How to oxidize silver with vinegar

Silver bling bling: This is how tarnished silver jewelry and silver cutlery sparkle again!

Whether the silver chain goes with the black dress or the polished silver cutlery next to the expensive porcelain: Silver simply looks classy - or at least it should. But over time it turns gray or even black. Why this is not due to a lack of care and how you can restore your silver to its old shine - we will show you with these simple tips:

1. Why does the silver actually turn black?

In order to get our silverware really sparkling again, it first helps to understand what is causing the unsightly discoloration in the first place. When it comes into contact with sulphurous hydrogen, the silver reacts to form a new compound. These hydrogen sulfides are in the air, but can also be found in suntan lotion, sweat, or eggs. In the vernacular it is often said “the silver oxidizes”. Strictly speaking, this process or this reaction of the precious metal with sulfur is called, however sulfate. The resulting silver sulfide is a black, solid salt that is extremely difficult to dissolve in water. In order to bring our tarnished silver back to a fresh shine, we need other aids to loosen the dark discoloration from the surface. This can be done by simply dissolving the silver sulfide in some acids or by means of a redox reaction (see point 5).

2. Clean the silver chain with citric acid!

Lemon, the little vitamin C bomb par excellence, is a real helper when it comes to cleaning silver. All you need is a soft toothbrush and a bowl of fresh lemon juice. Dip the toothbrush in the lemon juice and rub the mixture gently on the jewelry or cutlery. The silver is already finding its way back to its original shine. This tip works particularly quickly and easily, as lemons can be found in almost every household.

3. Vinegar - a miracle cure for cleaning silver

If you have a little more time to devote yourself to silver care, treat your jewelry or silver cutlery to a soothing bath - in vinegar! The silver is placed in a bowl filled with water and vinegar and is supposed to relax in it for 1.5 hours - 2 hours. Then rinse with water and dry with a hairdryer. This guarantees no water stains.

4. Clean silver jewelry with beer ?!

Sounds really crazy, but it's very effective! Beer is also suitable as a “silver bath”. The silver jewelry can be made to shine without much effort by lingering it overnight in a bowl filled with beer. The high acid content in the yeast drink ensures that the brownish grayish spots disappear. Of course, jewelry and cutlery should be rinsed off well after the bath - after all, nobody wants to wear a silver chain that has the scent of beer on it. This method takes the longest, but the next morning the piece of jewelery shines again as it did on the first day.

5. The hit: With ash and citrus mix against tarnished silver

Who would have guessed it: Ash mixed with a little lemon juice really makes silver shine. Ash is an ancient but reliable home remedy. For centuries, washing has been done with ash-eye, as this has the ability to remove stubborn dirt with ease. Rub your silver with the mixture and then wipe it off with a cloth. It does get your fingers a little dirty, but that's the only bad thing about the whole thing. Attention: The ash-citrus mix is ​​only suitable for simple pieces of jewelry without stones and decorations.

6. Clean silver with aluminum foil and salt

Aluminum foil is also helpful in the fight against blackened silver. There are two options:

For the first variant, the silver object is completely wrapped in aluminum foil. Make sure that the silver jewelry or silver cutlery must have contact with the salt water, i.e. do not wrap it watertight. Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a saucepan and then place the wrapped object in the water bath. Now bring to the boil again briefly and then remove the jewelry or cutlery. After cooling, the object can be stripped of its aluminum foil jacket. The jewelry or the silver cutlery shine again and the aluminum foil has taken on the black.


The second option is to put the silver in a bowl and add a teaspoon of salt and a few pieces of aluminum foil. The whole thing is then poured over with hot water. The less noble aluminum of the foil releases electrons. The splitting is intensified by the salt in the water. The silver can absorb the electrons released and the sulphide layer comes off because the black sulfur compounds dissolve. It really works - try it out right now!

7. Make silver clean with baking soda

The gentlest way to clean silver is to use baking soda, which when mixed with a little water, makes a paste. The water-baking powder mixture can be a little more liquid, as it can hardly have any effect if it dries immediately on the silver. This mass is then applied to the piece of jewelery or silver cutlery and rubbed in thoroughly with a soft brush. Leave the baking powder on for up to 30 minutes. It is important to rinse the jewelry or cutlery thoroughly with water afterwards and rub it dry with a lint-free cloth.

8. Don't just shine your teeth: brush with silver toothpaste

Toothpaste can also help with discolored silver cutlery and jewelry. Apply this and leave it on for about ten minutes. It is important to choose the mild variety without abrasive particles. If in doubt, you should refrain from cleaning with toothpaste, because jewelry with a thin silver coating in particular can be damaged by the abrasive particles. A soft toothbrush with fine bristles is particularly suitable for cleaning filigree, ornate patterns sparkling clean, because it even reaches into the smallest corners of the decorations. And your favorite chain and fine cutlery are sparkling again.

Prevention: This is how silver jewelry and cutlery don't get angry black

You can prevent the annoying discoloration as much as possible by keeping the silver jewelry or cutlery in a velvet box. In addition, necklaces and earrings should be rubbed thoroughly with a velvet cloth after each wear. It also helps to add a piece of white chalk to the jewelry and cutlery. This binds the air humidity so that discoloration cannot arise in the first place. How do you clean your silver jewelry? Let us know in a comment how you can make your jewelry sparkle.

You can find out how to clean brass, copper, chrome and aluminum here.