Thrift stores have all sorts of silver and silver plate items for sale at bargain prices, but they usually make their way to the store in sorry, yet fixable, condition like mine. I recently inherited several silver pieces that were looking pretty grim. Having polished silver in the past, I knew it takes a lot of elbow grease to get it to sparkle. A quick search on YouTube led me to the promise of an easier way. A lot of people posted this simple method to clean silver with aluminum foil, baking soda, salt and boiling water. Was it too good to be true? I gave it a try and here’s what I learned. (Instructions and photos are below.) To learn more on reading silver markings, check out Martha Stewart’s blog.
Add a few tablespoons of baking soda and a teaspoon of salt into pot of boiling water lined with foil. The foil is super important to the chemical reaction you need to clean the silver.
Add silver into boiling water and wait for the magic.
AMAZING! This was within about two minutes! Silver is HOT so make sure to have tongs and potholders. Continue to move silver around and make sure it comes in contact with the foil. Flip piece until all the tarnish is gone.
After a few minutes in the magic potion. Wash the piece and scrub out any blemishes. This process only took a few minutes and my silver really cleaned up nicely.
It did not come 100% clean though, so after the magic dip, I took out good old silver polish and gave it a quick once over to really make it shine. Would I use this method again? Absolutely. It gave me a huge head start on the task at hand.
Sorry looking sliver stash before.
Sparkly silver stash after. Note that the really large pieces were done in the kitchen sink with boiling water and all the same ingredients. Those pieces were tougher than on the stove top to clean. I think the water was a little cooler and it’s harder to make the contact with the foil. The big items needed a lot more silver polish to make them sparkle and shine.
I am the art director and marketing manager for Thrift Town. I have worked for Thrift Town for just about twenty years and I'm passionate about thrift, decorating, entertaining, crafting and, of course Thrift Town.