How to Clean Silver with Toothpaste

Clean silver

I’m sure not everyone has as much silver jewellery as I do – I have HEAPS, because I’ve always preferred it to gold (yellow gold just looks terrible against my skin).

This is how I clean my silver jewellery when it gets tarnished. The worse your jewellery looks, the longer this will take, but I do mine about once a year and it only takes a few minutes a piece that way. The first time I cleaned the bracelet in the before & after picture, it hadn’t been out of its box in 30+ years, and it took about an hour of scrubbing to get it cleaned up.

PLEASE NOTE: This tutorial is only suitable for SOLID STERLING SILVER jewellery. 
If your jewellery items are plated, or it is costume jewellery, there is a very real possibility that this will scrub off the plating and leave you with weirdly coloured jewellery that is DEFINITELY not silver.

You can tell if an item is sterling silver by the stamp – sterling silver is stamped “92.5” (meaning 92.5% silver content). Other stamps you may see – gold is also often stamped as 9ct, 18ct, or 22ct. The stamps aren’t always clear and defined, and if the jewellery is old or well-worn, it can be almost impossible to read, so look carefully. If in doubt, talk to a jeweller.

Showing the 92.5 stamp on a ring

Showing the 92.5 stamp on a ring

 

What you’ll need

  • old toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • 2 bowls of warm water
  • small towel

How-to

  1. Squirt out a pea-sized blob of toothpaste onto the edge of one bowl. This bowl will be your “initial rinse” bowl, for getting the worst of the suds off.
  2. Dampen the toothbrush, get a little toothpaste onto it and scrub the item of jewellery in small circular motions until the whole thing is covered in toothpaste lather. Leave for a minute, then scrub again.
  3. Rinse item in “initial rinse” bowl, then put into other bowl of water and leave it there.
  4. Rinse and repeat (hahaha I am so punny) with all items of jewellery to be cleaned.
  5. Once all items have been cleaned and rinsed, remove from soaking and lay out on a towel. If the weather is particularly cold or damp, use a hairdryer on the lowest heat setting to help it along.

I have had little success with getting fine chains properly shiny using this method, but they do clean up from black to obviously silver in colour.

~K

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2 thoughts on “How to Clean Silver with Toothpaste

    • Just be sure that it is solid silver, not plated (the scrubbing of the toothbrush could remove plating).
      It’s one of those “old wives tale” sort of things – my grandma does it, so my Mum does, so she showed me!

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