Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cleaning, Shining, Buffing

I saw a post on Facebook this morning for homemade jewelry cleaner. I had seen similar posts on Pinterest and had even tried one that didn't work so well, so I was skeptical. However, I have several pieces of silver jewelry that are not only pretty, but sentimental to me. I bought all but one at The Mystic Jewel in Duck, NC during our family vacations to the Outer Banks. I haven't worn them in some time because they had become quite tarnished. Something about silver jewelry...If you wear it regularly, the oils from your skin keep it from tarnishing. I've gotten out of the habit of wearing any jewelry, so mine needed a good polishing. As a result, I decided to give the post on Facebook a try. It is as follows:

  • 1 cup water heated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (I heated mine for the 2 minutes)
  • 1 piece of aluminum foil. Big enough to cover the bottom of a cereal bowl.
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1Tbsp liquid dish soap

What you do is heat the water up in your bowl. While it's heating, cut or tear a piece of aluminum foil that is the size of the bottom of your bowl. Once the water is heated, place the aluminum foil in the bowl and add the salt, baking soda, and dish soap on top of the foil. I used a plastic butter knife to give it a little stir. Then I simply placed my jewelry, a few pieces at a time to the cleanser and let it sit for five to ten minutes, giving it a little nudge with the knife every so often. I could actually see the tarnish cloud up the water as it was cleared off of my jewelry. I wish I had taken before and during pictures so you could see the difference.

The Results:

The chains cleaned up very nicely. Most of the tarnish came off of the pendants, but some shined up better than others. I took some pictures so you could see:

 This is my moonstone pendant. Of all my pendants, this one had the best results. You can see the shine and clarity of the silver.
 These are my chains. As you can tell, they are tarnish-free and pretty shiny. There are just a couple spots in the first chain that had some tarnish that wouldn't come off.
 This is my blue lace agate pendant. As you can tell, there's quite a bit of tarnish on the side. I allowed it to soak for the full ten minutes but this was as good as I could get it.
 The front view of my blue lace agate pendant. The pendant hangar (I don't know the technical term for it) came pretty clean.
 This was the most disappointing piece. This is my opal dragon fly. While the tarnish came off, I was unable to get any shine out of it. The silver is pretty dull looking.

 This is my charoite pendant. I had pretty decent results with this piece. The charoite itself cleaned up nicely.

As you can see from the side view, the silver part, while not showing much evidence of tarnish, isn't very shiny. 
 This is my peridot pendant. This piece was a Christmas gift from the Mister and didn't come from The Mystic Jewel. Anyway, it cleaned up okay. I just wish the silver was shinier.
 This is my peridot bracelet. The tarnish did not come out of the tiny detail around each stone. However, I think that it gives the bracelet a nice vintage look to it. The silver itself, on the links between each stone, still shows a bit of tarnish. The clasp, especially, looks a little rough.
This is a full, if a bit out of focus, view of my peridot bracelet.

Final Verdict:

While the homemade cleaner had some good results, they weren't as good as a commercial silver cleaner would have been. My main concern with using both the homemade cleaner and a store bought sliver cleaner on my jewelry is damaging the stones. I didn't notice any adverse effects from the homemade cleaner so I think I might make another batch and try it out again. Anyone have a better recipe for jewelry cleaner that they want to recommend?

Monday, December 09, 2013

'Tis the Season?

I have a long and convoluted story to tell. Hang on to your shorts.

After that cold snap we had, freezing temperatures equals a cold snap in Florida thankyouverymuch, the weather did a turn about and we had a warm front come through. Being the heating/air conditioning Nazi that I am, I opted to open windows rather than turn the air conditioning back on. I'm sorry, but air conditioning isn't happening at my house in late November/December. Remember that if you ever want to visit in the winter.


Our rental management company informed me that we were "due" for a home inspection on December 5th. I have a hard time believing that the timing is sooooo coincidental when he just happened to mention it to me on the phone when I called for the second time to tell him the heat pump wasn't working. (Remember when I posted that the heat wouldn't come on and we had a repair guy come out? Well, it turned on once and then wouldn't come back on. AC either. Turns out that the outside unit had a short that caused a thingamajigger in the inside unit to break. It's all fixed now and it wasn't our fault.) So, between the heater being broke and the high temps we've had, my electric bill for the past month was less than $100. Beat that! I digress. Again. ANYway, because of the inspection, I went on a three day cleaning frenzy. I vacuumed every one of those days. We also got one of the book shelves built, sanded, stained, sealed, and loaded with books that we've been intending to build since the movers broke ours. I completed all the organizing, unpacking, and decorating that I've been putting off for five months. The house looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

Today, I wrapped the first Christmas presents. I went to put them under the tree, but the tree skirt was a bunched mess, all wrapped up around the trunk because the cats won't leave the tree alone. Cat owners commiserate. I figured I'd vacuum up the needles while the skirt was mostly out of the way before straightening it. When I hauled out the vacuum cleaner, I noticed that it the canister needed emptied from the last time I vacuumed. When I went to do so, I saw that there was a sludge build up all around the bottom of it. Because the epic cleaning took place during this warm front with obscene humidity levels, the dust and dirt combined with the excess moisture in the house and formed a layer of ICK in my vacuum cleaner. I had seen a post on Pinterest a while back on how to clean your Dyson so I figured I'd do a Google search to see what I could come up with because, frankly, I was afraid of running water all over my $600 vacuum cleaner. I found a YouTube video that demonstrated how to take apart and rinse all the various components of your Dyson. They had a yellow Dyson and I have a purple Animal, so I had to figure out some stuff of my own, but I bit the bullet and washed it out. Talk about disgusting. Just when I thought I had cleaned everything, more nasty, dirty, sludgy water would pour out of it. It was freaking nasty. I'm sure living in San Diego on a canyon for three years contributed to the excess of yuck. I mean, we had an amount of dust in that house that you wouldn't believe. I didn't realize how truly dusty that house was until we moved into this one.
These are all the parts of my Dyson that I cleaned. The two in the back are both pieces of the canister and the three in front are parts of the two filters. P.S. My kitchen was painted that color when we moved in. I no likey.

So, if you have a Dyson, don't be afraid to take it apart and clean it. In fact, if you have allergies, hay fever, or general lung sensitivities, I highly recommend regularly cleaning your vacuum. Probably with a dust mask or something if you have "limp lungs" (what movies is that from??). Dyson recommends rinsing the filters every three months. Just be prepared to go without your vacuum for about 48 hours while it dries. I'm sure mine will take longer with this lingering humidity and rain we're having. I'm going to give it 72 hours at a minimum just to be safe. I don't want the dust to combine with any moisture that might be on the inside of the canister. It'd defeat the whole thing. Just be sure to check out an online "how to" video before attempting to clean your Dyson. I take no responsibility if you decide to throw your entire vacuum in the tub without knowing what you're doing first.