Friday, August 7, 2009

Cleaning Silver & Being Green

I recently spent a lot of time looking for ways to clean sterling silver without using chemicals. I work with lots of chain and wire and hate using "products". My friend Maryann at THE RED BEAD in Napa told me one time how to do this, but I didn't write it down at the time, so I had to go on an internet treasure hunt. I found lots of different recipes, but this is the one that worked for me:

Clean Silver Without Chemicals
You need the following:
A baking pan ( I used a glass one)
Baking soda
Aluminum foil
Boiling water
Tarnished silver

Line the pan with foil. Lay all of your silver into the pan, making sure the silver comes into contact with the foil. While you are doing this, boil your water. I did mine in the microwave. You need enough water to cover all of the silver.

Pour the boiling water over the silver and immediately start to sprinkle the baking soda on the silver. (you will use a lot!) It should start to bubble right away! For lightly tarnished pieces, the tarnish bubbles right off. Some of the pieces required moving around. Use a spoon so you don't burn yourself! It should continue to bubble for a while. When the tarnished is removed, take it out, wash it off in water, then polish. It's amazing!

If you are really lucky you will have a helper who can stand astonished while you do this. Then they will start going through their jewelry and handing you stuff to clean while they watch. My daughter and I spent some good quality time doing this. It was really fun!

Some notes.

1. Use new foil to line the pan for every batch of silver
2. I put my silver with pearls and stones right in. It worked, but don't do this if it is a family heirloom. I can't promise safety of the pieces.
3. Not for silver plated jewelry. The silver will come right off. Remember this is a chemical reaction with the aluminum and the silver.
4. Don't leave it in for longer than 30 minutes.


Have fun!