Saturday, 10 December 2011

How to clean silver - the easy way!

I inherited a few bits and pieces from my Grandmother who was an avid collector (of many eclectic things...) and amongst the trinkets I got were some Mikasa dinnerware and some silver bits and bobs. I decided that it was silly to have all this stuff in the cupboard collecting dust and so I got it out, gave it a wash and started using the cups and saucers for my morning cups of tea (not just a "cuppa" anymore!!!). Then I came across a silver milk jug and sugar bowl at the markets and since they were $1 each, I decided to add them to my own eclectic dinner ware set! The silver was tarnished and so I decided to clean it all up - and it came out beautifully!

Here's what I did!

These are the milk and sugar jug with Grandma's teaspoons in their original condition. Not too bad but could be better!

And a close up so you can see the tarnish a bit better.

First, line your pot with al-foil (or tin foil depending on where you grew up!)

Then add about 2 tablespoons of Bi-Carbonate of Soda (Baking soda - found with the baking stuff at the supermarket)

Add the item to be cleaned...

And cover with boiling water from the jug...

It will bubble and fizz and this is good!

From what I read on the net about doing this - there is some alkaline reaction between the bi-carb and the aluminium that turns the tarnish back into silver (or something like that - my classroom chemistry wasn't good when I was in the class room and is non existent now!!!) At any rate agitating a piece of al-foil inside the bowl made a big difference to the end result.

You can see the difference between the two items already!

I then rinsed the bowl in a sink of water with a decent splash of white vinegar to neutralise the reaction.

And, Voila! Lovely clean silver!

The teaspoons were next...

With these, I soaked them in the boiling water and al-foil for a while and then gave them a scrub with bi-carb on a toothbrush to get into the pattern on the spoons and popped them back in for a while.

Quick rinse in cold water with a splash of white vinegar in it...

And we have nice clean spoons too!

It wasn't hard at all and I am quite please with the results! There is quite a bit about this on the net and even a very spectacular you-tube video showing how to do this. I would recommend that you practise on the cheap non-important stuff before you start on the family heirloom silver!

Score card:
Green-ness: ?/5 Not sure about this but am guessing that the water that ends up down the sink is fairly neutral being a mix of acid and alkaline. I still think its better than using shop bought silver cleaners 
Frugal-ness: 5/5 Didn't cost a cent! managed to use things that I already had in the cupboard!Time cost: About 15 minutes per piece. It was the first time I had done it and so the first piece took longer than the last!
Skill level: If you can boil water for a cup of tea - you can do this!
Fun -ness: Marvellous fun! Almost magic to watch!


Shawna May said...

Fantastic method. I have a lot of silverware for cleaning. I am so glad I have found your article! It sounds so easy that I am going to do it immediately. If I put it in my "to do "list there is a chance to skip it. Thank you or sharing this great post! Best regards!

Leela said...

Nice post is this

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