How to clean silver jewelry with tin foil

Updated April 17, 2017

Simple kitchen chemistry makes short work of the otherwise slow and exacting work involved in cleaning tarnish from jewellery. Aluminium foil, or often referred to as "tin" foil, is key in a technique that uses a natural chemical reaction to transfer the tarnish off the silver and onto the foil. Polish the jewellery or other silver piece with a polish cloth after you remove the tarnish to restore the shine and glowing patina, and to slow the return of the tarnish to your silver.

Place the aluminium foil on the bottom of the bowl.

Measure very hot water into the bowl using a 1 qt. pitcher.

Add baking soda to the hot water: For every gallon of water, add 1/2 cup of baking soda. Stir the water to dissolve the baking soda using the wooden spoon.

Dip the tarnished silver piece into the solution. Use a tweezers or a tongs to hold the silver.

The tarnish will disappear after a minute or two in the solution unless it is a very large piece of silver, or it is very tarnished. It may be necessary to make a new solution of hot water and baking soda in such cases, as the chemical reaction will slow and then cease as the water cools.

Rinse the silver in cool water, then dry it with a paper towel.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass bowl
  • 1 qt. pitcher
  • Measuring cups
  • Hot water
  • Baking soda
  • Wooden spoon
  • Sheet of aluminium foil
  • Cool water
  • Paper towel
  • Tweezers or tongs
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About the Author

Gretchen Maron has written content for journals, websites, newspapers, radio news and newsletters, ranging from the International Horn Society journal "Horn Call" and the Air America Radio website, to non-profit organization websites. A librarian for over 30 years and a professional writer since 1996, she's an experienced, knowledgeable researcher.