Years ago I was lured into buying one of those "but wait" products that miraculously cleaned tarnished silver. I had mediocre results and had to buy a certain detergent and something else to mix with it. In essence, I got a sheet of tin with some holes in it and instructions on how to use it.
I found several suggestions saying to use baking soda and tin foil in some manner to remove tarnish. I was cleaning some old silver trays that had been in storage for a very long time, so I needed a big container that could hold boiling water to place the items in. I have a stainless steel sink, so I put the stopper in, covered the bottom with aluminum foil, placed one tray in, put in a couple of tablespoons of baking soda on top, then covered it all with boiling water.
After cleaning a couple of pieces, I thought of adding a second sheet of tin foil on top of the piece and it seemed to be an even more efficient way of tackling this task. The secret is that the foil must touch the piece in some way. I let it sit in the solution for about a half hour.
To my amazement, when I rubbed my finger around the edge of the tray, my finger was black from the tarnish that had been brought out of the tray. The sheets of foil, through some chemical reaction, had absorbed the tarnish and were dark with the collection of it. After removing most of the tarnish this way, I used my silver polish to shine it up and protect it. No more of those "but wait" pieces of tin and buying special detergents, etc.
Source: Gleaned from many places and perfected by experimenting.
By Sandy from Elon, NC
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