Silver is a precious metal known since ancient times and used in various sectors (objects, jewelery, IT, etc.) thanks to its intrinsic properties, namely shine, ductility, malleability and electrical conductivity.
To be able to be worked on an artisanal level, this metal must be found in the form of an alloy since in the pure state silver is too "soft". In the creation of objects and jewels, sterling silver, also known as 925 silver, is used; an alloy containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.
Why silver becomes dark
In general, metals are subject to a chemical reaction called oxidation when they are in the presence of oxygen. Silver also blackens on contact with acid substances such as sweat from the skin, perfumes and creams, sea water, pool chlorine, etc...
This oxidation reaction involves the formation of a dark patina on the object's surface that must be removed in order for its natural shine to re-emerge. This operation must be carried out regularly because the more time passes and the more this dark patina will tend to stratify, becoming thicker and more difficult to remove.
To prevent jewels or silver objects from blackening after a short time, they should be stored in places where they are not exposed to light and possibly free of oxygen, such as fabric or velvet cases, or even wrapped in aluminum foil!
Why clean silver in a natural way
Today there are many products valid for cleaning silver, but there are also many advantages in using grandma's methods that mainly concern our health and our money!
First of all, natural remedies being completely free of chemical additives do not hurt our skin, they are extremely cheaper and in addition they are composed of ingredients that are always present in the house such as baking soda powder.
From the chemical point of view, sodium bicarbonate is an inorganic salt composed of sodium and carbonic acid and is present in nature in the form of dissolved salt in both surface and underground waters.
This salt has extraordinary disinfectant, bleaching and degreasing properties, so it is used, for example, to clean fruit and vegetables, in toothpastes and in detergents.
Furthermore, sodium bicarbonate has the property of counteracting gastric acidity and therefore we use it in addition to water to help digestion after a large meal.
3 ways to clean silver with baking soda
Water and baking soda
- In a container, create a mixture formed initially of three parts of powdered baking soda and 1 part of water. Adjust the dose of water to obtain a paste that is not too thick, but at the same time not too liquid;
- With a microfibre or cotton cloth (to avoid scratching the object), gently pass the mixture over the silver even several times until you see it become shiny again. If there are raised parts, it is advisable to use an old soft toothbrush;
- Rinse the object under running water and dry it with a dry cloth.
Baking soda and aluminum
This process uses the chemical reaction that occurs between aluminum, silver, table salt and sodium bicarbonate, the oxidation will pass from our silver object to aluminum.
- Line a glass container preferably with a sheet of aluminum paper such as those used to store food (tinfoil);
- Pour hot but not boiling water, coarse salt (1 tablespoon per liter of water) and baking soda (3 tablespoons per liter of water);
- Then immerse the object to be polished and leave it to soak for about an hour;
- Rinse under running water and dry the now shiny object with a dry and soft cloth.
Baking soda and lemon juice
- Pour the juice of a squeezed lemon directly onto the silver object;
- Add a couple of teaspoons of baking soda;
- Gently rub with a soft microfibre cloth that will gradually capture the dark patina (greenish).