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Thread: Silver tarnish and your ways of removing it

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    8

    Default Silver tarnish and your ways of removing it

    Hello,

    My sterling silver pieces had light yellowish tint on them and these were the ways I tried to remove it.
    1. Silver dip solution - Yellow tint remained, albeit with a shinier look. Not very helpful.

    2. Silver polishing cloth - It did the job but couldn't reach hard-to-get areas. Items like twisted chains can't be cleaned and polished by the cloth properly.

    3. Electrocleaning - To my surprise, it had little effect on the tarnish. Did see some improvements, but not good enough.

    4. Flame heat the piece, then dipped in pickle solution - Tarnish completely gone, but left a white dull finish on the piece. Had to be polished in a tumbling machine.

    5. Tumbling - No effect on the tarnish.


    Would like to know your ways of removing silver tarnish and how would you have done it on multiple pieces at the same time. Thanks!


    Side question: How would I know when to replace my electrocleaning solution? Mine has turned a bit milky and I wondered if it affects the cleaning performance. I'm using Earthcoat Electroking, fyi.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Leicestershire
    Posts
    88

    Default

    I can't offer any advice but am hoping to find out the answer to this too! My mum has asked me to clean a heavily tarnished fine chain and I don't know what to do with it! Silver dip hasn't worked at all, a polishing cloth can't reach the inside areas as you say, and I'm reluctant to put it in my tumbler as it will tangle it up.

    Watching this thread to see if anyone can help!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    cotswolds
    Posts
    3,349

    Default

    I use the good aluminium and bicarb (or soda crystals) trick for this sort of thing.

    Line a bowl with aluminium foil (or recycle a takeaway container). Place the thing to be cleaned in the bowl, making sure it's in good contact with the aluminium. Throw in some bicarbonate of soda (a couple of teaspoons to a takeaway container) and then add very hot water. Magic happens and all the tarnish is gone from the silver and onto the foil. Rinse the silver and it will look lovely again. Don't leave it in the solution too long though.

  4. #4

    Default

    Very good tip miz G. Thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Leicestershire
    Posts
    88

    Default

    I'm going to give this a try, right now because it sounds brilliant! Thank you!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,902

    Default

    Further to what George said, I copied this info off an online USA article about cleaning jewellery. It may be useful to some.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    James

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    West Berkshire
    Posts
    632

    Default

    I have used washing soda crystals dissolved in hot water, on foil, to clean silver and it even works on Lapis with no damage!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Leicestershire
    Posts
    88

    Default

    I tried it today and it worked a treat, I was quite amazed actually at how quickly it lifted the tarnish off. A happy mum can have her chain back!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    440

    Default

    I work almost entirely with Argentium silver - it's still not very well known or widespread, so this won't apply to many people, but if you do happen to come across it it's worth remembering that this method of cleaning is not good for it. Argentium has excellent anti-tarnish properties (and, incidentally, is completely firescale-free, which is great for the silversmith), resulting from the formation of a protective "passive" surface layer of germanium oxide (or dioxide?). Alkaline chemicals and electrolytic cleaning methods interfere with that, so even though the piece might look shiny and clean at first it will have lost this protective layer and will tarnish more quickly afterwards.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    8

    Default

    @mizgeorge: Thanks for the tip! I'm gonna give it a try too!

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