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Karen Answers: How to Clean Silver Jewellery

 

When I left my job as an entertainment reporter at MuchMoreMusic I was given my very first piece of Tiffany’s jewellery as a going away present.  I cannot begin to describe the feeling of opening up a bag and finding your very first “little blue box”.

I don’t know why a Tiffany’s blue box is so beautiful while a recycling blue box is so hideous but those are the facts.  I’m a proponent of redesigning the whole Blue Box program to either the Black Box or Beige Box program.  I mean seriously, how many homes are positively accented by a pukey, bright blue box?   A smurf’s  house.  That’s about it.

Anyhow … this Tiffany’s bracelet was the start of a Tiffany’s giving parade the likes of which you have never seen.  You see, my boyfriend found the bag this bracelet came in and threw a gift in it for me for our 1st. anniversary.  I can’t remember what it was.  A pencil or some toenail clippers, or something of that nature.  Certainly not something I was expecting to see as I raced to open up the blue Tiffany’s bag.

Yeah, um … he’s since been told to NEVER  give anyone a present in a Tiffany, Chanel, Prada or Gucci bag unless that bag CONTAINS Tiffany’s, Chanel, Prada or Gucci.

He felt so bad for his man-blunder that I received a piece of jewellery from Tiffany for every birthday, anniversary, and Christmas for the next 7 years.

The problem with it, is I can’t wear it all at once.  Well I could, but with all that shine and sparkle, I’d look like the Raccoon Whisperer.

So other than the ring I wear every day, whenever I put a piece on I have to clean it.  So there’s a lot of jewellery to clean and not a lot of time to do it.  Who has time to clean jewellery?  Maids.  That’s who.  Not me.

This is the easiest, most sure fire way to *instantly* clean even the most tarnished of silver jewellery.  Yes.  Even that ring you got in Mexico 9 years ago.

What you need …

 

Silver Jewellery Dip (cleaner)

(available at jewellery stores or probably the mall.  I hate the mall)

 

A Silver Polishing cloth

(If you buy a good piece of silver they’ll give you one of these, otherwise buy it at a jewellery store.  Or the mall.  I hate the mall)

Your polishing cloth will get filthy like this in no time.  It doesn’t matter.  It still works like a charm.

 

Lift the plastic basket out of the jar of cleaner.

 

Put your piece of jewellery into the basket.  A tisket a tasket.

 

Submerge the basket in the jar and swirl it around for 10 seconds at the most!  Often you only need to dip the piece in then take it right out again.  Do NOT leave your jewellery in the dip.  If you leave it in too long it’ll RUIN your silver. So remember!

 

Pull the basket out of the cleaner.  INSTANTLY clean.

 

Rinse your jewellery under water.  If you leave it in the basket you run less a risk of sending your earring down the drain.  Also, just putting the plug in the sink would help with this.

 

 

Dry the jewellery with a paper towel.

 

Give it a final polish with the polishing cloth.

 

Remember to run your cloth down and in between the links if you have a necklace or bracelet.

 

My 10 year old bracelet, like new.

 

BEFORE …

 

AFTER

 

The difference between the before and after is even more dramatic in real life.  It’s kind of addictive actually, this jewellery cleaning business.  Such an instant sense of satisfaction.  And far fewer calories than the instant satisfaction one would get from eating a bag of potato chips.

 

For your viewing pleasure a 30 second video to how you exactly how quickly this can be done. It’s faster than peeling a rotten banana.

Thanks to Trysha who inspired this post with her Ask Karen question. Hope your cuff cleans up nicely. If you have an Ask Karen question … click on the Ask Karen button on the upper righthand corner.  I may or may not answer you.  One thing I definitely won’t do is give you some toenail clippers in a Tiffany’s bag.


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46 Responses to Karen Answers: How to Clean Silver Jewellery

  1. Greg says:

    doing the math, that must mean you’ve been gone from MMM for more than seven years??? Say it ain’t so… that means I must be… dear God.

    You were a great MMM host, I was a big fan. What years was that incidently? All the best. Your blog is great, highlights the sense of humor I liked so much.

  2. Micol says:

    Ok, now I need a little piece of blu cloth like yours. Great post! Please read wath i do instead.
    I clean my silver jewelry with a home electrolytic process. It’s super easy. You only need a bowl with a piece of aluminium paper inside (i use an aluminium food container) some salt and warm water. It works in seconds! With this process the dirt is transfered from the silver to the aluminium, so their contact is very important. The internet is full of further explanations. I would love you try this and give me your opinion.

    • Karen says:

      Micol! I have tried this method, but with larger pieces of silver! I do it in my sink. It doesn’t work as well or as fast as the silver dip, (honestly that stuff is like magic) but it’s good for silver serving pieces and such. It’s allllllmost as good, but not quite as the dip. Like I say, great for larger pieces though. Haven’t done that method in a while! ~ karen

  3. Becky says:

    I’ve been told that toothpaste works too. I couldn’t say that I’d use it on tiffany, but it works well on my silver hoops.

  4. Andrea says:

    Great tutorial, Karen.

    I have to ask, though. Did someone hi-jack your blog? When I look at it this morning, it has this purply, grape colored background and paint cans and confetti everywhere. Just doesn’t look like you! What happened???

    • Karen says:

      Andrea – LOL. Uh Oh. I had a new ad put up yesterday. It is a “gutter” ad which means it runs in the side gutters of the site but only occasionally. Pays BIG money. Because the ad only runs in the States, I can’t see it to review it here in Canada! If you happen to be able to get a screen grab of it, do so and show me so I know whether it’s hideous enough to quit using! ~ karen

  5. Penny Santa-Barbara says:

    After you’ve polished your jewelry toss it in a zip lock bag and it won’t tarnish.

  6. Today everything is purple and party themed. Can’t read the words against the purple background. Its really pretty, But not can read..Please help.

    Amy

    • Karen says:

      Sorry Amy – It’s a new ad i was trying out, but I can’t see it because it only runs in the States and I’m in Canada! Apparently it’s not working out, LOL. – Karen

  7. Marti says:

    Ok, what do you have for removing tarnish on a silverplate teapot? 2 cup size. WIth matching creamer and sugar. Whatcha got? HUH? HUH? HUH? And I mean these suckers are almost black. I tried Tarn-X and now I got spots. Advise, please?

  8. That really came out beautifully Karen. This post reminds me of my Grams and Gramps. They priced and sorted jewellery for the local goodwill store. When I’d go over for visits, they were often cleaning up old lovelies ;)

  9. Andrea says:

    Karen,

    Avoid the mall. Use toothpaste and an old toothbrush to clean silver jewelry. Rinse, dry with a paper towel, finish with a polishing cloth, good as new! Cheaper and no mall induced headaches.
    Heart your blog!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Andrea! I’m going to continue on with my silver dip. It’s fast and easy and not messy and a jar of the dip lasts FOREVER. Plus, this post was on how to deal with “extremely” tarnished jewellery (because a reader asked for it) Toothpaste works on slightly tarnished jewellery, but not on stuff that’s been left in a drawer to die for 8 years. The dip will. I’ll just make sure to buy it at the local jewellery store … not the mall! ~ karen

  10. Robbin says:

    LOL! Love the music too!

  11. Patti says:

    I love this, Karen! That jewelery cleaner is THE BEST, and I can’t say enough about it! It works on gold, too, shines it up like new!

    And it’s true. It really does work on that ring from Mexico. I use it on mine all the time! hah!

  12. Christal Lewis says:

    Karen,

    Your boyfriend sounds like a keeper.

  13. blake says:

    So I got a glass salad bowl from Tiffany when we got married…I immediately loved and will love the couple that gave us that bowl because they chose to give it from Tiffany…When I saw that blue box I freaked out…what’s with that? I am not a materialistic kind of gal but I admit I totally freaked out that I have something from Tiffany!

    ps I kept the box of course

  14. Jen says:

    I love the video! The dramatic music defiunitely added to the suspense. I would add a caution to using the dip, though. Some jewelry has had oxidation added, purposefully, to add dimension and accent the highs and lows of a piece. If this is the case, I would tell you to skip the dip, and only use the polishing cloth. Also, storing your silver in ziplock bags with a tiny piece of anti tarnish paper (you can usually buy this in a store like Bed Bath and Beyond, 3M makes one)., or just in the ziplock bag, will help slow down the tarnishing process, and eliminate the need for a maid to help clean all your shinies. Love, Love Love your site Karen, keep it coming!

  15. Katie says:

    You can also get those blue clothes at musical instrument stores–I still have mine from my years of flute playing…and, to my parents’ chagrin, certainly use the cloth more than my flute. :) You can even get a two part rag for the REALLY dirty jobs.

  16. Mike says:

    That bananna looks manky.

  17. Ellynn says:

    I’m right in the middle of the states, in Missouri, and I don’t see the new splashy ad. I know you’re Facebook page says it only runs occasionally, but now I’m kind of sad that I can’t get a screen shot of it! I like the format of your page; the ads are never intrusive and they’re interesting. Hope someone gets you a screenshot soon!

  18. marilyn says:

    actually toothpaste works amazingly well even on really tarnished stuff. i received a silver engraved bracelet when we were cleaning out my mother-in-laws house that was so tarnished! she obviously never wore it and i took the toothpaste to it and then my polishing cloth..beautiful result its all i use and i only wear silver. i use sensodyne it seems to work the best lol sensitive and all just sayin..

  19. Amy in StL says:

    I usually use silver polish, but I have a jewelry box I inherited with silver cloth in all the drawers so my small stuff doesn’t get tarnished. My householdey stuff though is really, really tarnished.

    Hey, I wonder if that guy who I gave the cash to on the offramp this morning who insisted, “I really just want a job.” would be interested in cleaning silver? Probably not a good idea to bring the family silver and a can of silver cleaner with me tomorrow morning, huh….

  20. Jenn says:

    Gutter ad – you could minimize the interference with the text by adding a box of white under the text area in your template.

    Sounds like the money is really tempting… making the text readable would be one thing that will let us continue to enjoy the site while you enjoyed a bit of pin money.

    I got a Firefox alert that it is blocking 2 pop-up windows, as well. I don’t know if that is part of the gutter ad or not.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks jenn! I have no idea how to do that in my template, but I’m sure my web designer does. Which means it will cost me money to run my ad that makes me money. This is turning into an ordeal! Thanks again for your help. ~ karen

    • Karen says:

      By the way … If *YOU* know how to do this, feel free to email me the instructions. I can get into my templates, etc. I just don’t know what the code would be and which template to put it in. The page template, or single post template would be my guess! ~ karen

  21. Jenn says:

    I just buff with the blue cloth – I like the highs and lows of shine silver can exhibit.

    And I’m a bit goth, yes.

  22. Trysha says:

    Thanks Karen! I guess it’s off to the jewellery store to get some of the cleaner. I have a couple of other pieces that could use a good cleaning too.

    I’ll let you know how it goes.

    • Karen says:

      Trysha – You’re very welcome. You can try the toothpaste trick if you like, but in my experience I’d choose the dip. It’s fast, easy (obviously from the video), cheap with no mess. In a pinch you can use toothpaste, but I’d keep the dip on hand. Good luck! ~ karen

  23. Mezzamay says:

    Interesting post!
    I can add to this – I work for a silver jewellery manufacturer, and we use the silver dip and the blue cloths too – but not together. We use the dip for severely tarnished items and dry it with paper towels. The blue cloth is used to give things a quick clean up but I have also used it successfully on very dirty items too. You could run into problems using two different chemicals at once – it could damage the silver and also cause a chemical reaction that may irritate your skin.
    Also, you should not use the silver dip too often as it will damage the silver and it will subsequently tarnish more quickly in the future as we have learnt to our cost!
    I wouldn’t recommend toothpaste – it’s quite abrasive and most toothpastes these days have a lot of other chemicals in them too that may damage the silver.

    • Karen says:

      Mezzamay – Agreed. The post was intended to be for really tarnished jewellery items. When I just need a “quick clean” I rub with the polishing cloth. Thanks! ~ karen

  24. Melanie says:

    You have to be really careful with the jar of silver cleaning stuff you recommended – it’s a very harsh chemical. Technically, it’s not good for the silver. I’d only use it once in a very great while. Once your silver jewelry is polished, the secret to keeping it tarnish free is to wear it frequently or keep it in a sealed, plastic baggy.

  25. Tricia Rose says:

    My neighbour said I could clean silver with wood ash so I rootled some out of the fire, and what d’you know! It works. I like it on my teapot because it keeps some tarnish in the lines, doesn’t look too shiny-shiny.

    I keep the Mason’s jar of ash under the sink, where it looks like ashes of someone who was waaaay out of favour… (do you think people-ash would work s well?)

  26. Maggie says:

    awesome, thanks for the no longer than 10 secs tip. I’ve had my silver jewellery in a ziploc bag in my handbag for the last week so I can use the silver cleaner at my Mum’s and I probably would have left it soak in there for a good 10 mins!

    • Karen says:

      Maggie – Well it depends, there’s silver polish which you rub on .. and then there’s this magical silver dip. It’s only the “dip” that come with a little basket type thikng that you can only leave the jewellery in for a few seconds. Good luck! ~ karen

  27. J says:

    I was told that if you purchase Tiffany and you keep your silver in their pretty blue little bag, it never will tarnish. Being a good girl, I’ve done this and it actually has never tarnished. It does get scratches from weari but if you are willing, Tiffany (for a cost maybe $1O and a week or so) will clean your piece of silver for you. I’ve done it and it’s amazing and so worth it.

    • Karen says:

      J – When I’m around Tiffany, I have them clean my pieces for me. They do it right there and then! ~ karen

  28. gigi says:

    Karen,

    Am a newbie to your site, ran into it through “Tipnut” (the Build your own firebox tutorial), stayed for the humor.
    Though tough to categorize,I joined your glee club and am sending your wit and wisdom to my friends. Would send you forth to my enemies also, but,hey,I don’t like them well enough. Not that their lives couldn’t use some brightening, but not on my watch.
    I am catching up on old bon mots and had to respond to the silver cleaning article.
    Haunt many estate sales and love me some old stuff. Just so happened an oldster behind a counter
    passed on some folk witticism that really works. Her friends save their ashes (I’m assuming cigarette) for her, she dips into her little baggie with a damp washrag; scrubs the tarnish away with a little ash paste and elbow grease. It doesn’t damage the piece or remove any of the precious silver layer that polishes do.
    I have tried it with old cutlery and the pieces gleamed. It was kind of addictive.

    • Karen says:

      Hey gigi – I’ve heard the ashes thing before but always assumed you needed a dead body for that. I’ve never tried it, but seeing as I’m staring at a big fireplace full of ashes … maybe I’ll give it a go. Thanks for the incentive. ~ karen!

  29. Liz says:

    So I’ve been wanting to buy this stuff ever since I saw this post but I haven’t made it anywhere near a jewelry store. Today I happened to see it at WalMart of all places so I snapped it up and, by golly, it is the BEST! All this time I’ve been trying various “rub on, wipe off and still have to polish the heck out of it” silver cleaners (I make jewelry from silverware) but this is SOOOOOO much better! Thank you for this post!

  30. Lisa says:

    I have some sterling silver ornaments that I just found, and while I found your post, I also found another method that I tried last night.

    Glass baking dish, sheet of aluminum foil.Add jewelry. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of baking soda and pour in hot (near boiling water) – OMG. It worked!

    Tarnish is actually silver sulfate, and the baking soda and aluminum turn that into aluminum sulfite and the tarnish is gone! Science!!

    And the water turns yellowish and smells like sulfur! Now I’m off to clean everything I can find!

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