The owners of stylish silver-white jewelry know how to clean silver at home so that it shines again, as when buying. Of course, this can be done quickly and effortlessly in a jewelry workshop. However, professional cleaning costs money, and products from this metal darken quite often.
If we talk about silverware, it is unlikely that someone will contact the jeweler every time before setting the festive table. Therefore, it will be useful for everyone who has silver at home - be it jewelry or cutlery - to learn how to bleach silver at home.
Why is silver getting dark
In the East, it is believed that if the silver jewelry turned black, then they wanted to spoil the owner. That is, a bracelet, earring or ring took on negative energy, thereby protecting a person. Many believe that the product darkened during wear is the result of nervous overload, stress and illness. At the same time, science has proved that silver sulfides cause blackness, which are formed on the surface of products when they come in contact with sulfur. A reasonable question: how can silver jewelry “meet” with sulfur?
Sulfur is found in human sweat. By the way, increased sweating is characteristic of stressful conditions and some diseases. Sulfur also contains many cosmetics. Mostly these are creams, ointments and other cosmetics designed to care for problem skin.
Another problem that silverware owners face is dullness and the loss of their original radiance. Jewelry ceases to shine due to pollution, dust and greasy plaque, which is formed after daily contact with the skin. Jewelry also dusts when stored improperly. It is best to place rings, earrings or bracelets in the box, laid out in plastic bags or wrapped in foil.
Tip: in order to think less often about how to clean silver from blackness and dust, you should observe precautionary measures - remove silver jewelry before active training, before visiting a bath and sauna, before applying cosmetics and store them correctly.
How to restore silver shine
To freshen the appearance of the jewelry or lighten it, one should proceed from the reasons that caused its darkening, as well as assess the degree of contamination. The cleaning method, solution, and, as a result, the ingredients will depend on this.
The most well-known tools that have been tested over the years to effectively clean silver at home include:
- laundry soap;
- dishwashing liquid;
- baking soda;
- citric acid;
- hydrogen peroxide;
- table vinegar.
In addition, useful:
- cotton pads;
- aluminium foil;
- soft toothbrush with cropped bristles;
- soft cloth;
- a piece of suede.
Laundry soap or detergent for dishes (they can also be replaced with detergent or shampoo) can wash off the grease film, which eventually begins to cover silver jewelry constantly worn on the body, such as a body cross, favorite earrings or a ring. Silver can be bleached with ammonia, or rather with ammonia solution (ammonia), table vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
Baking soda and toothpowder act as a light abrasive to effectively remove dirt.And boiling products with citric acid (or baking soda) and foil allows you to clean jewelry or table silver in a chemical way in large quantities. Therefore, this option is often used when removing dark plaque from silver cutlery from sets for 6, 12 people - it allows you to quickly clean a lot of objects, rather than manually polishing each fork or spoon.
We clean jewelry with stones and without
Before you clean a silver chain at home or other jewelry, it is worthwhile to assess the degree of contamination: whether they have only dimmed or are darkened. You can remove the grease film, the dust layer and clean small clogs in the recesses by preparing a soap solution and treating the product with a toothbrush. If you need a way to clean the silver from blackness, after a soap treatment, you should conduct a lightening procedure. Detailed instructions with norms and time will be discussed below.
It is also important to know how to clean silver earrings or a stone ring. Depending on what stones the product is decorated with, a cleaning solution is also chosen. The softer the stone, the more carefully it should be cleaned. You can find out how hard and scratch resistant it is by finding the appropriate name in the table compiled on the Mohs mineralogical scale.
If the stone index is below 5, then it can only be cleaned with soapy water and in no case should you use abrasives (toothpowder, baking soda). For example, the malachite index is 3.5-4, coral and pearls are 3-4, and amber is 2-3. When cleaning jewelry inlaid with these stones, you should be very careful not to scratch them.
However, knowing the Mohs index is not enough. Many precious and semi-precious colored stones can change, and sometimes lose their color under certain conditions. For example, topaz. Its hardness is 8. However, when cleaning it is impossible to use products containing chlorine, soak in hot water and even more so boil.
For cleaning, prepare a soap solution at room temperature (21-25 ° C) or use the method of how to clean silver with ammonia. This method is also applicable to jewelry with cubic zirconia and zircons - one of the most common "neighbors" of silver.
Tip: when thinking about how to clean a silver ring or earrings with stones, pay attention to their fastening. If they are only glued but not fixed, the product must not be soaked. It should be limited to wiping with a cotton pad soaked in the prepared solution, brushing with a toothbrush or polishing with an abrasive-containing slurry, without affecting the "finicky" stones.
I would like to pay special attention to how to clean the cross. The cross can be decorated with stones, so when cleaning it, you must follow the rules for products with inserts. Also, before cleaning it is important to make sure that the cross is made of silver.
A common material that looks like silver from which a cross can be made is tin. However, the tin cross cannot be cleaned in the same way as silver. Therefore, it is important to verify the presence of a sample, which will indicate that the cross is made of silver.
Step-by-step methods for cleaning jewelry
Before cleaning silver - whether it be a chain, ring or cross-stitch, inspect your jewelry in the light of the information given above, and proceed to cleaning, choosing what suits one or another type of product.
- Prepare a washing solution or soap slurry.
For products without inserts or jewelry with stones that tolerate the effects of ammonia, a washing solution is suitable. Otherwise, it is better to use soap gruel. Also, soaking in gruel is a great way to clean a silver chain at home. Soap penetrates each link and makes the mud soak.
Washing solution: 1 tsp dishwashing detergent (or 1 tbsp. laundry detergent, or 1 tsp. shampoo) + 1 cup boiling water + 1 tsp. ammonia.
Soap gruel: grate laundry soap on a coarse grater or cut with a knife. Add some hot water. After the soap chips swell, you can soak the jewelry in it.
Silver items can be kept in a washing solution or soap gruel from 15 minutes to 10 hours. Time depends on the intensity of pollution.
- After the mud is wet, you can clean its remains with a toothbrush. In this case, you should go through all the recesses, engraving, clasps, links that the chain has, and other hard-to-reach elements.
- Rinse jewelry under a stream of clean water and dry them.
- Polish silverware with soda or tooth powder. To do this, take a cotton pad, lightly moisten it with water and soak in tooth powder or soda. Rub the silver with a disc to clean the black. Rinse under running water.
- Dry the jewelry and polish it with a suede cloth.
The method described above takes time. If you need to quickly freshen up the appearance of silver jewelry, a silver cleanser such as table vinegar is suitable. It is enough to heat it slightly (up to 34-36 ° С) and lower it in a bowl with vinegar for 5-10 minutes. Then the jewelry must be washed, dried and polished.
Tip: before you clean the silver earrings, pay attention to the following moment - if an unpleasant smell emanates from the earrings, and their surface is covered with a gray-green coating, treat them with hydrogen peroxide, directly dropping it on the pollution. It is also useful to wipe the earlobes with a cotton swab moistened with hydrogen peroxide to prevent re-contamination of the earrings.
We clean table silver
An effective and spectacular way of cleaning silver - with foil and baking soda - allows you to clean many products at once, so they are often used to brighten table silver. Silver and aluminum make up a galvanic couple. As a result of the reaction, which takes place at an elevated temperature, sulfur ions leave silver and pass onto aluminum foil.
In this case, baking soda is needed in order to “release” aluminum from under the oxide film, which the foil is coated at the factory.
- Place the appropriate sized dishes on the included stove, cover its bottom with cling film. Prepare a solution: for every 450 ml of water, take 3 tsp. baking soda (or citric acid). When the water begins to boil, put silver on the bottom of the dishes.
- Products are cleaned right before your eyes! Silver shine replaces blackness.
- Once the cutlery has lightened, carefully remove them from boiling water and rinse in clean water. Then wipe dry.
- This way you can clean many forks and spoons at once. You only need to choose the right dishes and pour so much water so that it completely covers the cutlery. When pouring water, count ml - proportionately they should increase the amount of soda (citric acid).
It’s easy to clean silver at home. You just need to remember the basic principles: to pay attention to stones and follow the rules for the preparation of solutions. And the necessary ingredients are found in every home.