Silver accessories offer a classic touch to home décor. Silver serving trays, tea sets, silverware, urns, platters, ice buckets and other silver items gleam when polished. One disadvantage to silver's lush, reflective surfaces comes from its vulnerability to tarnish. According to Chemyst.com, hydrogen sulfide in the atmosphere interacts with silver to make silver sulfide, causing the dullness and a black film. You can make your own silver polish with nontoxic ingredients for an eco-friendly, inexpensive solution to polishing silver.
Things You'll Need
- Sink with a plug, or a dishpan
- Baking soda
- Aluminum foil
- Hot water
- Toothpaste (optional)
- Jar lid or shallow container
- Soft rag
Make a Silver Polish Soak
Put a piece of aluminum foil in a dishpan or in a sink with the plug in place. Place silver items in a single layer on the aluminum foil so the silver items aren't touching.
Add equal parts of baking soda and salt. For example, to polish six pieces of silverware, use 1 tsp. of baking soda and 1 tsp. of salt. For larger items, use at least 1 tbsp. each of baking soda and salt.
Add hot water to fully cover the items. Soak the silver for at least 30 minutes. A sulphurous odor comes from the tarnish-removal process.
Rinse the silver items under running water. Buff the silver with a clean, soft cloth.
Create Natural Silver Polishes
Mix a quarter-size dab of natural toothpaste or plain baking soda with 1 tsp. of water in a shallow container.
Dip a soft rag in the water-baking soda paste. Rub the silver items in slow, straight, up-and-down strokes. Avoid making circles or crosswise motions with the rag.
Apply more paste to polish any heavily tarnished areas or crevices.
Buff the silver items to a shine.
Rinse the silver and dry it with a soft rag right away to prevent water spots.
Tips & Warnings
- To clean heavily tarnished items, heat water to simmering and soak the items overnight.
- Don't soak hollow-handled silverware, glued items or jewelry with stones.
- Seek an expert opinion before cleaning antique silver items to avoid the risk of damage.
- Photo Credit spoons image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com
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