I got this recipe for removing tarnish from silver from Glam Exchange, which says it was concocted by Anne Marie Helmenstine, who has a Ph.D. in Chemistry. She calls it a "non-toxic electrochemical dip."
Since Glam Exchange is a fashion blog, it was presented as a way of caring for silver jewelry. But if it works for silver in general, it should be great for silverware too. Also silver teapots, serving trays, chafing dishes, whatever. Of course, you just might have to use your bath tub, rather than just a pan or the sink.
- Sink or glass pan
- Hot water
- Baking soda
- Aluminum foil
- Tarnished silver
- Line the bottom of the sink or a glass baking dish with a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Fill the foil-lined container with steaming hot water.
- Add salt (sodium chloride) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to the water. Some recipes call for 2 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt, whereas others call for 2 tablespoons each of baking soda and salt. Personally, I wouldn't measure the amounts… just add a bit of each substance.
- Drop the silver items into the container so that they are touching each other and resting on the foil. You will be able to watch the tarnish disappear.
- Leave heavily tarnished items in the solution for as long as 5 minutes. Otherwise, remove the silver when it appears clean.
- Rinse the silver with water and gently buff it dry with a soft towel.