Best way to clean Sterling Silver chain

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Original Post

PenelopeG2 says

Hi there,
What is the best way to clean a sterling silver chain thats gone a bit dull?
Also, does anyone know what causes this?

Posted at 3:07 pm Aug 4, 2009 EDT


Air causes it :) It tarnishes, a chemical reaction from exposure to air (short version).

To clean, you can buy polishing cloths, compounds, maybe some liquids aren't too bad - - or get a tumbler but that is overkill for one chain :) -- or even try gentle soap like Dawn and water...

Posted at 3:11 pm Aug 4, 2009 EDT

silken says

Most of the time you can clean up silver just with a silver polishing cloth, however it is hard to get into the small bits inside the chain if it is particularly fine.

If you have use of a tumbler, i'd recommend tumbling it with some burnishing powder/mild washing up liquid, stainless steel shot and plastic pellets. This always works perfectly for me :D

Posted at 3:12 pm Aug 4, 2009 EDT

Sterling silver is 7.5% copper; the copper tarnishes with exposure to air.

If the tarnish isn't too heavy, a couple of swipes with a silver cleaning cloth will do the trick. Sunshine Cloth is one brand if you want to Google is, but you should be able to find these cloths at department stores in the jewelry section or even in home stores like Bed Bath & Beyond. Some bead stores sell them, too.

Posted at 3:13 pm Aug 4, 2009 EDT

PenelopeG2 says

Thanks everyone! I read another post that recommended soaking in baking soda and boiling water in Foil which seemed to have worked for another person wanting to clean a very fine chain. I'm busy trying that as I type so hopefully it works!

Thanks for clarifying the cause - LOL. I was worried I was doing something to us but glad to hear its easy to clean!

Have a fab day! xox

Posted at 3:27 pm Aug 4, 2009 EDT

suzymeimei says

anyone ever tried the salt bridge trick?

Put a piece of aluminum foil in a bowl (just cover the bottom), then put some baking soda and salt on top of the foil. Pour very hot (I use boiling) water in there, then take your tarnished silver piece and dip it in. after dipping, rinse with clean water and air dry.

good for silver plated pieces, since polishing cloth can strip off the plating if you are heavy-handed.

Posted at 3:27 pm Aug 4, 2009 EDT

foil, baking soda and water can turn silver plate black. my college professor for metalsmithing endorsed plain white toothpaste and toothbrush. not the whitening type since it can be abrasive.

Posted at 3:39 pm Aug 4, 2009 EDT

pattydrake says

I tried toothpaste and water and it worked great.

Posted at 3:41 pm Aug 4, 2009 EDT

I like a polishing cloth for a quick polish.

I've never been able to get the salt/foil/hot water thing to work.

Posted at 3:49 pm Aug 4, 2009 EDT

I always use a soft nylon bristle brush and mild liquid dishsoap - like Dawn - and lightly brush and rinse thoroughly. Make sure to dry completely and store in an airtight container!

Posted at 4:05 pm Aug 4, 2009 EDT

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