Sustainable Haven Blog

Polish Silver Naturally

A customer recently asked me if I had anything to clean silver and, while HAVEN's SOAP and SCRUB are both excellent for removing tarnish on all sorts of metal, there's also a great DIY way to clean silver that has tarnish in hard-to-reach crevices. All you need is a bowl, very hot water, baking soda and a piece of aluminum foil. Sounds simple but it really works.

Tarnish on silver occurs when Hydrogen Sulfide comes into contact with the metal. This substance is in the air, on your hands, in rubber, wood and several different kinds of food, so you can see why silver tarnishes so quickly when not protected from the elements. The reaction that occurs when you mix aluminum, baking soda and hot water obliterates that Hydrogen Sulfide and instantly removes it from silver. Here's how!

Assemble your supplies and put some water on the stove to start heating (it doesn't need to be boiling, just very hot). Get an old towel for polishing up the silver afterward, a large bowl, a square of aluminum foil and about a tablespoon or two of baking soda.
Here are my tarnished bracelets. Looking pretty blah. 

Next, place your square of foil in the bottom of your bowl. 

Add the baking soda right on top of the foil.

Add your silver to the bowl.

Your water should be pretty hot by now, just to the point of boiling

Carefully pour into the bowl enough water to cover the jewelry completely. There will be lots of bubbling and fizzing. You'll smell the Hydrogen Sulfide dissolving off the silver, so if it smells like eggs, you'll know it's working. 

If some of the tarnish isn't coming off instantly, trying separating out the jewelry so that each piece is touching the aluminum foil. It's this contact with the foil that creates the strongest chemical reaction. Once the pieces have been soaking for two to five minutes, I like to put on rubber gloves, ball up the foil and, with the jewelry still submerged in water, gently rub the foil all over the remaining spots of tarnish to remove the last bits.

Remove your silver and delight in its shininess! This big bangle had some deeper tarnish in the grooves, so I just used an old towel to polish and remove the rest of it while the bracelet was still wet and the rest came melting off. 

Another easy, chemical-free alternative to add to your roster of DIY recipes!

  • Kayce says...

    Suzie, you’re so right! It’s a total non-polish recipe. Love that! It really couldn’t be easier.

    On February 28, 2012

  • Mini says...

    I could not bileeve how easy this was when I first saw it. Now, I non-polish my silver all the time and I actually USE it cause I don’t care if it tarnishes anymore.Happy non-polishing!Suzie

    On February 19, 2012

  • ashley says...

    awesome! looking forward to trying this one

    On December 17, 2011

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