Superhero Silver Cleaner

Slightly random post I guess BUT I was just so impressed with this I had to share! Lately I’ve been exploring non chemical cleaners. You know, using stuff like lemon juice, vinegar, soda crystals and bicarbonate of soda. Yawn, I know, right? Well that used to be my view too but I am an absolute convert. I don’t think I shall ever buy another bottle of Flash again! Apart from having the shiniest taps I have ever had, and not a hint of smears on my mirrors or windows, it’s costing me less, and I don’t have to worry about Elliott inadvertently absorbing chemicals in some way. The real Superhero of this show though, has to be Bicarbonate of Soda.

This silver jewelry,  has been languishing in my trinket box gathering tarnish for over 2 years. The purple pendant is from India and was more like a gunmetal black than silver. The locket is a Victorian piece, but the intricacy of the rope twist edging has meant it has never been truly tarnish free since the day I received it. (A gift from J to mark the birth of our little man). So I thought I’d give the bicarbonate a go, and it went from this…

To this!!! I mean the difference is astounding. This stuff is sooo shiny that I couldn’t photograph them directly from above because you could see the reflection of my camera in the photo. I kid you not. So in the interest of sharing “Eureka” moments here’s what I did…

Lay the silver pieces in a shallow dish lined with aluminium foil….

Cover liberally with bicarbonate of soda….

Pour on boiling water (carefully!) and watch that gentle chemical reaction fizz and work it’s magic….

Just look at over 100 years of “stuff” lifting out from the rope twist of my locket (ok, gross but all the same, wow!)…

There are hallmarks on this piece that I never even knew were there, this was so black before…

To remove all that heavy tarnish, it took 3 “washes” with the bicarbonate/aluminium method. With no other effort other than a gentle scrub with a soft toothbrush around the edges of my locket, then a thorough rinse, and a polish with a microfibre cloth.

Can’t beat a bit of chemistry on a rainy Sunday afternoon! (oh, but open a window as the resulting whiff can be a bit eggy, and nobody likes an eggy smelling house, right?!)

NB Emma commented  “I would be very careful using this method on jewelry pieces with stones. You can crack or shatter them with the boiling water. Toothpaste (not gel) can also be brushed on to remove tarnish!”
The stone in my pendant is a natural Agate and was fine, but if you’re unsure, try the toothpaste! Thanks for the tip Emma 🙂

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18 Comments

  1. Sonia April 30, 2012

    It’s magic isn’t it?! I do the same but with soda crystals – keeps my engagement ring nice and shiny and so little effort. Always a bonus!!!! x

    Reply
  2. emmalemma April 30, 2012

    I would be very careful using this method on jewelry pieces with stones. You can crack or shatter them with the boiling water. Toothpaste (not gel) can also be brushed on to remove tarnish!

    Reply
    • Miss P April 30, 2012

      Good point! Luckily mine was ok 🙂
      Px

      Reply
  3. Annabelle April 30, 2012

    Wow, what a difference. That is amazing! I’m trying to use more natural products and less chemicals as well. Like you, I appreciate the price and general safety of it.

    Reply
  4. shivani April 30, 2012

    this is genius! bicarb of soda really is magical – thanks for the tip!

    Reply
  5. didyoumakethat April 30, 2012

    Very impressive? Now, how do you get your taps all nice and shiny?

    Reply
    • Chris April 30, 2012

      Sorry to barge in here with a reply! But I had a really bad experience following a kim and aggie tip once, of putting a vinegar-soaked pad of cotton wool on the end of the tap overnight to remove limescale. Turns out it’s a great tip – but not on coated/plated-type taps, only solid stainless steel. It took the finish off and now my tap looks gross, the stainless steel finish was eaten away to show the copper underneath.

      Reply
    • Miss P April 30, 2012

      Thanks for the warning Chris 🙂

      Reply
    • Miss P April 30, 2012

      Nothing more than diluted vinegar spray (50:50 water and vinegar plus a little essential oil to mask the vinegar smell!) and then dried off with a microfibre cloth. For the base of the taps where scale and mildew accumulates, I whacked on some bicarbonate then poured on some lemon juice, and the fizzing lifted off all those bits I could never get to before. Magic!
      Don’t think my taps are solid stainless steel and it’s had not detrimental effect on them but then the vinegar is diluted and not left in contact with them all night 🙂

      Reply
    • Chris April 30, 2012

      Yep, I use vinegar and water as my regular cleaner – the smell fades really quickly. It’s the overnight thing that did for my taps!

      Reply
    • Didyoumakethat June 1, 2012

      Hi Miss P! I’ve just had a very happy half hour cleaning my taps with bicarbonate! Revelation.

      Reply
  6. Chris April 30, 2012

    Glad this worked, what a great tip for silver! Some stones however need more specialist cleaning, and it’s possible you were very lucky with yours. This chart is really useful :

    http://portalgc.knowledgebase.net/display/2/index.aspx?c=12004&cpc=TKvN0Y442nJq41250385h0TtoO3RuDHqcReVI&cid=11047&cat=&catURL=&r=0.0945557355880737

    Reply
    • Chris April 30, 2012

      Apologies, that link doesn’t work. If you search on gemstone cleaning guide in the knowledgebase, it will get there 🙂

      Reply
    • Miss P April 30, 2012

      Yeah, Ive read that elsewhere too. I can’t figure out why it would be a problem, since diamonds for instance, are the hardest substance on earth, how would hot water and baking soda affect them detrimentally? Are there stones that are softer or more porous for instance? Or is it more the mounts/paste/glue that is affected rather than the stones themselves?
      Pc

      Reply
    • Chris May 5, 2012

      Yes, you got it right first time, some stones are softer/more porous. There’s a scale, the Mohs scale, that measures hardness. Pearls, coral and amber are low, 2 to 3. Diamonds are the hardest at 10, so you can treat them much more roughly. Rubies are 9, sapphires 8, etc. That chart that you can eventually get to through the link then the search, above, shows this. It’s a minefield, ever since I discovered this it’s made me far more nervous about just scrubbing everything!

      Reply
  7. Kat April 30, 2012

    Wow! I would never have thought to do that. I have a few pieces that could use a little bit of this treatment I think. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  8. To Boldly Sew April 30, 2012

    I’ve been thinking about this recently too but not yet done much in the way of exploring – you’ve inspired me to give it a go!

    Reply
  9. Gail April 30, 2012

    Bicarb will also clean your stove top really effectively.

    Reply

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