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3 Ways to Clean Your Silver Body Jewelry without Toxic Chemicals

Advice Cat's Top Tips Cleaning Your Silver Environmentally Friendly FAQ Greener Living Removing Tarnish Sustainability


All silver will eventually tarnish. But how can you clean your favourite body jewelry without subjecting your piercings to the toxic chemicals in silver polish?

Commercial tarnish removers are packed full of dangerous ingredients which can be harmful to the environment and your skin. Cat has tried many green alternatives over the years, and she’s put together her top three tried-and-tested ways to keep silver jewellery safe and sparkling!


These are my very favourite methods for cleaning my body jewellery because they really work, they’re environmentally friendly and safe for even the most sensitive skin, and they use only basic household ingredients to get truly incredible results. Best of all, they all take 15 minutes or less!


1: Baking Soda Scrub

This is my go-to way of giving all my favourite piercing rings their regular clean. All you need to get your silver body jewelry looking as good as new is an old toothbrush and some baking soda!


Wet the toothbrush slightly and dip it in the baking soda. Give your jewelry a good scrub, and watch the gorgeous silver shimmer reveal itself again.

Why does this work so well?

The baking soda and the toothbrush work together to give your silver a very gentle abrasive polish, like when you clean your teeth! The gritty baking soda gently exfoliates away the surface layer of grime and tarnish that has built up over time, leaving your jewellery looking like new.

The best bit:

It’s super cheap, super easy and you don’t even have to take your jewelry out to clean it like this. One ingredient, zero fuss! Great for your regular cleaning and keeping on top of light tarnish.



2: Baking Soda Bath

Works like a charm! You’ll need a pan full of water, a piece of aluminium foil and a tablespoon of baking soda. A tablespoon of salt and a shot of vinegar will dramatically speed up the process, but they are not essential. Some tongs to pull the jewelry out afterwards are really helpful too.


Line the bottom of the pan with aluminium foil and bring to the boil. Add the salt and baking soda first, then carefully add the vinegar (if using). This will cause a bit of a reaction, so go slowly with the vinegar! Place your silver body jewelry in the pan, making sure each piece touches the foil. Try to keep them from overlapping.

Let your silver jewelry soak for 30 seconds or up to 2 minutes for really heavy tarnish. You will see the dark coating leaving your silver almost immediately! Pull it out with the tongs, buff any remaining spots out with a cloth and admire your brilliantly shining silver.

Why does this work so well:

Brace yourself, science incoming! Silver tarnish is caused by a chemical reaction which happens when the top layer of silver oxidises in the air. It forms a thin layer of silver sulphide on the surface of your jewelry. When you heat your tarnished jewelry with baking soda and aluminium foil, an electrochemical reaction occurs causing the sulphur to transfer from your jewelry to the foil. This removes the sulphur and leaves your silver jewelry untouched and looking brand new!

The best bit:

Works like actual magic! I always feel like an alchemist mixing potions when I do this. It’s so easy to do and the results are so spectacular, you’ll see your jewelry cleaning itself right away. All you need is some kitchen basics and you can do science and clean your silver at the same time! This method is great for removing really heavy tarnish with an absolute minimum of effort and absolutely no toxic chemicals.



3: Ketchup

This one sounds a bit mad, but if you can suspend your disbelief long enough to try it out I promise you won’t be disappointed! Great for removing light tarnish and leaving a gorgeous shine, all you need is ketchup, some kitchen roll and a soft cloth.


Squirt some ketchup onto the kitchen roll and rub it into your silver body jewelry. Let it soak for about 15 minutes - less is more with this trick, as soaking it for too long could cause the acids to damage your jewelry. When your silver has luxuriated in its ketchup coat for long enough, buff it off with the soft cloth and give it a thorough rinse clean. You may need a toothbrush to clean out any crevices - nobody wants ketchup in their crevices.

Why does this work so well:

The vinegar in the ketchup works to dissolve the layer of tarnish. Really any acid would work, but the thickness of ketchup makes it perfect for smearing on your jewelry and helps it to stay in place while the magic happens.


The best bit:

I find this method leaves a glorious shine on my silver body jewelry, but you do have to rinse it very well to avoid any residual pinkness.


What are your top tips for keeping your jewellery in great condition? Share them in the comments!


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