Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tackling Tarnished Silver

I don't know what got in me today, I decided to pull everything out of my pantry, clean the shelves, and reorganize everything so that it looked nice and neat.  For who?  I guess it's really just for me because I'm sure my kids will never notice the boxes of cereal are organized by color and size and I doubt my husband will notice the soup cans are alphabetized either!  

After the pantry was done, I hadn't tortured myself enough, I thought it would be a great idea to pull out all of my serving dishes, silverware and our infamous turkey platter.  Everything was there in its place just as I had put it last year and ready to go for this year's festivities, except the silverware.  Every fork, knife and spoon were tarnished, including my coveted gravy boat!  

I sat down on the floor to observe the immense job I had ahead of me and decided that I would rather scratch my nails on a chalkboard than polish each piece!  I really didn't have 8 hours left to my day to put toward polishing.

So what's a girl to do with little time and a lingering job of rubbing silverware all day?  I went to the internet for help.  Boy did I find it!  

I went with the first remedy I found and used aluminum foil, salt and baking soda to remove the tarnish.  "This better work" was my mantra.

This is how it went.... 

On the internet, it was suggested to use a glass pan and line it with aluminum foil.  In my mind, why not use an aluminum pan?  

So that's what I did.

I don't always follow the rules.

On the internet it was suggested to use 4 cups of warm water, 2 Tbsps of baking soda and 2 Tbsps of salt.

I think that depends on the size of pan you are using.

I doubled and tripled and even quadrupled all of the ingredients.

This cute little foot belongs to my sugar and creamer set.  It's almost black with tarnish - yuk.

Once all of the ingredients are added, stir and place the tarnished item in the water.  The immediate smell of a rotten-egg will emit from the reaction of the tarnish to the salt and baking soda.  

Clothespins may be necessary for those with strong noses.

Or, you get used to the smell. 

As you can see in the picture above, the lid is under water in the solution and the tip is sticking out of the water.  The mixture is working, egg smell or not, I was so happy it was working and I wasn't standing there applying polish.

I was nearly jumping up and down watching the tarnish disappear.  I decided to get more pans ready so that I could get the job done faster.  

I noticed that somewhere in the process, the mixture stopped working.

I'm not a scientist, but from my observation it seemed that when the water cooled or maybe when the salt and baking soda sat together for too long it quit working.  

Luckily it's an easy solve.

Dump the water out and start over.

Worked like a charm.

With heavily tarnished pieces like this pie server, let it soak for 10 minutes in a fresh batch of the mixture, if the piece still has tarnish, take it out of the water and sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda on it and rub with a soft cloth until it makes a dry paste. The tarnish comes off easily within seconds.

The pie server turned out great.

The intricate pieces with details and crevices took longer and I had to use the extra baking soda, but they turned out great!


Once I found the ease of using warm water, an aluminum pan, salt and baking soda, I will NEVER use polish again; polishing cloth maybe.

I did go crazy putting every piece of silver or silver plated items I have in the mixture, but I'm done and everything has a glorious shine rather than a dull black hue.

Happy polishing.


Olga Wells said...

Great! thanks for sharing these for us.

standing pantry

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