Nickel silver, commonly known as German silver, was first developed by the German metalworkers in the 19th century.
Because of the similar look, it gives the appearance of silver. But treating both the metals similarly might prove costly.
That’s why you should know how to clean nickel silver properly. It is not exactly a form of silver but a mixture of copper, nickel, and zinc.
It has been used in many things for centuries like- cutlery set, showpiece, ornaments, musical instruments, etc.
while giving the things a resemblance of silver, nickel silver keeps the price down.
Cleaning, metallic things can be difficult. Because what makes the silver shine, may turn nickel silver into black.
Harsh chemicals and hard surfaces can damage both the metals. To avoid that, here are some suggestions to keep your precious things in good condition.
How to Clean Nickel Silver
Use baking soda and water to clean nickel silver and wash the nickel silver with lukewarm water. A mixture of vinegar and water is another easy method to clean nickel silver. Adding corn starch will provide you a better result in terms of cleaning hard stain in the nickel silver.
1. Basic cleaning
Wash your nickel silver item with warm water and a mild detergent. Rinse it thoroughly and dry it with a soft lint-free cloth.
It is the best home remedy. This method should remove the dirt from your item. You can also use dish soap for routine cleaning.
But make sure to dry the item. Otherwise, there will be a watermark which doesn’t look pretty.
2. Baking soda solution
For darker stains, you can use the baking soda and water method.
Most of the households have baking soda stored, as it is used in the food and on cleaning purposes frequently.
Making a paste out of it is the most natural home remedy. Place the baking soda in a plastic container; you can use ice-cream containers for this task.
Add enough water to make the paste.
You can even create a paste of a 1:1 ratio and apply it on the item you wish to clean. You can simply cover your item with it and wait for a while.
Or rub the paste in continuous motion on textured areas. This will work great in cleaning those hard to clean areas without any damage.
After that, wash the item with warm water and make it dry with a soft lint-free cloth to see the shine.
3. Vinegar solution
If your item has calcium deposits commonly known as lime scale, then the best way to treat it is to use vinegar water-based solution.
Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar. Dip a cloth into the mixture. Lay the fabric onto the affected area for 5 minutes.
When the time is up, wipe the area with clean water and make it dry. You can use a microfiber cloth to do that.
If the simple water and vinegar-based solution don’t work at the first go, then add a tablespoon (15g) of corn starch to the solution and repeat the process.
4. Ammonia solution
To make an ammonia solution for stubborn stains on your object, mix one part of ammonia with three parts of water.
Soak a clean cloth into the solution and lay in on the stain for about 30 minutes.
If your object is detachable and small, then find an appropriate deep container large enough to drown the object in it.
Rinse your object well with fresh warm water until the cleaning agent has been completely washed off.
Do this after the 30 minutes waiting time is over. Dry the surface of your wet object with a clean, soft cloth.
5. Using a commercial cleaning agent
Another solution for cleaning German silver or nickel silver is to use commercial cleaning polish.
If the baking soda method doesn’t work on your strongly stained item, then seek help from the commercial cleaning polishes available in your nearby store.
You should strictly follow the instructions given by the brand; otherwise, you might damage your valuable item.
Before using read the package directions thoroughly and remember it step by step. This will give you a nicely finished product as good as new.
Remember to wear safety gloves before working with these cleaning agents. They can contain harmful chemicals for the skin.
So, make sure to keep a distance between the chemicals and your skin. In case you have contact with it, wash off that area off your skin with fresh water.
6. Using polishing cloths
If you don’t feel comfortable working with commercial cleaning liquids, then you can choose polishing cloths to work with.
These are safe and easy to use. There are lots of different brands available in the market.
You can use sunshine polishing cloth or leblanc professional nickel finish polishing cloth to polish your object.
These products contain non-toxic chemicals that will not harm the metal and remove mild tarnish from nickel silver.
It won’t make any scratches if you use gently and will leave a nice shine to your object.
7. Using paint thinner
Paint thinner will also work to give your nickel silver a good shine. But before involving yourself in the task, take necessary safety measures.
Paint thinner is both toxic and extremely flammable.
Because of the chemical reaction when the two things come into touch while cleaning, poisonous gases might be created.
So, to be safe, make sure to keep your working area well ventilated and use rubber gloves to protect your skin.
8. Using acetone
Acetone is the active ingredient of nail polish remover. But using a nail polish remover to remove stain or glue from your nickel silver object might not help.
Because a nail polish remover is not that strong. So, you have to buy acetone which you can find in any store as it is mostly used as a popular cleaning tool.
It works like magic if you accidentally have dried glue on your nickel silver object. It quickly softens the glue and makes it easy to come out.
An Easy Way of Cleaning Coins
Turpentine or orthophosphoric acid works as a standard solvent to clean your nickel silver object.
Phosphoric acid can even be found in many soda drinks like coca-cola. This is why you may have heard about cleaning nickel silver coins with coca-cola.
Just leave your coins in a coca-cola bath for a while. And this will eat away all the tarnish from your coins, leaving the metal a beautiful shine to it.
Cleaning Nickel-Plated Jewelry
Remaining untarnished or unscratched doesn’t mean your jewelry looks as bright as when you first bought it.
As you continue to wear your jewelry, it comes in touch with dust and air. Which makes it gradually look fade and old.
To make it look as good as new, you need not take it to a jewelry mechanic. You can take care of it yourself with minimum budget and easy to get ingredients.
You can use the above-stated solutions. But jewelry items are very delicate, so you cannot rub it hard or with rough particles that can break off joints.
To clean nickel-plated jewelry, take a pot. Fill it with the type of solution you want to use.
If you are thinking about going to use commercial cleaning agent, then you are recommended to go with WD-40.
It is also very useful to clean different types of stains from metal. As it has earned much appreciation in the market for its effectiveness.
Let your jewelry soak into the solution for half an hour. Take it out after that and wash it off with clean water.
If you want to reach some tricky, dirty area, then take a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently brush that area. That should clean all the dirt.
After cleaning, you must dry your jewelry with a clean, soft cloth and always keep it in a separate box to protect it from getting any scratches.
To sum up, the condition of your nickel silver jewelry, coin, or any other object largely depends on you.
If you take care of it properly, it will be long-lasting and have its original shine for a long time.
As of now, you can use any of the solutions as mentioned above to clean your nickel silver item.