In a small pot (the pot's size depends on what you're cleaning), place water to where it will cover the item being cleaned. Add 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, and a capful of white vinegar. Then place the silver (silverware, etc.) on top a piece of aluminum foil with the shiny side down in pot, submerge it, then bring pot to a boil. Turn the silver or whatever it is on the other side, and you should see beautiful shiny silver on the side that was submerged. Don't ask me how it works but it really does.
By Ms_Thrifty from Houston, TX
Do not use this on silver plated items, it will remove the silver plating. This is only safe for sterling silver. I worked in a store selling silver & we learned the hard way that this will damage silver plated items.
I have to disagree with the previous poster with regard to the chemistry of this process. The black tarnish on silver is silver sulphide. If you polish this off, you remove some silver. If you use the commercial dips, you also remove the silver along with the sulphides. Using this process (which will work with baking soda, washing soda, or borax - but leave out the vinegar - it is just neutralizing the sodas). What you do is remove the sulphide from the silver, and it bonds onto the aluminum to make aluminum sulphide.
The silver remains on the item. The soda and the salt create an electrolyte solution which makes the process happen quickly; the hot water speeds up the process. With very hot water, you will smell the sulfur as well. It works because the aluminum will bond more readily with the sulfur atoms than the silver does. (I remind you to leave out the vinegar - it serves no purpose in this solution, and, in fact, slows it up a little.)
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