It’s a Chemical Reaction Baby … Cleaning Silver with Baking Soda and Aluminum Foil
Disclaimer : I’m not a professional in the care of valuable silver pieces and used this method to clean only inexpensive items. It worked nicely and I’m happy with the results, however please use at your own discretion.
Wow, I did something fun today. Well, that is if you consider this type of thing to be fun!
In preparation for a fall project I have in mind I wanted to clean some small silver pieces. So I went online looking for a green alternative to cleaning silver and without question, this was the most popular solution. It is a method that involves removing tarnish from silver by immersing the pieces in a boiling hot water bath of baking soda, with the item to be cleaned touching aluminum foil. Apparently it is chemistry and the tarnish will move from the silver object and adhere itself to the foil. And you know what? It works!
Combined with nice clean silver, this method hits a 10 on the fun-factor scale. Note that there is a definite pootie odor that is emitted in the process. Ok, so your house will smell like rotten eggs for a short time, but your silver will gleam! And you can see it happening right before your eyes.
Nick was upstairs as I was doing this and as he came down for a break he was all like, ‘sniff sniff, um baby did you ..?’ Yes, it smells quite strongly so you might want to do this outside, or at least well before any company arrives.
Here are the before pictures:
How to clean silver with baking soda and aluminum foil:
Line a glass dish with aluminum foil. Add your tarnished silver in a single layer. Sprinkle on a bunch of baking soda. (Like that woman on the video I watched about this process here says, ‘be generous with it … baking soda is cheap’.)
Boil water in a kettle. It must be boiling hot so hot tap water won’t work. Pour the water into the dish. There will be bubbling, and right before your eyes the silver will clean itself! It is important that the piece of silver touch the aluminum, otherwise it won’t work.
Wash cleaned silver in warm soapy water. Then rinse and polish dry with a soft cloth.
I noticed that the first pieces in the bath worked the best probably because the water cooled down by the time I added the second batch of items. I am going to do it again with a couple of pieces, that I think will get brighter if I do them again, including the stemmed cup that I still included in the ‘after’ photos because I liked how shiny it came out, although still more of a blue-black shade than silver. But all in all, this was a success!
I prefer this way of cleaning silver over using silver polish because there are no chemicals involved and using silver polish actually scratches your silver. Basically what you’re doing with you use it is sanding the tarnish off to reveal a clean layer of silver underneath. If your item is silver-plated, a few cleanings can wear away all the silver. This method doesn’t do that.
And here are the after pictures:
Thanks for dropping over.