Fans of silver products, including jewelry and cutlery, know that over time, their favorite metal tarnishes, blackens and loses its former attractiveness. But do not be upset, you can remove plaque even at home. We tell you how to clean silver using proven methods.

How to clean silver yourself

Causes of darkening
Polishing at home
— ammonium chloride
— Foil and soda
— Vinegar essence
— Paste and tooth powder
— Lipstick
— Soda
— Salt
— Special tools
Special cases
— Stones
— blackened metal
– Gilding
– Enamel
— Cutlery
Preventive measures

Why does metal turn black

You may have noticed that metal darkens whether you wear it regularly, like jewelry, or simply store it as tableware. Why is this happening?

The main reason is exposure to hydrogen sulfide. This gas is a constant component of air. It is found everywhere: on the street, at home, it is often distinguished by rubber, polymers and even cardboard. The metal reacts with hydrogen sulfide, and as a result, a dark coating forms on the surface — silver sulfide. Humidity and high temperature accelerate the reaction rate.

Another reason is the same oxidation, but already of copper. Silver utensils are covered with a greenish coating. The fact is that for its manufacture an alloy with copper is used. And the second, when interacting with an acidic medium, forms a greenish acetate.

There is an opinion that high-quality alloys do not darken. It is not true. Absolutely all silver items oxidize if you do not store them in a sterile chamber. The sample only affects the rate of the reaction. Conventionally, if the alloy is low grade or there are impurities in it, it will darken faster.


Another popular belief: cold metal is an indicator of human health, and as soon as the owner falls ill physically or spiritually, it darkens. This is only partly true. Silver jewelry has no magical properties. But illness or stress provokes changes in the hormonal background, sweating may increase, and body temperature rises. The composition of secretions also changes, the amount of salt in sweat and hydrogen sulfide increases. And this already directly affects the rate of the chemical reaction, and plaque forms much faster.

In addition, other factors also affect the reaction: sports, as they provoke increased sweating and body temperature. Stress, which also affects the secretion of the skin glands and, as a result, increased sweat production. A high ambient temperature (for example, during the hot season, being in a bath or sauna) accelerates oxidation.

Chemicals, including household chemicals, also have a negative effect on jewelry. Sea water contains almost the entire periodic table, and, of course, affects metals. Enhances the process and air humidity.

How to clean silver from black at home

There are several effective methods for self-cleaning products. Let’s consider each in more detail.

1. Ammonia (ammonia solution)

One of the most gentle solutions that can be used to wash silver is ammonia. Ammonia helps to clean even hard-to-reach places: small weaves, recesses, and so on.

It will take

  • Ammonia.

  • Water.
  • Container (preferably with a lid).
  • Textile.

What to do

Please note: all manipulations are best done on the balcony. If not possible, open the windows and be sure to cover the container with ammonia with a lid.

The first thing to do is to mix ammonia with water in a ratio of 1:10, respectively. Then lower the product into the resulting solution for half an hour or an hour, the time depends on the pollution (sometimes soaked overnight). Use gloves to get them. Then wipe with an ordinary cloth.

If the plaque still remains, moisten the napkin in ammonia and wipe again. Hydrogen peroxide can enhance the effect of ammonia. It is added in the same amount as ammonia. Some people use dishwashing liquid instead of peroxide. Choose the materials that are at home.

2. Foil and soda

This method is also suitable for large cutlery such as trays, teapots, cups, and so on.

It will take

  • A saucepan for 2-3 liters of water or a heat-resistant container.
  • Soda — 200 gr.
  • A piece of foil.
  • Textile.

What to do

There are two methods for effectively cleaning silver with foil and baking soda (another name is sodium bicarbonate).

  • In the first case, the crumpled foil is thrown into boiling water. Then a glass of soda is added, and the products are lowered. In some cases, cleaning is enough for a few seconds, but you can hold it longer — up to five minutes.
  • You can also act a little differently. Take a volumetric container, lay foil on the bottom. Pour boiling water over and add sodium bicarbonate, it should dissolve. Then lower the items and wait all the same 3-5 minutes. At the end, things are wiped with a cloth.

Please note that this method cannot be used all the time. It severely damages and deforms products, so that after a few cleanings they may lose their appearance.

3. Vinegar

Vinegar is unlikely to cope with a stubborn old stain, but it will definitely help remove mold and fresh small browning.

It will take

  • Vinegar (suitable up to 10%).
  • Citric acid — 100 g.
  • Water — 1/2 liter.
  • Cloth or cotton.

What to do

Mix citric acid, water and vinegar, soak a small piece of cloth or cotton pad in the mixture and wipe the product. If the stain does not go away, it can be briefly soaked in this essence. Better to use gloves.

4. Toothpaste or powder

A popular and simple method for cleaning silver.

It will take

  • Toothpaste or powder.

  • An old toothbrush or the soft side of a dishwashing sponge.
  • Cloth napkin.

What to do

Squeeze the paste onto a brush or sponge (pour the powder), polish the product with light movements. Add water if needed. Rinse off the remaining foam, and wipe the jewelry dry.

This recipe is also undesirable to take on a permanent basis. Toothpaste and toothpowder scratch metal surfaces severely. And in the end, it can lose its former luster, even despite the purity. I’ll have to take it to a jewelry store for polishing.

5. Lipstick

Not the most obvious, but a working method for simple crafts, without patterns and fine work. The secret is in the composition of the cosmetic product: the presence of fats and titanium dioxide help to remove impurities.

It will take

  • Lipstick of any color.
  • Textile.

What to do

Smear the item with lipstick, wipe and polish it with a cloth.

6. Soda

This is an aggressive cleaning method that is not suitable for jewelry with fine work: with patterns, inserts, filigree details.

It will take

  • Small capacity.
  • Soda.
  • Toothbrush or sponge (soft side).
  • Textile.

What to do

Mix water and powder in a bowl to make a paste. Apply it to the brush, rub the thing. Polish until plaque is gone, then rinse and wipe dry with a soft cloth.

7. Salt

Salt will not cope with serious pollution, but will add shine.

It will take

  • Water — 400-500 ml.
  • Soda — 1 tbsp. a spoon.
  • Salt — 1 tbsp. a spoon.

What to do

Boil water, dissolve salt and sodium bicarbonate in it. Soak items for 30 minutes. Then wipe dry with a soft cloth.

8. Special cleaners

None of these methods can be compared in terms of efficiency and quality with professional tools.

  • Napkin. This is a fabric impregnated with a special solution that not only removes stains, but also creates a thin layer of protection. Napkins can be found in jewelry stores. We recommend not to save on them, the best reviews are from European manufacturers.
  • Paste. Most often, GOI paste is used, for silver accessories and appliances you can take it at number 3. But be careful, the wrong tool will scratch the thing.

Special solutions and sprays have the same effect.

How to be on special occasions

How to professionally clean silver so that it shines if the product has inserts? Or is it blackened? Let’s talk about these special cases.

Stones in products

It should be noted right away that not all jewelry with stones can be cleaned at home. For example, pearls and amber are so sensitive that none of the self-care methods will suit them. It is better to immediately give such things to the jeweler. If you do not know the name of the stone, then it is not worth the risk here either.

Gemstones such as sapphire or emerald are strong, hard and dense. They can be cleaned in any way. Ornamental stones such as malachite are very soft, they cannot be cleaned with tooth powder, paste or even a sponge. Use ammonia solution, but add a little less ammonia.

Some stones, such as ruby ​​and topaz, change color when exposed to temperature. Therefore, such jewelry cannot be cleaned in hot water.

blackened silver

Coatings with blackening cannot be cleaned by any of the above methods. They require accuracy and delicacy, do not tolerate exposure to abrasives and chemicals. So, how to clean blackened silver at home in two ways.

  • Dissolve some soda powder in soapy water. And leave things in it for 30-40 minutes. In this way, a slight darkening can be removed.
  • The second way is more experimental. Remove the skins from a few potatoes, place them in a bowl of water, and add decorations to them. After 3-4 hours, the accessories should be clean again.

Gold plated details

The layer of gold is very thin and soft, so it is not recommended to use hard products such as powders and sponges for care.

One of the gentle cleaning methods is vinegar essence. To do this, just add a couple of tablespoons of acid to water and leave rings, earrings or chains in this solution. If stains remain, they can be removed with a soft cloth dipped in the same vinegar.

A more original method is to leave it in beer. After that, everything is the same: rinse and wipe with a cloth. If there is contamination, use ammonia, as in the first recipe.

Enamelled details

This is a capricious material that does not tolerate physical impact and chemistry. It is best to give such things to the jeweler for cleaning. And in emergency cases, ammonia can also be used. But no chemicals can be added to it, only water.


All methods described can be used to clean cutlery. With one amendment. What is good for 925 is not always suitable for 800, and such spoons and knives also exist. Therefore, before the procedure, be sure to check the sample and try to clean an inconspicuous place.

Preventive measures

In order to ask yourself the question of cleaning silver as little as possible, adopt a number of simple rules. They will help your favorite products and appliances stay shiny for as long as possible.

  1. Always remove accessories when exercising, cleaning, washing dishes, or even taking a bath. Remember that high humidity, sweating and exposure to chemicals accelerate oxidation.
  2. Cosmetics also have a negative effect: you should not apply hand cream on the ring, and perfume on a pectoral cross or chain.
  3. Pay special attention to storage. Accessories should be left in a dry, dark place, for example, in a jewelry box, preferably separately from each other. If this does not work, at least do not mix metals and stones with each other.
  4. The same applies to the storage of cutlery. They should also be placed in a soft case or box separately from medicines, cosmetics and even other utensils.
  5. If your ring or chain gets wet, wipe it dry as soon as possible.
  6. Regular light cleaning also eliminates stagnant plaque. But this only applies to appliances, not personal accessories. For prevention, once a month or two, they can be rinsed in soapy water with the addition of ammonia.
  7. After polishing, you should not immediately put on earrings, rings or chains. Let a protective layer form on their surface.

Accessories will serve you longer if you order not only cleaning, but also rhodium at the jewelry store. This is a special coating with rhodium — a cold metal that is never patented. And, therefore, care for him will be much easier.