Cleaning Silver Jewelry At Home: An Experiment

The other day I wanted to wear this silver necklace, but when I got it out of my jewelry box, it was covered in tarnish. Dang it. What am I supposed to do with it now? Enter: Irritated Confusion, The Mother of All Googling.

Tarnished necklace

Underside of tarnished necklace

I looked up “homemade silver cleaner” and found a method that used ingredients I already had at home: foil, salt and baking soda.

Cleaning Silver Jewelry At Home


Here are the instructions I followed:

  1. Get a bowl and line it with foil
  2. Get some HOT water and pour enough into the bowl that it would completely submerge your jewelry (when I first tried this, I was in my bathroom and used the hottest water out of the tap)
  3. Add equal parts salt and baking soda – about a 1/2 tablespoon each – to the water. Expect fizzy bubbles
  4. Submerge jewelry in solution (it smelled fart-y when I first put my necklace in! I don’t know what kind of chemical reaction was happening to give off that smell, but I sure felt embarrassed about it – do my body oils smell like fart?!)
  5. Wait 5 minutes
  6. If needed, turn your jewelry over to the other side
  7. Take your jewelry out and rub it dry with a clean cloth


After waiting the five minutes, I definitely saw a difference. But there was still a massive amount of tarnish in the nooks and crannies of my necklace. I thought maybe it hadn’t been as affective because I didn’t use hot enough water, so I went downstairs, boiled some water in the microwave and started the process again. This time, when I added the salt and baking soda, there was a lot of fizzing and bubbles – way more compared to using hot tap water.

Anyway, I checked my necklace again after another 5 minutes, and though even more tarnish was removed, it was not enough for me to consider this experiment a complete success.

Disappointed, but still hopeful, I tried a THIRD time. I decided to risk it all and let my necklace soak in a fresh batch OVERNIGHT (PLEASE NOTE: I do NOT recommend you do this because I do NOT want to be blamed for possibly ruining your jewelry! So don’t do it unless you feel like a rebel!).

So did it work? You be the judge:

Side view of cleaned silver necklace

Bottom of cleaned silver necklace

As you can see, about 85% of the tarnish was removed throughout the whole process, but there was still some hanging on in the deeper crevices of my necklace. I don’t know if my necklace was just too heavily tarnished to try and clean with homemade ingredients, but it did remove a lot of the crud. If my necklace hadn’t been as tarnished, or if it had a smoother, less detailed surface, maybe all the tarnish would’ve been removed. Who knows? As it stands, I give this little experiment a four out of five star rating. Not too shabby!

Will you be giving it a try?


2 thoughts on “Cleaning Silver Jewelry At Home: An Experiment”

    1. Oh, I know that life, Lala! Only recently have I started to *attempt* to wear eyeshadow. I’m so out of practice, I looked like a raccoon on one side and squinty on the other! Total. Fail.

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