Basic guide to silver tarnish removal methods

silver tarnish

silver tarnish

Silver articles are highly precious and valued around the world. However, due to problems of silver tarnishing, most people get disheartened and shy away from buying silver for usage openly. However, it is not the end of the road. Though tarnishing of silver is a problem, it is important to remember that it can be removed. However, the longer the tarnish settles in, the more permanent it becomes. Therefore it is essential that silver tarnish be removed immediately before it settles.

There are three methods of effectively removing the silver tarnish- polishing and chemical dips. Each method, while being effective, has its own pros and cons.

Polishing is one of the most common methods of silver tarnish removal method. This silver tarnish removal method involves using polishing agent and a special polishing cloth which is widely available. Polishing agents generally contain anti-tarnish agents which help remove the tarnish. This is akin to a cleaning agent for general household items but with special ingredients.

The polishing method is highly effective. It provides thorough removal of the tarnish. However, it leaves behind fine scratches which are visible on the surface of the silver item on close observation. Though there are various polishing agents which are available in the market, it is beneficial to check the polish on a cheaper or less valuable item to find out how abrasive the product can be on the silver. Plexiglas is one such item which can clearly show the abrasiveness of the polishing agent. Polishing is thus one silver tarnish removal method.

The other silver tarnish removal method is by using chemical dips. Chemical dips work by removing the layer of tarnish on the silver. This method removes the tarnish very quickly, however, it causes some of the silver to be dissolved in the dip. A chemical dip is similar to removing a tattoo with battery acid. They are therefore not very popular.

Chemical dips can also remove the shine that certain old silver articles have. However, it is possible to make homemade chemical dips which gently remove the tarnish without damaging the silver article. One of the most popular and easy to make homemade agent is made using a combination of aluminium foil, hot water and baking soda to reverse the chemical process of tarnishing. The aluminium is put in a bowl with the shiny side facing up. Hot water is added along with salt and baking soda. The mixture is gently stirred and the silver article is placed inside for 5 minutes. Then run the silver under cold water and dry the silver with a soft cloth. This is how easy it is for removing the silver tarnish.

These are the various silver tarnish removal methods available. However, the method chosen must be done thoroughly and after careful consideration of the cons.




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