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Cleaning Silver with Aluminum Foil

Category Metal
This is a page about cleaning silver with aluminum foil. While this is a widely shared method for cleaning silver, it can cause permanent damage to your silver items. It is best to avoid this method, particularly when cleaning valuable items.


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It's easy to clean silver using aluminum foil and cleaning agents you have in the house.

Total Time: 15 minutes max

Source: Facebook


  • glass or aluminum baking dish
  • 1 piece of aluminum foil if using glass dish
  • 1 cup oiling water
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • rag for polishing
  • tongs for removing silver from boiling water


  1. Line the glass dish with foil.
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  3. Put in the dry ingredients first.
  4. Add the vinegar. There will be a reaction.
  5. Add the boiling water.
  6. Now add your silver.
  7. All silver should be touching the foil and no piece should touch another piece.
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  9. Leave between 30 seconds and a few minutes, depending on the level of tarnish.
  10. Use tongs to remove the silver and use a rag to clean completely and to polish.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

June 25, 2019

Does anyone have the formula for foil paper and borax used to clean real silver? I need to clean some sugar bowls for craft projects, but cannot remember the formula.


June 25, 20190 found this helpful

I used to clean with foil until someone on this site said that you could ruin silver this way. Since then, I use a silver polish.

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June 26, 20190 found this helpful

In reply to the poster who worried that this might ruin your silver, I believe there may be some truth to that, although for your purposes, it is not likely a concern. I googled this, and it says that in this chemical process the silver sulphide (the tarnish) is replaced with pure silver and the sulphide joins to the aluminum to make aluminum sulphide, so if your pieces are heavily tarnished, you might see a brownish tinge on your aluminum foil. The silver piece might have a slightly rougher surface (only visible with a magnifying glass) and will not be sterling silver, but will be pure silver.


If there is any patina on the silver, that will be removed too.

Anyway, line a glass bowl with foil and place the pieces inside, touching the foil, but not each other. Boil enough water to cover the pieces, and add 1 tsp to 1/4 cup of borax. Pour the water over, and let sit till cool. Drain off water, and buff silver with a soft cloth. You can also do the same thing using baking soda and salt, 2 tsp of each. If the silver is heavily stained, you may have to do it twice.

I used this once on my silver souvenir spoons, and it worked well.

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