Hurray for baking soda! It is such a heavyweight when it comes to uses around the home. This method of cleaning silver works wonders even for heavily tarnished pieces as long as they can stand up to a little heat.
First, bring a large pot of water to the boil on the stovetop. Make sure that the pot is large enough to fit all of your tarnished silver items. Don’t overfill the pot (leave at least two inches of space at the top).
When the water boils, remove the pot from the heat. Place a piece of aluminum foil into the bottom of your pot, and place your silver items on top, immersed in the boiling water. Start shaking baking soda into the pot. It will foam and bubble, and you’ll notice a sulfuric smell, like rotten eggs.
The chemical reaction will (almost magically) remove the tarnish from your silver, as the tarnish will become attracted to the aluminum foil instead of your silver piece. Keep sprinkling in more baking soda until your silver is shiny and clean or until the liquid no longer foams.
The water has to be really hot for this to be effective, but if you do it correctly, it works like a charm on tarnished silver. I’ve actually found this to be the best method for removing tarnish from vintage silver, as it is more effective than many silver polishes I have used. It even gets into the nooks and crannies where you wouldn’t be able to hand-polish the tarnish away.
Once the tarnish is gone, wash the silver with gentle soap and water to remove the rest of the baking soda. If there are a few spots of tarnish left, they should wash off when rubbed gently with a soft cloth.
This is a great, environmentally friendly and natural way to keep your unique, natural gemstone jewelry sparkling for many years!