Nickel silver is a metal combination of two metals, known as an alloy. Nickel silver contains 75 percent copper and 20 percent nickel, with five percent of zinc. The zinc is silver in color. Also known as German silver, nickel silver is harder than silver, so it is less susceptible to scratches from abrasions. The copper oxidation is what causes items made from nickel silver to turn green.
How to clean nickel silver
The same type of chemicals that clean silver can clean nickel silver; however, commercial silver polishes might not do as good of a job. They can clean the metal but not provide a glossy finish.
The first step when cleaning items made of nickel silver is to wash the items to remove dirt. This can be done with a mild detergent and water. Dishwashing soap can be ued for this purpose. Place a few drops of the liquid into a plastic tub large enough to cover the item. Rub the metal with a soft brush-like an old toothbrush-or with your fingers or a soft cloth. When you remove the item, allow it to dry on a dry cloth, such as an old towel. After it is dry, rub the item gently with a soft cloth.
If there are still stains on the metal, put some baking soda into a small amount of water to make a paste. Rub the paste over the stain and leave on until it dries. Remove the baking soda paste with water and dry again. Lemon juice can also be used for stains and tarnish. Squeeze a lemon onto a soft cotton cloth and wipe the metal until clean.
In addition, a combination of lemon juice and salt can be used. The salt adds a bit of abrasion. Rub the stained area gently until the stain lightens and rinse the item in warm water. A polishing cloth can bring the piece back to a glossy sheen.
Using commercial polish to clean nickel silver
If the metal is still stained, applying a commercial silver polish may be needed. MaasR polishing cream is possible commercial choice. If you use a commercial paste, apply only a small amount. A paper towel is a better choice than a cloth to polish with, as the paste is messy. Placing a small amount of the paste on the paper towel and rub gently onto the stained item. Rinse well and place item onto a towel to dry. Afterwards, wash your hands well with a strong hand soap, such as LavaR.
Cleaning nickel silver with ammonia
Another method of cleaning nickel silver is to use an ammonia bath. Place ammonia in a large plastic container, large enough to submerge the item. Add three times as much water as you did ammonia. Let the item soak for at least 30 minutes. Rinse off the item and dry.