These areas can be particularly difficult to clean, and many jewelry owners will simply opt to have their jewelry cleaned by a professional jewelry cleaner. This can be an expensive option, however, and those working with a fixed income budget may find it too expensive for them to consider. If you’re looking for some effective techniques to clean your sterling silver earrings or other jewelry, we have a few tips for you. These techniques are an effective way to clean sterling silver and can be done for a fraction of the cost of taking your jewelry into a professional jewelry cleaner.
The main issue with sterling silver is its tendency to tarnish. Tarnishing occurs when silver comes into contact with sulfur, which is a common element that can be found in our environment. This produces a dark substance on the silver known as silver sulfide.
There are many polishing compounds which can be used to remove silver sulfide, but these compounds have a tendency to wear down the silver itself, which over time will show the wear and tear on your jewelry since you actually lose some of the silver every time you polish it. However, there is a technique with which you can clean your silver that does not require any polishing or rubbing, allowing you to restore the luster of the silver without losing any of the jewelry’s mass in the process.
You will need a glass or some other container which can hold boiling water without melting, aluminum foil, and sodium carbonate, (commonly known as washing soda.) Line the bottom and sides of the container with the aluminum foil, boil enough water to submerge your jewelry in, and pour the water into the aluminum foil-lined container. Add a few tablespoons of the sodium carbonate to the hot water and allow it to dissolve. Once the sodium carbonate has completely dissolved into the water, place your silver jewelry into the mixture, making certain that each piece has settled onto the aluminum foil. It is important to ensure that one or more pieces of jewelry is not sitting on top of another, but actually in contact with the aluminum foil. You will notice the solution start to bubble and emit steam, as well as an unfortunately foul smell. Allow your jewelry to soak in the solution for about a minute, then remove and rinse with cold water. Your silver jewelry should now be shining like new.
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