Household: Cleaning Silver without Chemicals

28 Jul

I know this blog is primarily me taking photos of various foods I make for dinner but I thought I would share a little household tip that works, happens to be green, and you probably already have every item you need around your house!

Fun fact: During the majority of my childhood all the way until I moved to the big ol’ city of Chicago, I was an avid equestrian.  I showed several times a year in academy classes at horse shows all around Kentucky.   I rode three and five gaited American Saddlebred horses and even worked at a stable starting in the 8th grade until after high school graduation to fund my hobby.  Will shovel to ride!

Anyways, over the years I acquired a bunch of ribbons, trophies, cups etc.  My Mom was in the process of cleaning her basement and gave me a box of these items the last time I was in Kentucky.  They stayed in that box and moved into my basement until the Great House Cleaning of 2011 when I came across these cute little (very tarnished) silver cups and thought I could put them to use.

Still with me?  Good.  Here’s what you need:

First, start with very hot water.  My tap gets pretty hot but if yours doesn’t you can boil it on the stove top first.  Place a couple sheets of foil in your bucket, fill with hot water, and then add about 1/2 cup of baking soda.

Place your tarnished item in the bucket and let it soak for a few minutes.  Make sure the item has contact with the foil.


Now I know you’re saying  ‘What? Clearly you are a wizard Ally!’ but I assure you I am not.  According to the internet which is never wrong, tarnish is a chemical reaction between silver and sulfur in the air that together create silver sulfide.  The combination of the foil and baking soda in the hot water reverses this chemical reaction with the hot water speeding up the process.  Something about aluminum having a lower ionization level than silver so the aluminum loses electrons and the silver gains them?  Blah blagerity blarg that’s enough science I need coffee.

Now I can use these cute cups around the house.  Maybe a vase?

Or as a pencil holder?

Happy cleaning!

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