When I got married, my grandmother gave us a set of ‘his’ and ‘hers’ silver spoons and chopsticks. They came in a beautiful blue velvet case. I didn’t use them for over twenty years because, frankly, I was too lazy to clean them. But more than that, I hated the toxic silver polish that I had to use to clean them. I couldn’t fathom putting the spoon in my mouth after polishing them with toxic silver cleaners however many times I was supposed to rinse them afterwards.
But now, I found a way to polish them naturally using a few household items.
- 1/4 C of Washing Soda – NOT baking soda
- 2 Tbsp of salt
- 1 sheet of aluminum foil to fit a large pan
- 1 large pan with cover
- 1 Qt of boiling water
So how does this work? Here is your Chemistry lesson of the day. This is when I sound smart but I’m just borrowing it from Wiki.
The elevated pH (from the Washing Soda) dissolves the aluminum oxide layer on the foil and enables an electrolytic cell to be established. Hydrogen ions produced by this reaction reduce the sulphide ions on the silver restoring silver metal. The sulphide can be released as small amounts of hydrogen sulphide. ~Wikipedia
Did you get that? Thought so.
Caution: Make sure the room is well ventilated room. You’ll smell sulfur smell – kinda like hard boiled egg smell except more foul.
1. Wash your silver in mild, soapy water to remove any dirt.
2. Place a sheet of aluminum foil at the bottom of a large pot, and put the silver pieces on top of it. Or use an old aluminum baking pan.
3. In a separate pot, mix a quart of boiling water with 1/4 cup Washing Soda (NOT baking soda but soda ash) and 2 tablespoons salt. Double or triple the recipe to cover larger pieces.
4. Pour the solution into the pot with the silver, cover, and leave for five minutes. (Remember, this creates a sulfur smell, so you may want to open a window.)
5. Remove the silver from the pot, rinse, and then dry it with a soft cotton towel.
6. If you still have stubborn spots, apply plant-derived silver polish (like the ones from ecos.com) with a damp cotton flannel cloth, or for ornate designs, a cuticle stick wrapped in cotton (or Q-tips).
When you pour the boiling solution over the silverware, you can actually see the tarnish disappearing before your eyes and you can smell that rotten egg sulfur smell. So quickly cover the pot and let the chemical reaction take place. Take the silverware out in a few minutes.
WORD OF CAUTION: Make sure the room is well ventilated and watch carefully since salt can take away the silver finish if you leave it too long.
I got this…Look at my grandma’s silverware now. Thanks Grandma. Now, I can use them and think of you more often!
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