aluminum pie plate. Fill it partway with VERY hot (near-boiling,
but not boiling) water and baking soda
The great thing about this method/recipe is that it doesn’t remove
any silver. The silver sulphide tarnish is chemically converted back
to elemental silver and the sulphide ions combine with hydrogen ions
in solution to produce hydrogen sulphide, which is what you can
However, although it is a great method for eliminating tarnish, it
does leave the surface of the silver rather dull and matt and so it
does need to be buffed to restore the shine.
It’s a great method though and I love doing it - it’s very
satisfying indeed. My friend recently brought round a number of old
sterling silver pieces that she’d had given to her years ago (as long
ago as the seventies) and they were so badly tarnished that they were
a horrible dark brown colour. She didn’t have much hope of
improvement but wanted me to try as the pieces had sentimental value.
I did the tried and trusted kitchen chemistry that Karen describes
and it took a couple of goes due to the heavy nature of the tarnish,
but it all came out beautifully white and clean. Being old and very
scratched, I needed to polish them too, to remove the worst of the
scratches that time had incurred but was careful not to remove too
much metal as all the pieces had patterns either engraved or etched
into them. They came out like new and she was absolutely thrilled
with the results, considering wearing them again after years of not
being able to. She then told me that she had taken them to a
jeweller’s shop recently and paid them to clean her tarnished silver
and that they had returned it to her in the same dark brown state
that I then received them in!!! I couldn’t believe that a qualified
jeweller had charged to remove tarnish when they had clearly done
nothing whatsoever that had any effect on the tarnish, saying “sorry,
that’s the best we could do - you won’t get it any better than that”!
That’s why she didn’t have much hope of me being able to improve it.
I’d be interested to know what method others use after the kitchen
chemistry, to restore the shine to silver jewellery, assuming there
are no deep scratches that need to be aggressively polished out.
IOW, what’s the gentlest way to “polish” the surface so as not to
remove too much metal?