Discovering that your favorite silver necklace or fancy silverware is tarnished can throw a huge wrench in your dinner plans. If you don't have time to run out and get some silver cleaner, don't panic. All you need is some aluminum foil and a chemistry lesson. Cleaning silver with aluminum foil is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get your cherished pieces looking shiny and new.
How to Clean Silver With Aluminum Foil
While there are several different ways you can restore silver to its original shine, many people prefer cleaning silver with aluminum foil. The great thing about this method is that it relies solely on chemistry rather than elbow grease. The aluminum essentially takes on the tarnish from the silver, so your jewelry looks shiny and new. Cool, right?
Is cleaning silver with aluminum foil safe? Yes, but only if you're sure the items are solid silver and not silver-plated. These methods also aren't safe for jewelry with gemstones or other porous materials.
Method #1: Aluminum Foil, Baking Soda, & Salt
Head to your kitchen cupboards and grab the materials you already have on hand for this silver cleaning hack.
- Aluminum foil
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Saucepan or pot
- Get started by placing a sheet of standard aluminum foil, shiny side up, in the bottom of a pan.
- Next, add roughly three inches of water to the pan, along with one teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of salt.
- Mix the ingredients well and bring to a boil.
- Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add your silver pieces, making sure the liquid completely covers them.
- Allow the silver pieces to sit in the boiling mixture for about two to three minutes.
- Finally, remove the pieces from the pan, rinse with clean water, dry, and buff with a soft cloth.
Method #2: Aluminum Foil & Baking Soda
You can also skip the salt and use more baking soda.
- Aluminum foil
- 1 tablespoon to 2 cups of baking soda
- Deep saucepan or pot
- The first step is to wash your silverware or other large silver pieces in soapy water to remove any large bits of dust or debris.
- Next, line a large pan or pot with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Add a few inches of water or enough water to later submerge the silver item you're cleaning.
- Depending on the size of the silver piece, add one tablespoon or up to two cups of baking soda to the pan or pot.
- Place the pot on a burner and wait for the water to come to a rolling boil.
- As soon as the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from the burner and submerge your silver pieces in the baking soda mixture, making sure the items come in direct contact with the aluminum foil.
- Allow the pieces to sit in the water for several minutes.
- Once the silver pieces are clean remove them from the hot water with tongs and rinse them in cool, clean water.
- Finally, dry the items with a soft, clean cloth.
During this time, you should see small yellow or black flakes being lifted from the silver. You may also notice the sheet of aluminum foil turning black. This indicates that sulfur from the silver is being transferred to the foil.
Ways to Protect Silver
After cleaning silver with aluminum foil, you'll want to store it in a safe place, so the results of your hard work are preserved for as long as possible. The best place to store silverware is in a chest lined with tarnish-resistant flannel or cotton. Another option is to place silver items in an air-tight plastic bag when not in use. Silver has a number of enemies, which it should not come into contact with, including:
- Table salt
- Salad dressing
- Anything with a high acid content
Finally, remember to handle silver with care as the precious metal nicks and scratches easily. Also, never let food dry on silver because doing so can promote corrosion and stains.
Try Aluminum Foil to Clean Your Silver
Using cleaners with harsh abrasives can do a number on your silver jewelry and other cherished items. That's why the aluminum foil method is so great. Try one of these two methods out and in no time, your pieces will look as good as new.