Silver Polishing For Lazy People!

Alas….there are no butlers or footmen at Sweetwater who can polish the silver!

I imagine the Silver at Downton Abbey the silver is all real Sterling too!

The Sweetwater silver is all SILVERPLATE…..
And…. it almost all came from the thrift store!

I do love the silver pieces I have….
I do love using the stuff…..
I do love sharing it with friends…

In fact…a girlfriend is coming over this week to take inventory of the collection and see what pieces she might use for her wedding reception.


What I do not love is polishing this stuff!  But it needs to happen every once in a while!  Especially if it is going “on a field trip” to a wedding reception!

Typically, I get out the polish and just do it….
Then I remembered reading somewhere that you could use tinfoil and baking soda to remove tarnish without polishing!
So of course…..I did some research and found a bunch of tutorials about doing this!
And it WORKS!
This is what you need!
This is what you do!
Line a big pan with aluminum foil.
Pour in some baking soda.
3 or 4 Tablespoons per quart of water
Get the water boiling!
Dump in the silver pieces….
Let the magic happen….
It takes a little while….like five minutes!
Look at the dark color the foil turned!
According to Mr. S (he is not a chemist….but pretty darn smart about stuff like this)…what is really happening is a chemical reaction that results in sort of electroplating the foil with a tiny bit of the silver.
Mr. S. told me I needed to find the scientific reason this works….here is a link from some guy at John’s Hopkins if you feel the need to study up on this….but here is a quote from the article:
“The reason that this process works so well is that it acts electrochemically. There is a flow of electrons between the silver object and the aluminum foil, and that’s what removes the tarnish.”
Sounds just like what  Mr. S told me….don’t you think?
I decided to try this with the silverplate flatware for the first try with the process.
I hate polishing this the most….as you can plainly see!
The results were truly amazing!
Not perfect…..but with no polishing!
I decided to try using the kitchen sink for some of the bigger pieces!
I wasn’t quite as happy with the results…..probably because I couldn’t keep the water hot enough!
I will figure some way to put a bigger pot on the stove next time.
I was really pleased with the way the tarnish came out of the grooves in the edges of the trays.
 It would have been a real pain to get this result with silver polish!
Remember that all my silver pieces are thrift store bargains and NOT heirlooms!
In the process…..a tiny bit of the silver is coming off and going to the aluminum foil!
Mr. S thinks it would take a WHOLE bunch of treatments to actually damage the pieces….but I thought you should be forewarned if you have precious pieces!
I don’t think I will completely give up my Downton Abbey moments….but this process is one that I will use more often!
I would love to hear from anyone who has a solution for doing this on the larger trays and bowls.  
I am thinking that my roaster might work…..what do you think?
Have a Great Day!