"For polishing the silver, are you familiar with the trick of soaking the silver in a basin or pan with a piece of aluminum foil, some baking soda, and salt? Works like a charm!"
Neither of us had heard of this silver polishing tip before, but we're always up for trying a new home remedy, especially if it saves us time — so we pulled out the supplies and gave it a go after reading into a few more sources online.
- Sink, tub, basin or glass pan
- Hot water
- Baking soda
- Aluminum foil
- Tarnished silver
- Kitchen tongs
- Clean dry cloths
Line the bottom of a sink or basin with aluminum foil. It doesn't have to be new foil, this is actually a great way to re-use an old piece up. It also doesn't have to completely cover the base of the container you choose, you'll just want to make sure the pieces you are polishing are able to touch the foil easily.
Add salt and baking soda, we roughly poured in equal parts of each — it doesn't have to be an exact measurement but I'd say we used a good 2 tablespoons of each. At this point you should be able to just add hot water to your container and watch the tarnish melt away.
I picked out a small sampling of pieces with heavy tarnish on them for an initial test:
We rested them in the bottom of the basin, making sure all pieces were touching the foil, which seems to be a key in this polishing method:
Then Tim gently poured a pot of boiling water over everything. All the different sources we read said hot water was also a key, even better if you can get it steaming:
As we watched the flatware resting in the water, the tarnish and years of dirt seemed to vanish slowly before our eyes:
Tip: Since the water and metal were so hot, we used kitchen tongs to flip the flatware over after one side appeared polished and to later transfer the it from the water to a clean cloth.
We let our flatware sit about 5 minutes max — the process was quick. If you have heavily tarnished items, you might want to leave them in a little longer.
After resting all the pieces on the cloth to let them cool, we wiped them down with another clean cloth to see the final results:
This is the set, straight from the liquid bath, with nothing more than a wipe down to clean and dry them:
Here's how they looked before, to save you from the extra scrolling:
Pretty incredible difference, right? We were beyond impressed with how well this trick actually worked. The advantage of using a big liquid bath like this is in how the liquid can reach places a polishing cloth can't, plus you can effectively polish lots of pieces at once while you do other things.
After realizing this little polishing bath wasn't just an urban legend, you better bet I whomped the entire remaining collection on in that tub:
Yes, whomped is a highly technical term.
Look how bright and shiny the silverware looks straight from the baking soda and salt bath:
I'm not sure we've ever seen this flatware so shiny.
We eventually realized the foil was actually taking on the tarnish from the flatware. See how dark it became:
How crazy is that and how in awe of science are you now? We sure are:
After everything was polished and squeaky clean, we picked up an expandable flatware tray and organized the entire set in one of the drawers of our dining room sideboard:
It feels good to give them a proper place to live and we've even gotten the chance to use different pieces of the set twice now. We're looking forward to using these old friends more often and are forever grateful that we received this anonymous tip in the comments here on the blog!
So tell us — have you ever heard of this trick before or have another silver polishing tip we should know about?
Have a great weekend! We will see you on Monday with our normal Weekend Basics!
P.S. Funny (and true) fact: After hand polishing different pieces of silver we own in the past, Tim once told me, "I could have worked in a castle in England polishing silver." Can't you guys just picture him around this table on Downton Abbey lending a hand?