Monday, July 22, 2013

Fizzing whizzbees

So as I'm working my way through my new, provisional, constantly revised home management routines, one of the once-in-a-blue-moon cleaning tasks which has come around is cleaning the silverware. Last attempted circa 2001, it was desperately needed. For the last year or so, some jewellery has languished in the cupboard because it was too tarnished to be worn.

Because I haven't cleaned silver in forever, I don't have any silver polish or similar in the cupboard. So, naturally, I wandered on down to Rhonda's list of green cleaning recipes. Does she have a method for cleaning silver? Of course. Is it a really lazy, straightforward method, using ingredients I already have lying around the kitchen? You betcha.

I wasn't sure it would work so I did a test run with one of the most tarnished items and it came up beeeeeautifully! So all my silver jewellery has now had a bath, and all is gently glowing. (Heads up: one item, it seemed, was not silver but something silver-coloured, and ended up picking up all the tarnish of the other items. It has been duly retired. Something to watch out for...)

The method is very simple. Put plug in sink. Put water to boil. Put a sheet of aluminium foil in sink. Put silver on foil. Pour over boiling water to cover silver. Sprinkle over baking soda and salt. Leave ten to fifteen minutes. Remove silver and buff dry with a soft clean cloth.

The silver kind of fizzes. Can you see the bubbles coming off it above? I'm guessing that the silver oxide tarnish reacts with the soda bicarb to produce carbon dioxide, not too sure if the foil is a reagent or a catalyst. I need to brush up by chemistry and figure out exactly what's going on here.


  1. brilliant! although I am not sure you can count cleaning your jewellery as housework... xx

    1. I beg to differ! Surely housework is caring for and maintaining your house and its contents? If ironing counts, then so does cleaning silver or polishing shoes!



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