The Best Way to Clean a Silver Chain


Silver is one of the most popular ornamental metals and is commonly used in all forms of jewelry, including silver chains. A silver chain makes a striking necklace or bracelet. A chain can be worn alone or with attached gems, stones, charms or other adornments. It's a look that never goes out of style. However, a silver chain can easily tarnish--it will turn grayish-black in reaction to sulfurs in the air. Traditional silver polishes contain powerful solvents that can cause kidney and liver disorders, birth defects, nervous system problems and cancer, according to the University of Florida. It is wise to clean your silver chain with safer ingredients to restore its shine and beauty without endangering your health.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 shallow glass bowls
  • Aluminum foil
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Spoon
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Soft towel or microfiber cloth
  • Line the bottom of a shallow glass bowl with aluminum foil.

  • Pour boiling water into the bowl until it is halfway full.

  • Add 2 tbsp. salt and 2 tbsp. of baking soda to the bowl of hot water and stir with a spoon to dissolve.

  • Lower your silver chain into the bowl of water. Use your finger to gently swish the silver chain around in the bowl. Make sure the silver chain is in contact with the aluminum foil. The salt and aluminum will react and act as a magnet to remove the tarnish from the chain.

  • Allow the chain to soak in the mixture for five to 10 minutes, depending on how badly tarnished it is. Gently clean stubborn spots with a wet, soft-bristled toothbrush.

  • Add 1 cup of hot water and 1 tsp. dishwashing liquid to the other glass bowl. Remove your silver from the salty solution and place it in the soapy water. Allow it to soak for three minutes, and then rinse with clean water. Polish the silver chain dry with a soft towel or microfiber cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Minimize future tarnish on your silver by storing it in a low-humidity environment.
  • Avoid storing your silver in or near low-grade cardboard, since it can release tarnishing fumes.
  • Before cleaning your silver chain, remove any charms that contain semi-precious and precious stones to avoid damaging them.
  • Do not use on antiqued (oxidized) silver, since the antiqued finish may come off with the tarnish.

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  • Photo Credit kette image by Stefan Häuselmann from
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