Why does silver turn black and does it mean it’s of poor quality?
Do you like silver jewelry? Earrings, chains and bracelets made of this material look really elegant. At the same time, they are highly durable, so they can be passed down for generations. Silver often appears in form of household accessories. Silverware, silver vases and mirror frames can be found in many homes. The material offers a lot of possibilities - especially that it is very universal and matches with basically anything.
Unfortunately, even the highest quality silver turns black after some time. Some call this process tarnishing. It results from chemical reactions between the material and the air. Silver accessories often have contact with water, perfumes and cosmetics. One can easily note a delicate tarnish appearing on the elements as a result. It doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of them! Absolutely not! You just have to clean the silver at home to restore its old shine.
How to take care of silver so that you don’t have to clean it so often?
If you want to keep the silver in good shape, it has to be polished regularly and correctly stored. By polishing your silver, you remove stains and dirt which is prevalent in the air. Make sure to do it using a very soft fabric. A microfibre cloth is the best choice, in this case. Thanks to this you can avoid possible scratches that might affect aesthetics of items like trays and mirror frames.
As for correct storage, it’s easier when it comes to silver jewelry. Just invest in a special box and soft fabric pouches for your treasures. You can do the same thing with your silverware if it’s not used daily. Silver elements typically wait for special occasions. You can put them in a box and protect with a delicate material - of course after polishing them first.
Mirror frames and other decorations are a little bit more difficult in storage. Hiding them doesn’t make the slightest sense - so make sure to take a good care for them - regularly cleaned and polished silver looks perfect.
Silver cleaning at home - is it a good idea?
Many people feel anxious about cleaning silver at home. But in fact, there’s nothing to fear. The task is not very complicated, and if you follow each step carefully, as recommended by specialists, you don’t have to worry about damaging the silver elements.
If you still feel stressed out before cleaning silver for the first time - try more delicate methods first. Using store-bought products is one of them. This way, you don’t have to experiment - it’s a silver cleaning solution used by jewellers.
Cleaning silver with baking soda - quick and easy
Baking soda is the absolute essential that should be in every house - the more, the better. You can use it not only to clean a burnt pot or whiten curtains. It’s also perfect for silver cleaning. Using soda, you can remove a slight patina but also an old, black layer of tarnish on silverware or a chain. Because it’s quite a strong substance - you have to be careful not to damage the silver elements. To prevent this, simply stick to the instructions.
So-called bath is the quickest way to clean silver with baking soda. Add one teaspoon of soda (no more) per one glass of warm water. Stir the mixture so that the powder dissolves and dip a silver element in the liquid. As the tarnish breaks up, small bubbles appear on the surface. About 3 minutes in such liquid is just enough. After taking the silver out of the glass, put it away and leave it to dry. Polish the silver afterwards using a clean cloth.
Cleaning silver with aluminium foil - is it safe?
Cleaning silver with aluminium foil should be used with objects made entirely of this material - without any additions. The method is much better for silverware than jewelry. Furthermore, it’s suggested to use this method only when the stains are so big and dark that no other method can remove them. Why? It involves a very strong reaction. For this reason, it’s not advised to use it for delicate and only slightly stained elements.
How to clean silver with aluminium foil?
- Prepare a dish which you’re going to use for cleaning. It’s best if it’s made of glass.
- Cover the bottom of the glass with aluminium foil.
- Prepare a silver cleaning solution in a separate dish - you are going to use it later. You’ll need a glass of very hot water, half a glass of vinegar, 4 teaspoons of salt and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Mix everything together.
- Put the silver elements you want to clean on the foil in the dish and pour the prepared solution over it.
This method is a bit longer, as it’s recommended to wait until it cools down. You can take the silver elements afterwards and put them aside for drying. It’s advised to polish the silver too.
The whole dirt that remained on the silverware or other accessories remains on the aluminium foil. After the cleaning, you can see how dirty the elements were.
Cleaning silver with toothpaste - is it effective?
Cleaning silver with toothpaste and toothbrush is one of the least invasive methods, although you have to be careful not to scratch the delicate elements. We recommend buying a toothbrush for children - with very delicate bristles for this purpose. Using a large and thick makeup brush might be a good idea as well. This way, you eliminate the risk of scratching.
As it turns out, the toothpaste is also an important element. The one you use every day might not necessarily be the best choice. Whitening products are not recommended, as the small particles might scratch a silver surface. As suggested by specialists, use toothpaste for delicate teeth of for sensitive gums.
After delicately cleaning the silver with toothpaste, rinse the elements to remove the remains of the product and leave them to dry. Then, you can polish them with a soft cloth so that they shine beautifully.
Silver cleaner paste - choose store-bought products
Many manufacturers offer store-bought silver cleaners. These are not only popular pastes but also spray products. They are great for decorative elements that cannot be cleaned in any other way. You can use them to clean mirror frames or even larger elements. Such products remove any stains and grease. Not only they make silver cleaning easier, but also leave a pleasant scent.
Use a silver cleaning solution with a soft cloth. Apply some on it, clean the surface and then remove the remains with another, damp cloth.
This way of cleaning is universal and works well with most of the available products. Nonetheless, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. It might be that the product requires a different method of cleaning.
📍 What is the cost of silver cleaning?
The cost of cleaning silver by a jeweller might differ depending on the type of element and dirt. Surprisingly, small elements might not be cheaper to clean. A homemade silver is a significantly lower expense, as the only thing you have to pay for are products or cloths. Furthermore, you can use them multiple times.
📍 How to clean silver at home?
Homemade silver cleaning is very popular, especially that there are several methods for how to do it. You can clean silver using baking soda, aluminium foil and toothpaste. Alternatively, you can use store-bought products.
📍 Silver turned black - how to clean such stains?
Dark stains on silver is quite difficult to remove. You can use a method with boiling water, vinegar, salt, baking soda and a dish covered with aluminium foil. You cannot clean every element using this method. Sometimes it's better to use store-bought products.
📍 How to clean silver with stones jewellery?
Silver with stones requires special attention while cleaning. Those who already have some experience in this can try to clean silver themselves. But if you are worried that you might damage the jewellery, have it done by a jeweller.