Cleaning silver in an eco-friendly way without chemicals can be easily accomplished using common household items. Here are our best tips and tricks.
Many of you may initially dismiss the notion of silver cleaning without the typical specialized products available on the market. After all, these products tend to be polluting, harsh on the skin, and not consistently efficient.
However, the ingredients necessary for achieving environmentally friendly silver shine are likely already present in your household. Let’s explore what they are, starting with our most recommended method.
How to clean silver using only tinfoil, baking soda and salt
Get the following things:
- 1 glass or Pyrex bowl to store the objects you need to clean
- kitchen aluminum foil
- 2 tablespoons of baking soda
- 1 tablespoon of coarse salt
- 1 liter of water.
Let’s now move on to the steps to follow:
- Bring water to the boil. Once it comes to the boil, pour it into your container for about three quarters of its capacity.
- Line the bowl with aluminum, carefully fixing it along the edges and with the shiny side towards the inside.
- Pour baking soda and salt into the bowl
- Pour the boiling water carefully into the bowl. The white smoke and sizzling you will observe will be completely normal and will not splash on you or cause burning when inhaled.
- Immerse the silver to be cleaned in the saline solution thus created and use rubber gloves or pliers to avoid burning yourself.
- When filling the bowl with your silver objects, start with the cutlery and place them on the bottom, making them adhere well to the aluminum. Unlike other utensils, cutlery is the one that suffers oxidation the most and requires a few more minutes of immersion.
- This method consists of leaving the silver to soak for the time necessary to remove the oxidation patina – i.e. a few minutes – without the need to rub.
- Once removed from the mixture of water, bicarbonate and salt, the object must be dried perfectly immediately so that contact with the air does not oxidize it again.
Why this method of cleaning silver works
If you want to know more, the effectiveness of the procedure is proven by a very basic chemical principle: that of the chemical battery.
Considering, in fact, that the patina that tends to dull the silver is essentially oxide (to which is added the accumulated dirt which over time becomes grease and which bicarbonate is perfectly capable of removing), causing the aluminum of the paper to react kitchenware with salt water and silver, the result is an electrochemical reaction in which the silver ‘gives up’ its oxidation to the aluminum (this is why objects must come into contact with tinfoil).
In fact, once the silverware has been removed, the water contained in the bowl will appear very cloudy and the aluminum opaque.
One last tip: for the engravings that are more difficult to clean by hand with a dry cloth, the trick is to use a dab of toothpaste which you will delicately rub on the oxidation.
With this simple, economical method and without chemicals, you will be able to clean without harming your health, in a natural way, quickly and without any effort.
Alternative methods to clean silver in an eco-friendly manner
Do you want to see some more natural ways to clean silver? Here they are.
Salt and Vinegar
- Make a paste by mixing 1 tablespoon of salt with white vinegar.
- Apply the paste to the tarnished silver and gently rub using a soft cloth or sponge.
- Rinse with water and dry thoroughly.
Lemon Juice and Olive Oil
- Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive oil.
- Apply the mixture to a soft cloth or a sponge and gently rub the tarnished areas.
- Wipe off with a clean cloth and buff to a shine.
Cornstarch and Water
- Create a paste by mixing cornstarch and water to make a thick consistency.
- Apply the paste to the tarnished silver and let it dry.
- Once it’s dry, buff it off with a clean cloth.
- Pour club soda into a container and soak the tarnished silver items for a few hours.
- Remove the items and gently rub with a soft cloth or sponge.
- Rinse with water and dry.
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