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Cleaning Silver

Tips for cleaning silver: I have a collection of silver mustard spoons that are beginning to look a little tarnished and yellow. Does anyone have any ideas on how to clean silver?

Many thanks to you all in advance.

Julie (UK)


Cleaning Silver

Be very careful with this method since the solution along with the aluminum foil can totally ruin your silver, especially if you have any plate it will be destroyed, the sterling can be pocked marked when done. (02/06/2005)


By lahlbrand

Quickly Cleaning Silver

My daughter would spend hours cleaning the silver service in our home. I decided one day to surprise her and clean it all in a few minutes. Here is what I did.

Take a deep pan of water and heat it quite hot. Add a piece of tinfoil with the shiny side up and pour a blob of salt in the middle along with a blob of Cascade Water Softener. Stir and just dip your silver for a few minutes and wolla, all clean. Rinse with warm water and dry.

She was quite upset with me! =) (03/09/2005)

By Giagemgal

Cleaning Silver

One of the best ways to keep silver serving forks, spoons, etc. looking polished & tarnish free is to simply use them & carefully hand wash & dry often, at least twice a month. (03/09/2005)


Cleaning Silver

Absolutely the best way to clean silver: Line a sauce pan with aluminum foil, fill it with water and add 1 Tbsp. of baking soda per 2 cups of water; heat over burner to boiling and remove. Lay silver items in pan, touching aluminum foil. Remove, rinse, and polish lightly.


By Brenda Cole (05/08/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Warm Water, Salt, and Aluminum Foil

Cleaning Silver Request and answer from NEWTON

From: gottfried

Text: I teach middle school science, and one of my colleagues, who thinks I know everything, asked why the following recipe works. (I was at a loss, so in order to continue to appear brilliant I need help!) Tarnished silver can be cleaned if placed in a glass bowl which has warm water, salt, and aluminum foil. I assume that in some way the Aluminum displaces the Ag, but, what is the role of the salt?

Author: Robert Topper

Text: I will try to confirm or deny the displacement theory. Basically, it sounds like the silver oxide on the surface is reduced by aluminum, and brought into solution. The salt raises the ionic conductivity of the water and makes it easier for electron transfer to take place (oxidation/reduction, as the other readers may not know, is the chemical term for the loss/gain of electrons from a chemical species). The way I will check out the displacement theory is to look up the thermodynamics of the situation, i.e., to check whether the half-reactions, added together, give a positive or negative EMF/free energy for the reaction. But I think you are right about it being a displacement reaction. Thanks for asking this question! I never knew this way of cleaning my wife is going to want me to clean all our silverware.


Author: jchultz

Text: The reaction is a redox reaction but not a displacement per se. The half reactions are Ag+ +e- ---) Ag and Al ---) Al3+ + 3e- When added together the cell potential is +2.48. This positive number indicates that the reaction will be spontaneous (the number is in volts). The silver oxide is reduced to silver metal and the aluminum foil is oxidized to aluminum ions. The salt is present to help the transfer of the electrons (usually called a 'salt bridge'). If the aluminum actually displaced the silver, you would not have silverware after you cleaned them...they would all be aluminumware! So it is the electrons that are being shuffled around, and not the elements themselves.

Source: NEWTON (05/08/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Cleaning Silver

I have a collection of CLEAN silver mustard spoons in 5 minutes! The warm water - aluminium foil - glass bowl and salt method really works! (Must call my friends and let them know!) Thanks everyone! Brilliant advice! (05/08/2005)


By Julie UK

Cleaning Silver

Wow! We sure do attract an educated crowd on this site. Never thought I'd be getting a chemistry refresher course. I am amazed at the things I have learned from you all! Thanks! (05/10/2005)

By Claudia

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