Occasionally we get a sterling silver piece in that is not old enough to have “earned” the distinction of patina yet looks so tarnished that it just doesn’t look good……………that’s when Richard uses this method to brighten up the piece.
I’m talking about solid sterling silver pieces. When a piece has stones, the method might hurt the stones and soaking might loosen the setting, so would not be recommended.
Cleaning Tarnished Silver
This is the best method we have found for quickly and easily cleaning tarnished silver items. Do not use this method on items that should not be submerged in water.
Place a double layer of aluminum foil in the bottom of a non-metallic container
Add enough hot water to cover the item
Add 2 heaping tablespoons of washing soda (sodium carbonate) or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) (stores stock washing soda with laundry supplies – it works a bit faster than baking soda)
Place the tarnished item in the water to soak in contact with the aluminum foil for a few minutes (heavily tarnished items may take two or three treatments – if the water turns grey and the item is sitll tarnished, replace the solution)
When tarnish is gone rinse item thoroughly under running water
Buff dry with soft polishing cloth or towel to restore luster – the solution removes the tarnish, but buffing brings out the shine
For chains and liquid silver, you can make a thin paste of baking soda and water and rub it gently onto the piece with your hands and then place the item in the aluminum-lined tray with the very hot water.
After using this method, the items are so shiny that they really reflect the light !