How to clean a tarnished silver chain

When a sterling silver ring or pendant gets tarnished, you can usually just wipe it off with a polishing cloth. Chains are a little more complicated though, since you can't reach every little link with a cloth. Here's another method using basic kitchen ingredients!

This is a roll of sterling silver chain that I had sitting in my kitchen for a few weeks. The moisture from all the cooking in that room tarnished the chain, and you can see the original color where I've peeled back the tape. 

(Ignore my weird thumbnail, that's a bruise from smashing it with a hammer)

Before I start, this method should not be used on these types of jewelry:

  • Anything that includes a non-silver part, like a precious stone
  • Pieces with intentional tarnish (oxidation), such as silver that has been blackened to bring out a design
  • Silver plated brass

If you're doing this to a resin necklace, it's best to take the pendant off the chain first. I've tried it with a resin piece in the mix before and nothing bad happened, but I can't promise it's safe for the resin and you'd be doing it at your own risk! 

How to clean your chain

It's best to do this outside, cause it'll make an unpleasant smell. 

 You will need:

Glass dish
Aluminum foil 
Baking soda
  1. Lay some aluminum foil at the bottom of the pan.

  2. Throw in 1 TBSP of baking soda and 1 TBSP of salt.

  3. Boil a cup or two of water, it just has to be enough to submerge your chain completely in water.

  4. Pour in the water and stir up the baking soda and salt until it's dissolved.

  5. Lay your chain on the aluminum and let it sit for a few minutes. The color will change before your eyes! Lay it out so that as much chain as possible is in contact with the foil, since that's what draws the tarnish off the silver.

  6. When the chain looks clean again, take it out and rinse it and dry it. The drying is important, because moisture is what tarnishes silver in the first place.
Ta da! Here's my result, with some of the original color for comparison:

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