DIPLO DIY: How to clean silver with baking soda

Reposting a how-to from Art Bead Scene for future reference. According to her post when you polish silver (what we normally do) we also remove (abrade) some of the silver. The method below seems so much easier than polishing, doesn’t remove any of the silver and means that I no longer need to buy any more chemical silver polish! Yay!

Love this modern silver + wood set called “natural”  via Design Boom

Using silver cutlery is considered the height of sophistication and elegance. I’ll be honest with you I prefer to have high quality stainless steel ones for everyday use because silvers are really a pain to clean and maintain. They tarnish easily and are quite tiring to clean. Besides I prefer modern cutlery with clean lines… none of those swirly “classic” ones. Ew. (No offense since taste is relative!) Though I wouldn’t mind having this simple antique set of sterling silver and real mother of pearl cutlery in the future for really formal dinners. (Don’t panic TD, we are talking about 25 years down the road here.)

But now that I found this really  easy tip online from someone who makes accessories, I might give it a go! I’m going to try it on my silver jewelry first (If anyone is interested silver is abudant and cheap in Bali. Yogyakarta is also known for it’s silver, but the prices are much higher) and will definitely keep you posted on how it goes.

Reposting below from Art Bead Scene.

Did you know that you can brighten up your tarnished silver components and jewelry without leaving your kitchen? Baking soda is the secret ingredient in this method which I recently put to the test and have directions and photos to share with you.

You will need:

  • baking soda
  • aluminum foil
  • pot
  • boiling water
  • metal tray

The photo below shows some ear wires that have been on sample boards for the last five years and had developed some unsightly tarnish.

Below are two cups of boiling water to which I’ve added 1/2 cup of baking soda.

After lining a shallow toaster oven baking tray with aluminum foil and arranging the ear wires so that each one had contact with the aluminim foil, I gently poured the water and baking soda solution over the findings. This photo shows the bubbles that formed during the chemical reaction.

Here are the ear wires free from tarnish and ready for a little buffing with my Sunshine Cloth.

A simplified explanation of the science behind this method is that when silver tarnishes, it combines with sulfur from the air and forms silver sulfide which is black. There are two ways to remove this coating – one is to remove the silver sulfide from the surface using abrasion and the other is to reverse the chemical process. When the tarnish is removed through abrasion (polishing) some of the silver is also removed. With the method described today none of the silver is removed. The aluminum is effective because it has a stronger affinity to sulfur than silver does, so the warm baking soda solution carries the sulfur atoms from the silver to the aluminum.

Thank you Cindy Gimbrone for bringing this method to my attention. Now there’s no need to stress when I notice that my silver pieces are tarnishing with this quick, easy and inexpensive method!

Click here to check out the original post from Art Bead Scene.

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