the baking soda will start to dissolve... This means the chemical reaction is taking place! Leave for 2-5 minutes.
Then, carefully fish your jewellery out using a wooden spoon (don't stick a metal spoon or another type of metal in there!), rinse them in cool water, and dry using a soft cloth.
Voila! They should now be clean and sparkling.
This is also great for items other than jewellery that have tarnish or just need a clean. I've used it on op-shop vases, old electroplated silverware, and serving sets—you name it. As long as it contains silver, this method will clean it.
Please let us know how you go with cleaning your jewellery, what your results are, and if you have any questions.
Please note these are only recommendations - if in doubt please check in with your local jeweller. (when you can :)
Till next time!