How to clean silver at home?
SILVER IN INDIAN HOMES
“Bring out the silver,” in our country, that means showing off the best, most unique set of cutlery, it also means the meal is of utmost importance.
Our families have a designated spot to keep all the silver cutlery, one that is visible to the whole house, smack right in the middle of the kitchen or the living room.
Adding to this mix is all our silver jewellery, worn more often than the gold, yet not as significant. We get silver as gifts at weddings, we have silver that has been passed down generations, we guard our silver with pride - it holds a part of the family’s identity with all the memories and stories attached to it. But are we good at taking care of it?
SILVER WITH TIME
Silver, in all its forms, tend to lose their shine over time. This is because of the blend of silver and sulphur in the air, the protective layer wears off, and we are left with a blackish tarnish - a far cry from the beautiful gleam we revel in. Along with the sulphur, the silver mixes with all forms of chemicals in the air, losing its original lustre.
So, spare some time for this metal that you keep so close to your heart. We have a list of solutions to clean, care and polish it at home:
White Vinegar & Baking Soda
A kitchen and DIY favourite, the acidic properties of both the vinegar and baking soda help in retaining the shine of your silver. Use a cup of the white vinegar, and 4 tablespoons of baking soda to match - cover the silver items with this formulation, and leave it for an hour. Rinse and dry it well.
PS. The recipe is not for your mother’s antique silver bowl.
Aluminum Foil & Detergent
Doubtful, are you? This recipe is definitely going to be a surprise. Put in a litre of water, a piece of aluminum foil, a spoonful of detergent in the pot with all the silver, get it to boil. After a minute, pick up the silver with tongs and let it dry. There you have it, the slightly tarnished silver looks almost brand new!
PS. Adding a spoonful of baking soda is a variation to the recipe for bigger items, like candlesticks, or plates. 1.5 tablespoons of baking soda for every litre of water, with an aluminum foil in a glass/ceramic pan; bring it to a boil and all the tarnish disappears.
Cornstarch or Cream of Tartar
For all the small pieces of jewellery that have lost their shine, apply a thick paste of cornstarch/cornflour or cream of tartar with water. Let the paste harden on the surface of the silver, use a towel to polish it off.
We’ve heard of its many benefits, using it for broken glass, for acne etc. Using a non-abrasive, gel-based toothpaste is good to clean the silver. Rub it onto your jewellery with a soft cloth or tissue paper, clean off the tarnish, and rinse it with water. The silver will have regained its glimmer!
As mentioned before, baking soda ranks as one of the most popular solutions for stubborn marks, stains and now, tarnish.
Apply a thick paste of baking soda and water on the silver, leave it on for 3-4 minutes. Use a cotton bud to reach smaller spaces or even a soft toothbrush, and ensure to not rub too hard! Rinse it off with cold water, and give it a polish.
It’s not just for your palate, but also for your plates! Using a few drops of ketchup on your jewellery, forks, spoons, plates could actually retain the shine. Rub the sauce and leave it on for at least 15 minutes; rinse with water and dry with a cloth.
It’s on our bedside table, it’s on the kitchen table, it’s on the dining table - useful and necessary. Pick one of these bottles, use a few drops for your silverware, and eliminate the tarnish.
PS. Avoid using it on delicate jewellery with stones.
You can also add a piece of chalk to your big box of silverware, it prevents the build up of chemicals, and doesn't tarnish the metal as much.
Give it a try, and let us know if these solutions helped you!