How to clean silver jewelry with tin foil

Written by gretchen maron
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How to clean silver jewelry with tin foil
Silver jewellery is susceptible to tarnish. (silver bracelet image by Thor Jorgen Udvang from Fotolia.com)

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.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you 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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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place the aluminium foil on the bottom of the bowl.

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

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

  5. 5

    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.

  6. 6

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

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