How to Keep Your Wire Jewelry Looking Its Best

Beach Bracelet in Copper

You love your new jewelry, but after sitting out for a while, it looks dull. What can you do? Chemical dip cleaners from the local big box stores and jewelry stores are smelly and you really don't want to bother with them. So what do you do? The items you need are either in your pantry or laundry area. Yes. AND, it is better than those harsh, stinky chemicals. The homemade silver and copper based cleaning "recipes" do a total WWF smackdown on tarnish and -- get this -- do NOT affect the metals. Nope. Here's how...


 

Silver Cleaning Recipe

  • Large bowl to accomodate jewelry
  • Sheet of aluminum foil large enough to fit inside the bowl
  • 1 Tbsp Tide laundry detergent (plain)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Hot water 
  • Plastic or wooden spoon/fork/spork/tongs

Instructions: Lightly wrinkle the aluminum foil sheet and then spread it inside the bowl, including up the sides. Add the Tide laundry detergent plus the baking soda. Pour in the hot water. Stir gently with the plastic or wooden utensil to mix ingredients. It should be foamy. Gently add silver items to solution. Depending on the amount of tarnish, you may need to soak longer than five minutes. Items that have creases may need to be cleaned with a child's soft toothbrush or cotton swab.  Once items are clean, carefully rinse them in warm/lukewarm running water and pat dry with a soft cloth. If any tarnish spots remain, you may need to get a commercially available silver cream cleaner to clean those areas. IMPORTANT: before pouring out the cleaning solution, PLEASE BE SURE TO INSPECT FOR ANY SMALL SILVER ITEMS SUCH AS EARRING BACKS. You can always pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Check, and check again for small parts. 

 

 

Copper and Brass Cleaning Recipe

 

Copper, Brass, and Bronze Cleaning Recipe

  • Large bowl to accomodate jewelry
  • Equal amounts of hot water and white distilled vinegar (1 cup each, usually)
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • Plastic or wooden spoon/fork/spork/tongs

Instructions: In a large enough bowl for your jewelry, pour in the vinegar and hot water. Stir in salt. Gently add items to solution. Once clean, carefully rinse in warm/lukewarm water and pat dry with a soft cloth. If any tarnish spots remain, you may need to get a commercially available brass/copper cleaner to clean those areas. IMPORTANT: before pouring out the cleaning solution, PLEASE BE SURE TO INSPECT FOR ANY SMALL ITEMS SUCH AS EARRING BACKS. You can always pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Check, and check again for small parts. 

 

NOTE: for jewelry that has been given an oxidized/antiqued finish, the above recipes could remove all that finish. It is best to just wipe them clean with mild soap and water. You can purchase a polishing CLOTH to buff the high points of the jewelry and keep the recesses dark. 

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