Introduction: DIY Silver Cleaner

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I was recently tasked with fixing a bracelet for my mother in law. While I was looking at the pieces, I realized there were a few numbers marked very small in one area---these numbers meant that the bracelet was some sort of silver. So before fixing the bracelet, I decided to give the pieces a good cleaning as they were quite tarnished. Here's a recipe for homemade silver jewelry cleaner. I don't know if it'll work with other metals, but I definitely wouldn't use it on rocks, gemstones, pearls, etc.

I ended up trying two different recipes because at one point, I was concerned the intricate beads were not getting clean enough. I used recipe 1 first for all of the beads and then recipe 2 for follow up with the dirtier beads.

Step 1: BoM

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Recipe 1

1/2 cup boiling water

1/4 cup vinegar

3 tsp salt

3 tsp baking soda

Recipe 2

1 cup boiling water

1 tbs baking soda

tin foil

bowl

***You can make larger amounts, I only needed to clean the parts of a bracelet so I just made a small amount.

Step 2: Prep

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Line a bowl with tin foil and bring water to a boil. Once the bowl is lined, lay your jewelry out on the tin foil (which I forgot to do until I had already poured in the vinegar).

Step 3: Mix

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Mix the baking soda and salt with the boiling water. Pour into tin foil lined bowl.

Step 4: Vinegar

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Slowly pour the vinegar into the jewelry bowl. Be prepared for some chemical reactions :-)

Step 5: Soak

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Let the mixture sit for 15-30 minutes. Some of the pieces cleaned up faster than the more intricate ones, so I removed pieces as they were ready. If you're short on time, you could use a toothbrush or q-tip to scrub the harder to clean pieces.

After the soak with the beads in recipe 1, I boiled more water and put the dirtier beads in recipe 2. This got a lot of the black gunk off. At one point I was worried the intricate beads might not actually be silver, so I took a toothpick and scraped a bit---the tarnish started coming right off. So I let the beads soak in recipe 2 for about 20 minutes.

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Bio: I am a teacher outside of Boston and I love making cool stuff! Any prizes I'm lucky enough to win will go directly to ... More »
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