Why does silver become dull over time and how can we make it sparkle again?
First, we should understand why our silver pieces turn a dull dark color, which is what is referred to as tarnish.
- Tarnish is a result of the silver in our material reacting to the sulfur that is found in the air around us.
- As we leave our silver jewelry out in the open, the movement of air (in particular sulfur) is what causes this change of color and appearance.
- The silver reacts with the sulfur particles to form silver sulfide, which is black in color.
- The longer the silver piece has been left out unprotected, the more surface reacts with sulfur and becomes silver sulfide, which is the dull grey black color we often see on our silver items when they've been exposed to pollutants in the air around us.
How to clean your silver/silver-plated items?
- You will need:
- The tarnished silver item you want to clean.
- Baking soda (any brand is fine, but for this demonstration I used Arm & Hammer).
- Kitchen/baking foil
- A bowl or any container that is big enough to place the silver in and immerse it in the solution.
Boiling hot water.
NB* If the piece of silver has been left out for a while and has almost completely tarnished, it will take more than a few tries to clean it. You can try adding more baking soda and pouring out the water once it's cold and replacing it with boiling hot water. This is because the reaction of removing the silver sulfide takes place faster if the solution is warm.
This is my preferred way of removing tarnish from my jewelry pieces at home. It also protects the item as you're not removing the top layer of the silver.