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How Do You Clean Heavily Tarnished Silver?

This blog post will answer the question of how do you clean heavily tarnished silver and also provide more insight into what causes silver to tarnish.

Silver is a beautiful and priceless metal. It can last a long time. This is great for longevity, but it also means that if you have silver jewelry sitting around, it may have become somewhat dirty and tarnished since you first acquired it. You’ll want to learn the best way to clean tarnished silver jewelry but to also be preemptive by knowing how to stop jewelry from tarnishing. Let’s cut to the chase and say upfront that the Champion Polishing Cloth is the proven method on how to clean tarnished silver.

Silver is a classic material, no matter if it’s silverware, jewelry, a plate, a platter, or even a sword you may have inherited! Since you probably don’t want to get rid of your silver items anytime soon, it’s important to know the trusted ways to keep silver as shiny as the first day you brought it home.

This blog post will shatter some of the common myths on how to remove tarnish from silver by utilizing commonly found ingredients in the home. Also, we will steer you in a safe and effective direction on what product to use when removing tarnish from silver. For over 90 years the Champion Polishing Cloth continues to prove that it is the best tarnish remover for silver.

What is Tarnished Silver?

After you’ve had silver for a few years, you may have noticed it starting to appear a bit dull or grey in color. This discoloring is known as tarnish. It’s a thin layer of corrosion that forms over metals such as silver. It’s important to understand why tarnish appears so that you can learn how to keep sterling silver from tarnishing.

Tarnish is caused by a chemical reaction of silver, often occurring due to sulfur, which can exist in the air particles around us through compounds like hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide. Even some day-to-day items (like soap, shampoo, face wash, meat, eggs, mustard, onions, latex, and wool) can contain sulfates or sulfides. Silver tarnish is a common problem.

Sulfur is not the only cause of tarnish. Other chemicals, like chlorine and copper, can also cause tarnish. Even the different pH levels or acidity levels of a person’s skin can cause tarnish. Cosmetic products, like hair spray, hair products, and lotion, can also cause silver to tarnish. The Champion Polishing Cloth will help you solve the problem of how to successfully restore tarnished silver to its original lustrous shine.

Is It Normal for Silver to Tarnish?

Definitely. Silver is an alloy that is utilized for flatware, jewelry, and other practical applications. As a rule, these are produced from sterling silver, which is a 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper-based alloy. When these metals are combined, they create a metal that reacts with the environment. Unlike silver alloys, pure silver has a significantly lower reactivity in the environment. As a result, silver in its elemental form is extremely brittle, rendering it unsuitable for use in jewelry manufacturing. Because of its copper composition, sterling silver tarnishes with time.

How Quickly Does the Tarnishing of Silver Occur?

A silver’s tarnish rate is determined by the circumstances in which it is stored. Air contains sulfur-based chemicals, which means that silver jewelry left in the open will gradually tarnish to a dark hue over time. Exposure to perspiration, perfume, lotion, soap, cologne, and other chemicals can potentially speed up the tarnishing process on jewelry. It just takes a few days for silver, under the correct conditions, to begin to become black. In other cases, it may take several months or even years to become completely tarnished. For 90 years the Champion Polishing Cloth has been the number one answer to the question of how do you clean tarnished silver.

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How to Keep Silver from Tarnishing

Although you can’t totally prevent tarnishing, there are a few steps you can take to prevent silver from tarnishing in the future.

Silver will not tarnish in dry air, so keeping silica gel or some chalk nearby your silver pieces can help prevent tarnish.

You can also slow tarnish by making sure jewelry is the last thing you put on when you’re getting dressed — apply all deodorants, sunscreens, and perfumes prior to putting on silver jewelry. Don’t wear your silver pieces when you are doing activities that involve close contact with strong chemicals, like swimming in chlorinated water or cleaning with strong household cleaning products.

Lastly, turn to our Champion Polishing Cloth. Its unique and exclusive formula was engineered to not only remove tarnish from silver, but it imparts a long-lasting protective film that will help to keep your silver items brilliant and shining much longer.

How to Store Jewelry to Prevent Tarnish

It’s important to store your silver jewelry in a proper manner.  Never wrap your silver in rubber or tissue paper containing acid. If you have to use tissue paper, make sure it’s acid-free. Another option is to use unbleached cotton muslin. Make sure you’re using something — if the silver pieces touch, they could scratch each other.

A final tip: don’t leave silver in direct sunlight — even in a cabinet! The sunlight can speed up chemical reactions and cause your jewelry to tarnish faster. Cleaning and organizing your silver items in a safe place is the key to maintaining their integrity over the years.

How to Clean Sterling Silver

It’s important to take care when cleaning your silver or sterling silver pieces. Although sterling silver is stronger than pure silver, it is also more likely to tarnish. The Champion Polishing Cloth is an excellent sterling silver tarnish remover.

The silver content in your sterling silver piece will dictate how quickly it will ultimately become tarnished. To find out how much silver your piece contains, examine the piece itself and the packaging. Many reputable jewelers will imprint their jewelry with a .925 stamp to show it is 92.5% real silver. If your silver has a .925 stamp, it contains mostly silver and should be treated delicately. Whether you have silver or sterling silver jewelry, the Champion Polishing Cloth is the easiest and safest way to clean tarnished jewelry.

The answer to your question of how do you clean heavily tarnished silver is a rather simple one, but first, we need to look into some myths.

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How Do You Clean Heavily Tarnished Silver?

There are some prevalent online myths that we’d like to bust concerning how to get tarnish off silver. Over the years, we’ve asked many professional jewelers their thoughts on the various DIY recipes that are floating around on the Internet. Based on these conversations, we’ve come to the conclusion that the majority of them, though well-intended, are providing false and potentially damaging solutions to cleaning your precious metal items.

DIY Silver Cleaning Myths

If you’re wondering how to clean silver at home and what would be an effective DIY silver cleaner, turn to the Internet and try searching for the phrase “homemade silver cleaner.” Most likely you’ll encounter various DIY recipes on how to clean tarnished silver. These recipes specify different ingredients and procedures that supposedly help you to clean your precious silver items and jewelry at home.

The important question to ask yourself is “are these DIY recipes safe and effective for cleaning your precious silver items?” Or, should you play it safe and purchase a proper silver cleaning cloth that is designed specifically to be a safe and effective cleaning product?

One DIY recipe outlines that you take a bowl and line it with aluminum foil. Then, you place on top of the foil three ingredients: baking soda, salt, and dish detergent. You’re supposed to add hot water and place your silver item into this solution and let it soak for 10 minutes. Then you scrub it with an old toothbrush. Finally, you’re to rinse and dry with a paper towel.

Unfortunately, we’re going to have to rain on your silver cleaning party. Why? Some of the ingredients and methods in this DIY recipe can be harmful to silver surfaces. It’s important to realize that baking soda, salt, and the residual toothpaste found on the old toothbrush are all abrasive. Since silver is soft, any abrasive ingredient will scratch your precious silver item.

Another DIY silver cleaning recipe involves mixing vinegar, witch hazel, tea tree oil, and baking soda. You’re then supposed to put your precious silver items in this mixture and let them soak overnight. When morning comes, this recipe wants you to use an old toothbrush and coat your silver item with baking soda. You’re then supposed to scrub, finally rinsing with water.

Sorry to be a killjoy, but unfortunately, as stated before, baking soda and toothpaste are abrasive. To add insult to injury, vinegar and witch hazel are both slightly acidic. This combination could be damaging, and not only to the soft silver metal surface. If your item is a piece of jewelry that contains soft, porous precious stones, then this mixture could cause serious damage.

Baking soda and toothpaste are said to be effective ways to clean silver objects, such as jewelry, according to a popular web myth. Unfortunately, this is a falsehood. Diamonds and jewels are among the items that might be harmed by toothpaste.

As an abrasive material, toothpaste measures 3/4 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. What is the Mohs Hardness Scale? When it comes to identifying minerals, the Mohs Hardness Scale is a useful measuring tool. A mineral’s hardness is a measure of its relative resistance to scratching.

When cleaning silver, you should be extra careful due to its softness. The metal will be removed and scratched over time if you use harsh cleaners like toothpaste and baking soda.

Also, the flavor oils in toothpaste are corrosive to metals because of the compounds in the oils.

As opposed to utilizing the above DIY methods, using a non-abrasive silver cleaning cloth such as the Champion Polishing Cloth is the safe way to remove tarnish from silver.

Silver Polishing Cloths

Silver polishing cloths are the easiest way to clean tarnished silver, and even prevent tarnish from occurring in the future. A  silver cleaning cloth, like the Champion Polishing Cloth, will aid immensely in your quest to remove tarnish from silver. It’s so easy — all you have to do is use the polish cloth to rub the heavily tarnished surface and clean the tarnish from your silver. After cleaning and buffing, the heavily tarnished pieces will look brand new.

Silver Jewelry Cleaner

If you’re wondering how to clean tarnished silver jewelry, then choose a silver jewelry cleaning cloth like the Champion Polishing Cloth. It is formulated with powerful, yet safe cleaning components that are saturated in the cloth itself. It provides outstanding value. One 9″ x 12″ cloth will outlast one gallon of jewelry polish. It is the number one solution for how to clean tarnished jewelry.

Professionally Cleaning Silver

Sometimes, it’s a good option to take your silver to a professional. Maybe there’s a family heirloom that’s particularly delicate, and you want an expert to remove the tarnish. If your piece is extremely old, fragile, or valuable, like antique silver, you might not want the responsibility of cleaning it and may choose to leave cleaning up to an expert. If you decide to use this method, you can contact a local jeweler to remove the tarnish initially, then follow up by using the Champion Polishing Cloth as needed.

How to Store Your Silver

After you’ve cleaned your silver, you want to make certain it will stay shiny and clean! The worst thing to do is allow clean silver to come in contact with harsh chemicals and strong cleaners, like chlorine or bleach. Make sure you’re storing it with packaging meant for its sensitive structure. Avoid using rubber bands and newspapers, as they may damage your silver items.

You’ll want to ensure that your silver pieces are dry before they are stored. When storing, you should keep silver separate from other metals, like brass or copper. Keep silver in a location where it’s only being stored with other silver pieces.

Hopefully, we’ve answered your question of how do you clean heavily tarnished silver. We feel that our Champion Polishing Cloth is not only the most effective silver cleaning cloth on the market but also is the most effective way on how to keep silver from tarnishing. The fact that it’s been in existence for over 90 years and manufactured right here in the United States with its original and exclusive silver cleaning formulation, further illustrates it’s the best way to remove tarnish from silver.

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