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June 23, 2014

Cleaning Silver Jewelry Without Chemicals

How to clean sterling silver jewelry without chemicals: Lisa Yang's Jewelry BlogLet it Shine

All that gorgeous jewelry we make eventually needs to be cleaned and polished.

Usually, I use a Sunshine Polishing Cloth.

The sunshine cloth works great on most items, but no matter how many times I pull my chains through the cloth, it never removes all of the tarnish.

It gets the high spots, and adds some sparkle - but the chain is not bright and shiny like new.

In the case of this necklace, I oxidized it and then didn't like the way it looked.  I think it looks tarnished (and dirty), not antiqued.

So, I thought this would be the perfect time to test one of those internet gems that you see on Facebook and Pinterest all the time.  How to clean your sterling silver jewelry with boiling water, tin foil and baking soda.

How to clean sterling silver jewelry with baking soda, foil and water: Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

It sounds too good to be true.  Simply line a pan or dish with tin foil, add boiling water to cover your item and add a tablespoon or so of baking soda.

Clean sterling silver without chemicals: Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

The baking soda should fizz and smell like sulfur (rotten eggs) when you add it.  I just stirred it around with some chopsticks.

And I also added a couple of loose pieces of foil and dabbed the necklace with those to make sure it touched the foil.  I don't think it was in there much more than a minute.

Crystal and sterling silver necklace: Lisa Yang Jewelry

And here is my necklace after the cleaning. Wow - was that what this necklace needed or what?

I was so happy with this technique that I started putting all sorts of pieces of silver jewelry in.

Clean sterling silver jewelry without chemicals: Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

And the best part - for things that were oxidized with liver of sulfur - it only removed the surface tarnish.  As you can see on the the before and after picture of the necklace, the wire wraps still have some antique patina which helps give the wraps depth and stand out.

I tried some copper items - and had mixed results - so I don't think it works for copper.  But I highly recommend it for sterling silver.


  1. Nice to hear from someone who's actually experimented with this. Did you come across anything regarding turquoise or pearls, how the fizzing would affect them?


  2. This worked so well and was so simple to do. Like magic. I will need to try it with pearls and turquoise though. The fizzing was very minor, but I wonder about the boiling water. A lot of turquoise is color shot and filled, so you never know how those will turn out. I usually find pearls to be pretty resilient - but I'll give it a try and report back in the future.

  3. Nice, i have experimented already. i have to admit, you are a genius.

  4. I've never tried this way of cleaning silver, although I've heard about it. I should try, your necklace looks amazing. Thanks for the hint!

  5. Sunshine Polishing Cloth is a fantastic cloth. I have one at home. Your necklace looks awesome. I am going to try to clean mine , too. Thank you for sharing such a bright idea! Greetings!

  6. Thanks for sharing! Really its a very useful information!!