I love silver….silver jewlery, silver trays, etc. I don’t love cleaning silver so much, though. I think I polished silver flatware with my mom when I was very little, but I haven’t done it since then. I learned a nice and easy method from Martha Stewart a long time ago, and have used it ever since. Please note: if you have some silver that is highly embellished or engraved, or a very special antique piece, etc. you may not want to use this method as it will remove the tarnish all over your piece-even the stuff in the engravings or embellishments that helps to give it definition. While I was reading up and “researching” this cleaning method, some websites warned against using this cleaning method as it was too harsh for silver. Like I said, I don’t use it for all my silver, but I use it consistently to remove the tarnish off my silver flatware (that was my grandma’s, and is quite dear to me).
For this project, you will need an aluminum pan OR a dish lined with tin foil, baking soda and boiling water. Your pan/dish should be large enough to hold your silver piece/s along with sufficient water to completely cover your silver.
Boil the water. You will need enough hot water as it takes to cover your silver so that it is completely submerged. Place your silver in the pan your using. Don’t overcrowd! The results will be much better if you do your silver in batches, if you have a lot to clean. The official directions are to use 1 Tbsp. baking soda for each four cups water used, but I use more-I sprinkle the baking soda over the flatware and use about 1/2 cup for 8 cups of water (see picture above).
Pour the water over the silver and baking soda layers, and allow to sit in hot water mixture for several minutes (I leave mine like that for 10-20 minutes); tarnish will dissolve away. When done, wash silver with soap and water. The baking soda mixture can be thrown down the drain (eco friendly). If you used an aluminum pan, you can recycle it when you’re done.
Below is what my silver looked like after getting cleaned this way. I have eight settings, plus some serving pieces, and I cleaned all pieces in three batches. If your silver is deeply tarnished, you may have to put it through two “cleanings” using this method. It’s still easier than polishing each and every piece!