Making Grandma's Silver Shine Again!

1 Material

After my grandma graduated to Heaven, my mom gave me some of her silver and I wanted to make it shine as beautifully as my grandma was! After MUCH research (and many failed attempts) I found the quickest, easiest & VERY effective method! A foil bath!
Before and After
Super simple! All you need is a large pot, water & tin foil. Seriously, it really IS that easy! For more stubborn tarnish, you can add a bit of salt (any kind will do). I didn't have to use any on these pictured pieces.
I usually tear off about an 8 inch sheet of foil and then tear it into smaller pieces (not too small - maybe pieces half the size of my hand).
Fill the pot about 3/4 full, add the foil pieces and wait for it to boil. You don't want a raging boil .... Medium/High heat to just keep a controlled, steady boil works best.
Silver platter - BEFORE
For the smaller items that can be fully emerged in the pot, you'll want to use tongs to remove them. For the silverware, I let them boil for about 15 seconds, remove with tongs, set on a dishtowel to cool and dry.
For this larger platter, I submerged what I could (need to invest in some bigger pots!) and let it sit for about 30 seconds. Using an oven mit on this piece, I removed it and noticed that it needed about 10-15 more seconds so back in the bath it went.
Platter enjoying a nice foil bath :)
Here it is half way done ...... What a difference, huh???? I love mid-way pics! They make me feel like I'm really accomplishing something, haha!!
So flip it over & back in the bath it goes .......
NOTE: I probably should have removed the foil at this point and added new but I was too impatient for all that.
The foil will almost become "paper like" during this whole process and it WILL turn black. Rest assured, your pot will be fine. When I'm all done, I handwash it & then throw it in the dishwasher. Comes out just fine!
Can you tell which side had a bath???
And ...... **drum roll** ...... Here she is in all of her shiny glory!!!!!
When you have more silver pieces, why would you stop there???? I mean, that took about 2 minutes of my time!
Not as beautiful as Grandma ... but pretty :)
This pitcher wasn't my Grandma's ...... It actually came from a thrift store. AMAZING what you can find in those places! They're like treasure chests!
I use this for fresh flowers on the kitchen table and it was in need of a good foil bath!
I had to get a little creative in getting this girl submerged but after a few Cirque du Soleil moves, she was sparkling! (mental note - I need a larger pot!)
Bottom after bath - top not done yet.
Well, THAT'S done ...... What else can I get my hands on!?!?!?!
*light bulb* I had a small silver plated dish that was collecting dust as it patiently waited for me to figure out what to do with it. Another thrift store find, of course.
I wasn't sure how silver plated items would do with this method, but considering I only paid $1.00 for it, it was worth a try.
Silver plated dish - BEFORE
Well, what do you know?!?!?! It worked!!!! And it worked remarkably well!
Silver plated dish - AFTER
After all of my pieces had cooled down enough to touch, I "buffed" them dry with a dish towel. If you end up with water spots try rinsing under cold water and then hand drying again.
If you DO use salt in your foil bath, you're going to notice a really dull film on all of your pieces. Just keep buffing & rinsing & buffing & rinsing ...... It'll take a little more time but they WILL shine again, I promise!!!

Resources for this project:

Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

Quick Easter Egg Ideas That Are Just Too Cute
3 Absolutely Adorable Ways To Display Your Plants
Use Your Old Corks For These 25 Clever Ideas
25 Impressive Ways You Can Update Your Ikea Purchases!
Make Your Home a Winter Wonderland With These Stunning Ideas
30 Unbelievable Backyard Update Ideas
18 Ideas to Keep You From Feeling Blue
31 Super Cute & Easy DIY Ideas For Your Kitchen
Live Life In Color With These Amazing Ideas For Your Home
30 Address Signs That'll Make Your Neighbors Stop in Admiration
31 Ways To Keep Your Home Organized
Inspirational Ideas for Spring Flowers
These West Elm Knockoffs Are Pretty Unbelievable
30 Essential Hacks For Cleaning Around Your Home
Everything Red For Canada Day

Have a question about this project?

3 of 29 questions
  • Charlene
    on Feb 19, 2018

    Would this work the same way on brass?
    • Lisa Elias
      on Nov 28, 2018

      no, but you don't have to boil the silver. all you need is hot water, aluminum foil and BAKING SODA. it will take seconds to safely remove the tarnish with out having to boil the items. the oxidation goes to the aluminum will notice it turns dark....for Brass and copper, I have used CRL (calcium lime and rust) or LimeAway and it cleans them really well

  • Linda Brace
    on Feb 19, 2018

    Does this ruin your pot? And by the way...awesome job!

  • Vickie Woz
    on Feb 20, 2018

    I have some silver jewelry that i need to clean. i am worried about the stones. Have you used this method on jewelry? if so, how did it work?

Join the conversation

2 of 97 comments
  • Ann31439094
    on Apr 8, 2018

    I never thought of putting tarnished silver item on the stove to boil. I had only used on smaller items before- with very hot water, aluminum foil, and baking soda. Your idea expands my horizons!

  • Dz219450444
    on May 30, 2018

    I have silver plated pieces and can't make them look good - they are spotted and dingy

Your comment...