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How to Clean Silver, Easily!

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My tarnished silver was getting me down, but there was no way I was doing all that polishing! Instead, I decided to try this baking soda silver cleaning trick I've been seeing all over the internet. I'm sure you've seen it too, but there are several versions of it, and I wanted to know which version was the one that actually worked - and why. So, after doing some research, I chose to use baking soda, aluminum foil, and a pot of boiling water. Here's how...
  • how to clean silver easily, cleaning tips, how to
Turns out, silver tarnish is actually what happens when the air interacts with the silver and turns its outer layer into silver sulfide (which is black). You could take some silver polish and use a lot of elbow grease and polish off the layer of silver sulfide, which will rub away some of your silver each time, or you can sit back and use science to turn that silver sulfide back to shiny silver.
Step 1: Boil a Pot of Water
This step is fairly obvious - I just filled a pot with water and turned my stove onto high heat.
Step 2: Add a Ball of Aluminum Foil
  • how to clean silver easily, cleaning tips, how to
For the second step (equally easy), I ripped a piece of aluminum foil off my roll, crumpled it up into a loose ball, and tossed it into my pot as it boiled. You don't want to crumple it up too tightly, because your silver will have to be touching the aluminum foil for this trick to work.
Step 3: Add a Cup of Baking Soda
  • how to clean silver easily, cleaning tips, how to
Once the water came to a rolling boil, I added a cup of baking soda (a tablespoon at a time), and turned the flame lower. I had a lot of silver, so I wanted to water to stay hot for a while, but you could turn the stove off completely if you have less silver to shine.
Step 4: Dunk Your Tarnished Silver into the Pot
  • how to clean silver easily, cleaning tips, how to
Now, here's where the fun starts! I slipped a silver tray into the pot, letting the whole piece slide right in. Because it was big enough and would be touching the foil on its own, I didn't need to hold onto it. For the smaller pieces, I made sure to place them carefully in the pot or to hold them against the foil.
Remember, as long as your silver piece is touching the foil, this trick will work.
  • how to clean silver easily, cleaning tips, how to
For something with a light tarnish, a quick dip is all you'll need. For a thick coat of tarnish, like my grandmother's silver tray, you may have to leave it in for a few minutes. If you're doing a large amount of silver in more than one shift, you may have to add another half a cup of baking soda.
Step 5: Wipe Your Silver Dry
  • how to clean silver easily, cleaning tips, how to
When my tray was looking really bright and shiny, I slipped on a heavy glove and removed the tray from the pot. Silver is a great heat conductor, so make sure to use a glove or tongs to retrieve your sparkling pieces.
Using a cloth, I buffed off the water, to prevent my newly-shiny silver from getting any water marks.
  • how to clean silver easily, cleaning tips, how to
And here's the difference! One dunk later and my fingers aren't even a little bit tired. Look at that crazy shine, all thanks to science!

Materials I used for this project:

  • Tarnished silver   (Grandma)
  • Gallon of water
  • Piece of aluminium foil   (Grocery Store)
See all materials
  • Melonnie Johnson
    Melonnie Johnson Denton, TX

    I don't know if this method works on chrome but I do know that you can clean chrome by pouring plain old coke-a-cola directly on the chrome and gently rubbing with a soft cloth. Rinse and dry and wa-la, shiny chrome!!

  • Ann Kumpe Suziedelis

    NOOOOO!! This will strip the silver from any silver plated item. You know what they say: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Threehhhs
    Threehhhs Spring Lake, MI

    I agree..works yet I had some silver stripped off some pieces...

  • Billjan1958

    So, I can not use this method on silver plated dinner wear?

    • DaNaD
      DaNaD Easton, PA

      Yes, you can use it on any silver, even silver plated!

  • DaNaD
    DaNaD Easton, PA

    This is the best trick ever to clean any silver or silver-plated dishes, I tried many, many time with great results!

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!