Okay, so this isn’t something you would eat but it is a recipe of sorts. Instead of using a commercial silver which removes the tarnish (silver sulfide) and some of the outer layer of silver, this actually converts the tarnish back into healthy silver by transferring the sulfur into the cleaner. That way, there’s no silver lost from your items!
- Hot water
- Baking Soda
- Aluminum foil
- A non-reactive (glass or ceramic) container such as a lasagna pan deep enough to cover your silver items
- A soft toothbrush, if you need to get into crevices
- Line the pan in aluminum foil, shiny side up
- Place your silver in a single layer so that each item is touching the foil
- Pour in enough water to cover your tarnished silver
- Sprinkle with 2 to 3 Tablespoons of baking soda
- Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then rinse in clean water and dry with a soft cloth
- If your silver has any crevices in the pattern, use a soft toothbrush to work the cleaner in, while keeping the silver in contact with the foil
- Repeat this process as needed… heavily tarnished items may require a few rounds through for 100% removal
A more detailed chemical explanation of this can be found at http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/homeexpts/tarnish.html for the inner geek in all of us. (admit it, you wanted to know how it works!) Essentially, the combination of the baking soda and aluminum transfers the sulfur out of the tarnish and onto the foil, leaving behind the silver. This is actually safer for your silver than most commercial cleaners, which strip the outer layer to reveal clean silver below. Used enough times, that process can remove the silver plating and expose the base metal inside. This recipe leaves the silver plating intact and simply removes the sulfur from the equation.