Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pieces of Eight

One chore, that I seem to save for Christmas time, is polishing silver. 

I've always loved polishing, amazed at how a little elbow grease can turn a forgotten item back into a sparkling thing of beauty.

That was until I realized that your typical silver polish is full of unruly chemicals. I've always noticed it doesn't smell pretty and there's a reason why. Toxins baby, and lots of them.

This year I decided to try a greener method I discovered while reading Adria Vasil's 'Ecoholic Home'.
It's really simple. All you need is salt, baking soda, tin foil and some tarnished silver.
Check, check, check and check.

Mom, avert your eyes. What you are about to witness may be slightly troublesome and keep you up til the wee small hours, which is usually when you wake up, so, in fact, you could be up all night.

Don't say I didn't warn you.
This is my baby cup. 

Pretty, ain't it?

Let's get started shall we?

Fill a sink, with water, as hot as you can get it.
Only fill as high as you need to cover your largest piece. While filling, add two to four tablespoons each of salt and baking soda. (In the end, I had to add four of each to make a good mix with the amount of water used.)
Once the salt and baking soda have dissolved, lay a sheet of tin foil on the bottom of the sink. I wore gloves, because the water was too darn hot.
Then place your silver on the foil, turning occasionally, as I found the side touching the foil seemed to clear up faster. The heavier the tarnish, the longer it needed to soak. 

In the end, my silver had been left just a little too long to completely sparkle after this treatment.
I did have to use just a little of the bad stuff to return these pieces to their former glory. However, if done on a regular basis (i.e. not yearly) then a simple dip in the home made solution will surely suffice. Just to be sure of this, the male twin and I tested his pieces of eight. They were becoming tarnished from being handled, so he dipped them in the solution and...

And as for that baby cup?
Well, that old girl has been returned to her former glory.

Boy, did I get an earful!

Have any of you tried this method or something similar?

 ~Happy polishing friends!~


Chris at Red Gate Farm said...

I've heard of polishing silver this way but have never tried it. You're right about the other stuff... I'm sure it's not that easy on the silver pieces either. I have my grandmother's old silverplate flatware set and I keep a piece of that anti-tarnish cloth in with it... I've never had to polish any of the pieces! As for my other silver... well, if you looked at them closely in my Shiny Brite post, well I didn't polish any of it. I thought the tarnish gave it a little "character" :)

PS, totally random but I'd love to have your faucet handles!

Deb said...

We have tried that and it is amazing!

Anonymous said...

My Mom used to do the fancy silverware for the big Christmas dinner using this method. She used a large pan instead of the sink. Easy peasy.

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

We are getting ready to do all of our silver. I use a lot all year round~candles in glass on a silver tray are gorgeous!
I am going to try this! I hate that pink-paste stuff :o
Your baby cup made me go, ahhhhhhh!
xo, misha

Leigh, Andrea Leigh Gil said...

That is awesome!!!!! I hate polishing silver because of the smell this looks so much better I cant wait to give it a try.

Anke said...

What a difference that little bath made! I will definitely remember that next time our silver needs to be polished.

DianeLynn said...

At first I was thankful that I did not have any silver to polish...but after reading your post I wished I had some.
Great post!

Elle Bee said...

That is wonderful! I never knew you could do that! We have a bell from my husband's grandmother that is badly tarnished. I'm going to try soaking it. Thanks for the eco-friendly tip.

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Yep, sure shootin'. I saw it on the Martha Stewart Show years like a charm without all those stinkin' chemicals.

God bless ya and have a most splendid day sweetie!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice job...the silver looks great. I've seen in other blogs where it looks good to leave it "as is" - a new way of looking at it, seeing the beauty of tarnished silver. But mine is so tarnished that you wouldn't be able to tell it was silver - just black!
I've been meaning to try this method "some day" - nice to know it really works!
Love, Stalker

Unknown said...

Are you serious? No rubbing and buffing? No chemicals? This sounds too good to be true!! I just may have to redo my schedule today so I can polish silver! In the past, I always polished silver with rubber gloves because I was sure those chemicals had to be nasty.

By the way... I have that same adorable silver cup. In fact, I have several from a couple of generations in our family. I'm using one for a sugar dish on my tea tray (post to follow soon!).

Cheryl said...

Wow that was cool....going to polish hubby's baby cup!
I have the same kitchen faucet...I love them!

Maura @ Kisiwa Creek Photography said...

Hi Andrea, no I have never tried this but I seem to recall seeing this done years ago on TV. I should have paid better attention! I still have some silver in boxes from our move (over a year and a half ago!) that I'll have to try this on...looks like it works pretty good! Thanks for another great tip. I'm having fun catching up :)

Genny said...

Now I wish I still had my silver since you've made it so easy to polish. Note to self: Keep your eyes out at flea markets.