We all know that silver jewelry looks old and rusty over time, and the most common reason is unavoidable: air.
While you can shine silver manually, it takes muscle and time. It even removes some of the silver itself during the abrasive process of polishing, according to the University of Wisconsin chemistry department.
So, why does it happen? The tarnish develops as a chemical reaction when silver combines with sulfur and creates silver sulfide, darkening the surface. The resulting color can range in color from yellow to black, which not the most attractive way to show off your jewels.
Geek out with us as we show you how to reverse this chemical reaction in a jiffy to with items you already have at home.
What you'll need:
- A dish or bowl
- Aluminum foil
- Boiling water
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda for each cup of water
What you'll do:
- Line the bottom of a dish or bowl with aluminum foil.
- Bring water to a roaring boil (it should be enough to fill that bowl or dish).
- Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda per cup of water. Expect that the solution may bubble and froth a bit.
- Place the piece of silver jewelry in the dish, making sure it's touching the aluminum foil. This is essential for the chemical reaction to occur.
- Pour the solution of baking soda and boiling water into dish.
- Let sit for two to 10 minutes, depending on the level of tarnish.
- Allow it to dry ... and be amazed!
If you're in shock and wondering how it works, here's the deal: It's actually reversing the chemical reaction that made your silver tarnish in the first place.
During this electrochemical reaction, the silver sulfide atoms transfer from the jewelry to the aluminum. In other words: Your ring will be free from the sulfur that darkened it in the first place. Pretty crazy, right?
The best part? This process works for any object made from silver or plated with silver. Let science do all of the heavy scrubbing, so you can enjoy the shiny silver lining of jewelry that looks like new.
This story was originally published Sept. 28, 2016.