Daily Wire Tip: Fight Tarnish with Chalk?

By on September 27, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip


I have heard that placing silver jewelry in a plastic bag with a piece of chalk will keep it from tarnishing. Have you had the same experience?

-Doris in Fair Lawn, New Jersey


Adding a small piece of chalk to a sealed bag with a sterling silver jewelry piece inside does work to prevent tarnish. The chalk will attract any moisture as well as most chemical residues that cause tarnish to occur.

If you prefer not to worry about the chalk touching the jewelry, wrap it in a small piece of cheesecloth. This will work for jewelry as well as for flatware, tea sets, etc.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    September 28, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Using those little silica packets that come with leather goods also helps. If they get moisture laden, just lay them out on a pizza pan or cookie sheet and when you are through baking or roasting something in your oven, turn the oven off and put the sheet in the oven until all is cool. Your silica should be restored and ready for use again.

    • avatar


      September 28, 2010 at 10:34 am

      Nice tip on restoring silica packets Connie – thanks!

  2. avatar

    Catherine Franz

    September 28, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Will this work for silver plated jewelry?

    • avatar


      September 28, 2010 at 10:33 am

      Yes Catherine, this will also work for silver plated items.

  3. avatar

    Nancy M

    September 28, 2010 at 10:02 am

    You can also purchase a special “tarnish resistant” cloth at your local fabric store (it’s like the cloth lining used in better flatware storage chests and jewelry boxes/armoires). I made small pouches lined with the cloth and use them to store my silver jewelry.

  4. avatar


    September 28, 2010 at 10:07 am

    No, wonder it didn’t work in my jewelry case! I just put all my silver in the case with the chalk and it all tarnished. Now, to figure an easy way to remove it since most of it is etched or textured.

    • avatar


      September 28, 2010 at 10:33 am

      The only way I know of that is safe would be to hand polish every piece with either a polishing cloth or liquid polish. And then store it well.

      • avatar

        Cheryl Dunham

        July 10, 2012 at 5:49 am

        To remove tarnish, use 2 tablespoons of washing soda, 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix this with hot water. Line a glass dish with tin foil place your tarnished item on the tin foil and then pour the hot mixture on it. It will clean up your jewelry quite quickly.
        You can use regular baking soda but it doesn’t work as fast as the washing soda. I used Arm N Hammer washing soda, and got it in the grocery store.

        • avatar

          Marcia H.

          December 10, 2013 at 7:19 am

          I have used the baking soda and hot water formula and it worked. I haven’t tried washing soda and didn’t put salt in it but will try it next time. Thanks Cheryl!

  5. avatar

    Shirley Crabtree

    September 28, 2010 at 11:21 am

    This also works to keep or dry moisture from shoes. My mother always kept a piece of chalk in her shoe boxes.

  6. avatar


    September 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Nice tip to know. The other things that I use are small black anti tarnish tabs and anti tarnish ziploc bags. I got both on ebay. If you can find it, a piece of Camphor wood in your jewellery box or china cabinet will work beautifully as well. I bought camphor blocks but once unwrapped as they work they dissolve away to nothing. I am still looking for the camphor wood.

  7. avatar

    Ann Prestridge

    September 28, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I have kept a piece of aluminum foil in my silver flatware chest for years to prevent tarnish. The chemicals or air pollutants attach to the foil instead of the silver flatware. It has worked for me Also, When I do clean my silver, I fill my kitchen sink with boiling water, place a sheet of foil in the bottom of the sink and add a hand full of baking soda then place the silver in the sink being sure each piece touches the foil. Tarnish is instantly removed. Then I wash in warm soapy water, rinse well, dry thoroughly then polish with a silver polishing cloth. Beautiful. On very tarnished pieces, it may take longer to remove. Just be patient and work with it. It will eventually come off but if it is pitted, nothing really will fix that especially if it is plated silver.

    • avatar


      September 29, 2010 at 12:28 am

      Nice directions Ann!

  8. avatar

    Una Robinson

    September 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I live in Australia and many years ago I was advised to place aluminium foil with my silver cutlery to prevent tarnish. About 12 months ago I decided I had to downsize and give up on my canteen of silver plated Grosvenor cutlery. It had been stored for some considerable time in years and unused and covered in foil and there was absolutely no tarnish whatsoever! I do not know the philosophy for this tarnish preventative. I have more recently placed aluminium foil in the lid of my silver plated jewellery findings to keep them fresh and clean.

    • avatar


      September 29, 2010 at 12:27 am

      This makes total sense Una, as aluminum foil is the attractant when placed on the bottom a glass dish with hot water and baking soda, and then submerging silver pieces to remove tarnish – thanks for simplifying things for us!

  9. avatar


    October 1, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Thanks for the tip! I just bought a pack of chalk and some poly baggies to try this out.

  10. avatar

    Virginia Wayne

    July 10, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Been doing this with my supplies for years! It works.

  11. avatar

    Linda B

    July 10, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Does colored chalk also work? I picked up a bucket of chalk kids would use for their “art work” on sidewalks and wondered if I could use it all or does it work with just the white?

    Also could I use one of those aluminum containers that are made to use and throw away after baking? You can get quite a number of them at Costco for little money. They are about 8 x 10 inches and at least 4 inches deep.

    • avatar


      July 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      I don’t know, Linda, I haven’t tried it with colored chalk – try it and let us know?

  12. avatar

    susannah St. Clair

    July 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    For quick small jobs, I bought and used the Shine Brite from Jewelry Tools. I think it is around $5.00 a jar but check as I bought a whole box of it. You just plop in what you need cleaned and leave it for about 2 minutes, pull out, wash with warm water. Dry with soft cloth. Worked great. Cheryl’s idea is better for lots and large but this is a space saver. One was VERY tarnished. A necklace. The only thing I noticed is it seemed a small bit “yellow” but the light wasn’t great and when I used regular silver polish to see if it was better on part of it, I found I couldn’t really see the difference. Love the tinfoil idea. Better than those little packets….. :)

  13. avatar


    July 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I can’t wait to try these tips. Thanks for sharing!

  14. avatar

    Neva Carmichael

    July 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Will the chalk work on copper also?

    • avatar


      July 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      Yes it works with copper. I live in BC’s northern coastal rainforest so it’s a little on the damp side here. I put chalk in with any metal prone to tarnish and it always works.

  15. avatar


    September 11, 2012 at 7:38 am

    The gallery where I sell my jewelry is also a pottery shop. Much to my dismay I discovered that when the kiln is in use it leaves a tar like tarnish on any metal that is almost impossible to get off. With the cost of silver these days I have turned to silver plate. When I tried to polish these pieces I was left with mostly copper or brass – the plating having been polished off. Some of the pieces I had to remake as there was no hope for them at all. Some of the pieces I just left as an ‘antiqued look’.
    I also discovered that cleaning silver plate with foil,soda, and hot water either pits the plate or just erodes it entirely.

  16. avatar

    Peggy Powers

    March 27, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I’m all for saving the environment, but I have to admit I love my ionic cleaning machine. It cleans and removes tarnish so quickly and so well. I’m still a newbie and acquiring tools. This tool was the most expensive to date but it was worth every penny. You can clean everything in it….”all” kinds of stones and even pearls. I got it because of a suggestion I saw on here. I can only say thank you!