Friday’s Focus On: Cleaning Tarnished Jewelry {DIY}

I used to own a lot of fake jewelry. The problem was that I wasn’t a big jewelry person, so it would just sit there in my jewelry box for months on end without being touched. There came times I was ready to wear my cheap-o necklace or pair of earrings but couldn’t because my once silver jewelry had turned black and was now unwearable. In the trash it went.

Now that I’m an adult (kind of), I have a small jewelry collection of mostly nicer pieces with a couple of cheap pieces. There are some things I wear every day like my weddings bands and bracelet but sometimes there’s a special occasion that I have to get a little more gussied up for, which calls for wearing more than my standard cubic zirconium studs.

That’s when my trusty pair of $15 tear drop earrings from Lord & Taylor come in. This is the only pair of non-stud earrings I own that are fancy enough to wear to more formal events. They held up for a while but I recently noticed that they had started to lose their luster.


It’s so hard for me to find earrings that I like and don’t look ridiculous on me, so I wasn’t ready to let these puppies go. I was determined to find a way to clean my favorite pair of earrings without the after effects of a skin rash that would last for weeks due to my sensitivity to harsh cleaners.

After some Googling, I finally found a solution and all it involved was a soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste. Score. It just so happens that I brush my teeth, so I had both things on hand. The result was amazing!

The key to making this work is the toothpaste that you pick. Gel toothpastes just don’t work because they don’t contain baking soda, so don’t bother with that type. Also, use a soft bristle toothbrush. You don’t want to cause damage to that jewelry you’re trying to save!

Lastly… and I wish I didn’t have to say this but since I never underestimate the power of stupidity… Don’t re-use your toothbrush after doing this. Duh.

Here are the three easy steps I took to clean my tarnished jewelry.

  1. Wet the silver and add a dab of toothpaste. A little goes a long way.

  2. Rub gently with the toothbrush until it’s polished.

  3. Rinse the polished jewelry in warm water and dry with a clean cloth.

That’s it! Repeat the steps again if it requires a little more shine. Once you’re done, you’re ready for a night out on the town in your shiny, like new jewelry!


Warning:   While toothpaste may be the best and most economical method for cleaning silver jewelry, it can be abrasive and may scratch more delicate silver items. Always test a small area first, in order to determine whether your jewelry piece should be cleaned with toothpaste or not.

16 thoughts on “Friday’s Focus On: Cleaning Tarnished Jewelry {DIY}

  1. Ok, so I know I’m like 2 years late, but I just found this…
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    I had 2 pieces of jewelry that would not come clean with the no-scrub baking soda/salt/dish soap/aluminum foil method. I was about to give up hope on the necklace I wore a lot while my husband and I were dating. I used your method and it’s shiny again!!
    Thanks so much!!

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