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Grudge Match: Science -vs- Tarnish

AAAAACK! Just one day to go & I’m not remotely ready.

But since I figured a lot of you are in the same boat, I don’t feel so bad.

And, since I’m such a great gal, I’m even gonna help you get your holiday feast on the table. (Roast Beast, anyone? No? Who Pudding, then?)

OK, then… how about I help you clean your silver?

I picked up these classic silver platters at a rummage sale recently. I chatted up the lady in charge, finding out in the process that the platters were actually hers. She was so happy to see someone recognize their pretty-tarnished-but-in-really-good-shape-otherwise potential. After I promised to cherish them & make sure they see many holiday feasts to come, she practically gave them to me… marked down from $3 each to 2 for 50 cents! SCORE!!! Thank you, nice lady 🙂

Now… in my day I’ve polished enough silver to know that the process is smelly, tedious and messy. And each time I’ve done it, I say to myself, “Self — why are you working harder, not smarter?” (And I usually answer myself, “Self, because you’re a moron. Why don’t you try that cool aluminum foil & baking soda trick?”)

So… in the interest of science — and my sanity — I decided to give it a go this year. Essentially, you line your sink with tin foil, add baking soda, salt & hot water, and just soak your silver in it. That’s it.

I poked around online, checking out a few different tutorials on the process. They were pretty similar, but each had different instructions on how much baking soda & salt to add.

Finally, I chose to follow the instructions I found here. Why? Because it wasn’t all specific. And I was in a hurry & didn’t have time to futz around.

After lining my sink with tin foil, I added “some” baking soda & salt. Then I filled the sink with the hottest water the tap could provide. Which was pretty hot. There was steam coming off it. I tried to get a pic of the steam, but it didn’t really show up. Bummer.

Anyway, then I stirred up the mixture and put a platter in.

The water only covered half, so I figured the results would be obvious.

Not so much.

But I decided to keep trying. I started fresh, and this time used BOILING water.

Ah! Now that’s a visible difference!

Much better.

The dip did help to loosen things up a bit, but to be honest… it still took a significant amount of rubbing with a soft towel to get the tarnish off.

Enough that I was reminded of… cleaning silver. Awww, man.

In the end, the dip did work. Somewhat. It was not the miracle solution I was looking for, though.

Definitely better, but to bring these beauties back to their original glory, I think I’m gonna have to bust out the silver polish. Sigh.

HOWEVER — If my platters hadn’t been SO tarnished, I think the process would have given me great results. So if you’ve got some silver that is only a little tarnished, I think it would work famously. Which is exactly what I’m going to tell my mom the next time she tries to rope me into cleaning the silverware for Thanksgiving.

Kidding. She hasn’t enlisted me since I moved out. Which was a big part of why I went to college. ;->

Anyway, I hope you found my little experiment enlightening. Now I have some noxious rubbing to do.


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