Chemical silver cleaners can be harsh on your jewelry and on yourself. Here is a great way to clean silverware and sterling silver jewelry.
-Line bottom of a non-aluminum dish (like a glass baking pan) with a sheet of aluminum foil and place your items into the pan on top of the foil.
-Mix one tablespoon of baking soda into a quart of hot water, pour into the pan.
-Soak for a half an hour. (Time may vary depending on degree of tarnish. Most only take a few minutes.)
-Buff with a clean, dry cloth.
Some experts do not recommend using this method because there is the possibility that it could damage the silver. That is because the baking soda that is used in the electrolyte cleaning can be abrasive to certain metal surfaces. If the item is especially valuable, consider having it professionally cleaned. Electrolyte cleaning should only be used with sterling silver. Additionally, never put porous materials such as turquoise, pearls, or shells into the solution. The method should also not me used with antique silver knives or candlesticks because this solution can corrode the glue that holds the items together. The same for any jewelry where gemstones have been affixed with glue.
The reason this works is the way the tarnish coating reacts with the aluminum. Sulfur atoms, which adhere to the silver to create sulfide, that dark tarnished look, they are carried away by the solution and transfer to the aluminum, forming aluminum sulfide and leaving your silver sparkling. Recycle the aluminum foil and you’ve got a waste free way to polish your silver. And no more nasty chemicals to content with!