I recently pulled out a bunch of old jewelry and silverware that was in storage and was shocked to see how much tarnish had built up over the last 10 years!
I cleaned it all up easily and without any harsh tarnish removers using an eco-friendly stovetop method. All you need is a large pan (see bottom of the post on how to manage larger pieces of silver), mild dish soap, tin foil and baking soda:
(see more after the jump)
Step 1: Use some mild soap to remove any dirt and oils from the silver that might block the process from working:
Step 2: Line the pan with aluminum foil:
Step 3: Add enough water to the pan so that the silver will be completely covered:
Step 4: Turn the stove heat to medium high and add about a tablespoon of baking soda for every 4 cups of water. Stir the baking soda to dissolve it as the water heats up.
Step 5: Once the baking soda is dissolved and water starts to boil, carefully lower in your silver using a utensil or tongs:
Step 6: Let the silver sit for a minute or two….you will see the tarnish start to disappear as the baking soda reacts to the aluminum foil:
Step 7: Carefully lift out the silver and let cool. If there is any remaining tarnish just wipe it off with a soft cloth as it should have loosed enough. Back to beautiful!
P.S. My housekeeper in NC used to clean all our silver this way and I was always amazed! For larger pieces she heated the water and put it into a large bucket and then submersed the trays (one side at a time) or large batches of silverware.
I did a little research and the chemical reaction that happens is converting the silver sulfide (tarnish) back into silver (don’t worry, it doesn’t remove any of the silver).
Note: to do larger pieces…..line your sink with tinfoil and boil a large pot with water and pour it into the sink. Add your baking soda. Let it sit until the tarnish transfers.
Kristina Churchill says
My mom and I packed up in the last months, about 30 pieces and enough silverware to feed a small army! Do you have any ideas for uses for large silver trays, that are fun and quirky? Will try this on the remaining pieces at my Mom’s house! Thanks:)
Dancing Branflake says
That is awesome! I have so much silver and I always inhale way too much of the nasty cleaner. This is much better. Thank you!
Trisha Miller says
with silver to keep it from tarnishing while in storage its important to wipe it down with a clean white cloth and while packing large pieces, handle with white gloves….with small things like jewelry if you just wipe it down with a jewelry cloth, it should be fine until you wear it again….silver doesnt tarnish and wont ever tarnish while it is constantly worn ie(toe ring), etc…because our body oils keep it from tarnishing…BUT, just in case we forget to wipe down,,thanks for the tute on how to bring it back to prettiness!
I use this method when I need to clean a lot of silver. It works!!
I also read that putting a piece of chalk in your silver drawer or cabinet helps to slow down the process of silver tarnishing again. I did this last Fall, and it does seem to help….
Christina Gomez says
What an excellent idea! I have lots of little silver pieces I’ve been wanting to wear but hated using that smelly, chemical stuff!! I’ve tried the baking soda idea but using water and baking soda and scrubbing gently w/an old toothbrush, but this is by far better! Thanks again.
P.S. I came across your website some time ago, and I just wanted to say I look forward to all of your ideas. I also have a daughter, 3, and your ideas go far for us here too!
Susan Parker says
That’s a great idea. Thanks for sharing. Do you think it would be safe for pearls. I have a multi silver chain necklace with pearls randomly placed on the chains and I need to clean the silver badly. I have been afraid to use any thing b/c of the pearls.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Beth Morrow says
Awesome…I’m going to do this on both. I was always the delegated silver cleaner when I was a kid and enjoyed it because I was doing it with my Mamaw, but I think this will be much easier. Thanks again!
Praying for you today!
During a recent move my heirloom silver hand mirror had something spill on it and is in bad shape . . . can I use this method to clean it or will soaking hurt the mirror? I am devastated at the thought of this piece being ruined.
Wonderful idea, and a great, no-fail tutorial – thanks for sharing!
Tried this just now, and it was awesome. I felt like some kind of wizard.
I’ve also done this with an aluminum pan. Just sprinkle baking soda add your silver, then cover with boiling water. Works with old recyclable pie tins, etc.