How to remove tarnish from silver

Removing tarnish from silver is very easy.

Silver Tarnish Redox Reaction
Silver Tarnish Redox Reaction

The reason silver jewelry turns black

The reason silver jewelry turns black is because it comes into contact with sulfur in the air, which forms gray-black silver sulfide.

For example, sulfur dioxide in air pollution is one of the main causes of silver jewelry turning black, and soaking in sulfur hot springs can also turn silver jewelry black.

If you want to slow down the blackening of silver jewelry, you can reduce the time the silver jewelry is exposed to the air, such as by storing it in a sealed box, zipper bag, etc. Or occasionally wipe the surface of the silver jewelry with a silver polishing cloth. The silver polishing cloth contains abrasives that can remove dirt and oxides from the surface of the silver jewelry.

If the silver jewelry has turned black, a chemical reaction can be used to restore the blackened silver jewelry to a silver-white color, which is called “oxidation-reduction(redox) reaction”.

Silver Tarnish Redox Reaction Materials

Materials for the redox reaction of silver jewelry are very easy to obtain. You only need three common items in your home to perform the redox reaction:

  1. Water
  2. Aluminum Foil
  3. Baking Soda

Silver Tarnish Redox Reaction Steps

Step 1: Rolling the aluminum foil into a bowl shape and place it in the water. Boiling water.

You can also put the aluminum foil in before starting to boil the water.

The water should cover the foil.

Step 2: Place the tarnished silver jewelry in the center of the foil.

The silver jewelry should touch the aluminum foil. You can also put the silver jewelry in before boiling the water.

Step 3: After the water boils, add a tablespoon of baking soda.

Let it cook for about three minutes, then turn off the heat.

As the aluminum foil releases electrons, the silver ions will be activated.

Step 4: Take out the silver jewelry and clean it.

I tried using salt instead of baking soda, but I realized baking soda is more effective.

Now, the silver jewelry turns silvery white again.

Compare the before and after photos of the silver tarnish redox reaction.

Silver Tarnish Redox Reaction

You can turn your silver jewelry back to silvery white at home, so why not give it a try?

Please note! If the silver jewelry is inlaid with gems, pearls, etc., you cannot use the redox reaction to restore the silver jewelry!