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It is always a good idea to wipe your silver off as soon as you are finished with it. For instance, my silver omega chain gets wiped after every use. The oils on your fingers and skin cause silver to tarnish.
Here is a tip my mom gave me for removing that tarnish, if you forgot or just got too busy. Ideas for things that can be cleaned this way are: silverware, plates, things that are put away for holidays, literally anything silver or sterling, including jewelry.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil in a bowl, spreading and molding it to the bowl. Sprinkle the foil with salt and baking soda, then fill with warm water. Take any tarnished silver or "sterling" items and soak them in the water.
As the item soaks the tarnish will migrate to the foil. It is almost like magic. Take out of the water, rinse, and buff with soft cloth.
To think how much time and money everyone will save is exciting, but the first time you see this happen is priceless. Enjoy your clean silver.
Source: My mom, Luana McD.
To clean silver, pour hot water into a mug and add 3 Tbsp. salt (to make an electrolite) and some aluminum foil. Leave items in this to soak a few minutes. Take them out and rinse with clean water, then polish with a clean soft cloth. Hey presto, clean silver!
By jay jay from Australia
I was going out on the town and wanted to wear my sterling silver necklace. I noticed it had tarnished. I did not want to get out a rag and silver polish. I recalled that when we visited Mexico, the silver jewelry shop owners all sat around all day, polishing their silver jewelry with lipstick! SO, I grabbed the tube of lipstick I was going to wear, put some on a tissue and proceeded to polish my necklace, removing the tarnish with the lipstick! It worked like a charm!
By Sharon from Southern Illinois
This is a great tip on how to keep your silver polished.While visiting the "Juliette Gordon Low" historical mansion in Savannah last month, we found out how they keep all the silver (lots and lots!) looking so beautiful. They told us they polished it as usual then put a coat of "future floor wax" over it, and it just keeps on shining. I have never heard of this, but if it works for them, I'm going for it.
The mild abrasives in toothpaste make it an inexpensive cleaner for silver including some styles of jewelry. This is a guide about toothpaste for cleaning silver.
Silver can become tarnished in many different ways, but tarnish resulting from bleach is sure to require some thorough cleaning. Here are some ideas about how to fix sterling silver tarnished by bleach.
This is a guide about polishing silverware. Polishing silverware was a lot easier when the butler did it. Well cared for silverware makes for a beautiful table, but removing the tarnish and keeping it gleaming can seem like a lot of work.
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.
Would anyone out there have the recipe for silver cleaner using the tin foil method?
I've cleaned old silverplated forks (to use in crafting) by lining a cake pan with a big sheet of aluminum foil, liberally sprinkling on baking soda, and pouring boiling water over it to cover, then let it sit awhile until the water cools enough to remove the items. Takes some tarnish off, but you still have to buff it all with a soft cloth to get it really shiny. Replace the foil to do more, as it darkens and stops removing tarnish. Though it works somewhat, I'd not really want to use this method for "good silver".
This came out of the Times-Picayune of New Orleans: In a large glass baking dish, put in foil, shiny side up. Add one tablespoon salt and one tablespoon of baking soda. Add enough boiling water to cover. Tarnish will drop off of silver pieces. Remove silver and buff.
Where can I get a reliable cleaner that will not etch/damage the original surface? Or how can I make a safe cleaner?
Tomato Ketchup! the natural acid from the tomato works in an awesome way and is safe for the environment!
I have used the salt and baking soda cleaning method for cleaning silver. However, many pieces were so tarnished and old that they have what looks like a tarnish stain. I have used commercial products to no avail. Does anyone know something I can try?
By SUSAN EYER
Sadly, it could be that it is not residual tarnish, but just the silver plating wearing off. Unless you know for sure that you have pure silver, you may want to take one of the pieces into a jeweler's and ask their advice, so you don't ruin the pieces. (Even if they are pure silver, you may want to take one in to ask how to get it clean.)
What is the best way to clean?
Here is the fastest way to do this:
Old sauce pan
Use water, a soft sponge and liquid dishwashing detergent
What can I use for a natural silver cleaner?
Yes! Four TBL salt, some aluminum foil and four TBL baking soda in a pot.
Toothpaste (not the gel kind) is what I use and you can buy it on the cheap at the dollar store. ;-) Just dab it on with a cotton ball or soft cloth and gently rub in circular motions, wipe off and rinse and you're done. :-)
Is there an easy or homemade way to clean silver and where do you suggest to sell for the most honest price? I have sold at jewelry stores in past, but that was over 15 years ago.
I did not beleive anything less than old fashioned muscle and scrubbing would ever work, But like all of us, I hoped! So when I tried this, I had little expectations. I was pleasantly surprised at the results. All you do is line your sink with aluminum foil, add to that 1/2 cup of table salt, 1/2 cup of baking soda, and a gallon of VERY hot or even boiling water and submerge your silver!
Now wait...in 20 minutes or so (when the water is cool enough to reach in and retrieve your treasures) you will be amazed! For the reallly really oxidized silver I use a product called "eagle One" also sold under the name "Never Dull" ( a lot of military folks will know this one, as it woks on medals, brass, etc, etc) It's 3.89 in your automotive dept at wal-mart! What a steal!..( use gloves, as it will smear fresh nail polish!)
I have a collection of sterling silver napkin rings, which are almost all 100 plus years old. Most have intricate designs in the Art Nouveau style. I have used the aluminum foil/baking soda and salt in hot water method. However, I now have a cloudy white residue left in the creases and indentations of the Repousse Nouveau designs.
How do I get this off without scratching the silver?
By Barbara A
I think the foil/salt/soda method is used for silver plate. You might have to resort to Goddards silver polish for sterling silver.
How do you remove lacquer from silver and silver plate?
I have a lot of silver pieces from my family. I've read here before about cleaning silverware, but don't remember anything about cleaning the larger pieces. Could someone help me with this one? The thought of cleaning them, by hand, piece by piece, is overwhelming. Also, how best to store them afterwards? Right now I have them wrapped in cloth and then in heavy plastic, which seems to do OK. Thanks.
By Sylvia K.
What is best way to clean silver and silverplate?
By Connie N.
How do I remove old lacquer from silver?
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
What's the best effective way to clean old silver pieces?
John from Chicago, IL
Thanks, I just cleaned my ring I haven't worn in ages. It was really dirty and smelled horrid; I cleaned it with Aquafresh toothpaste and a toothbrush. It has a nice shine to it now and has that fresh breath smell. :D (02/11/2009)
What is the best natural way of cleaning a silver tray?
Sheila from Ontario
Make a paste of baking soda to use in cleaning your silver. This idea is by the Queen of Clean on BBC.
Best of luck. (04/16/2008)
By Carol in PA
I have heard toothpaste works wonders!
It really works. Use a little and then buff with a soft cloth.
I found the toothpaste idea worked great. Thank you to Monique. I tried the baking soda, it did take off a bit of tarnish, but the toothpaste worked better.
I'm new to this site and wanted to respond. Get a large container that will hold the tray. Use your sink if the tray is too large. Put 1 sheet of aluminum foil, 1 Tbsp salt, and 1 Tbsp baking soda into the container. Fill with warm water and then add your tray. Wait an hour and then wipe the tray with a soft cloth.
Only use glass or plastic bowls to do this. The tarnish can adhere to a metal bowl. If you smell rotten eggs, ventilate the room. If the foil gets dark, replace it with new foil. (04/21/2008)
Use baking soda, salt, and aluminum foil or an aluminum container. Find an aluminum dishpan or container to hold the silver pieces. (Alternately, place a square of aluminum foil in the bottom of the container.) Place silver to be cleaned in a the container and cover with water.
For each quart of water used, add approx. 1 TBSP of baking soda and 1 TBSP salt.
Allow silver to soak. (Silver will brighten and aluminum will darken.)
Try a cleaner called Universal Stone from Germany. The stuff works fantastically! It's non-toxic and made from all food-grade ingredients. It works on brass and copper, too. I bought it online. (10/05/2008)
Toothpaste (not the gel kind) will definitely work but if the tarnish is fairly bad it would take a lot less elbow grease to use good old fashioned silver polish remover that you can buy in almost every market or hardware store.
You would be better off trying to re-sell the items on eBay, Craigslist, a second hand store, or consignment store 'after' you've polished them to fetch a higher price. (10/27/2008)
Silver tarnish is a coating of silver sulfide on the surface of the piece. If you use a silver polish, or toothpaste, or a baking soda paste, you are rubbing a bit of the silver off each time.
When you use the hot water and aluminum method, you are creating a chemical reaction that transfers the sulfur from the silver to the aluminum, which is why the aluminum looks dark when you have finished the process. The aluminum is now "tarnished", as it were. The salt or baking soda, or combination of these, in the water as well as heating the water just speeds up the chemical reaction. You can also use Calgon. I suppose you could use caustic soda, but it is corrosive to your skin, so there is no point in doing so. Some sources also suggest vinegar. What you are doing by adding the substance, whatever it is, to the water, is producing an electrolyte which enhances the chemical reaction. Sometimes you also get a bit of a rotten egg smell, which is some of the sulfur escaping as a gas, hydrogen sulfide. Not enough of this is produced to be harmful in your kitchen. Open a window. It is just stinky.
In my experience, cleaning my collection of silver coffee spoons with this, some spoons cleaned up better than others. Some seemed to be slightly dull. I would polish the dull ones with a silver polish. They were not tarnished, but just didn't seem to be a shiny as the other spoons. I suspect it was the quality of the silver that made the difference. (10/27/2008)
By Louise B.
I have heard that if you put water softener in a pie pan lined with aluminum foil, it works. I use white king water softener. (10/27/2008)
By chris t.
Bring up the shine on silver by rubbing with a piece of rhubarb.