Silver plated items can be a beautiful, classic addition to any home. Many times these items are gifted to us from family members or inherited after a loved one has passed away. Perhaps you just enjoy having fine antiques in your home. No matter how you got it, it’s time to learn how to keep it clean.
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HOW TO CLEAN SILVER PLATE WITH BAKING SODA
To clean your silver plated items with baking soda, you’ll need a few additional items. Gather a bucket, aluminum foil, salt, baking soda, and prepare some boiling water. You will need about 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of baking soda for each gallon of boiling water you use.
Pick a bucket that is big enough for your silver item to lay flat inside and be completely covered by the liquid. Before you place the silver plate in the bucket, line the bottom with aluminum foil. You want the shiny side facing up. Next, place the silver plated item in the bucket, making sure the foil is touching the silver.
Next, sprinkle salt and baking soda in equal parts on top of the aluminum foil. Then, pour the boiling water into the container. Be careful as the steam from the water can burn you. Stand back a bit while pouring to make sure you’re safe during this process. Add enough water to cover the silver entirely.
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As you pour the water, you’ll notice that the baking soda and salt begins to fizz. What will happen next is the tarnish should start to come off the silver plate. If you notice that it isn’t coming off, add more baking soda and salt to the boiling water.
You can leave your silver in the solution for up to a half an hour to soak if the tarnish is being particularly stubborn. To check if your silver is ready, remove it from the hot water mixture carefully, using tongs to lift it out of the water. Wipe it down with a soft rag. If there’s no tarnish, it’s good to go. If there is still tarnish, put it back.
There may be dark spots that are actually base metal, not tarnish, showing through the silver plate. The older the piece, the more likely this is to happen.
When the tarnish is gone, rinse it with clean water. Be sure to remove any baking soda or salt, as this residue could cause tarnish to come back faster. Dry with a soft rag and make sure all moisture has been removed (again, to keep tarnish away for longer).
HOW TO CLEAN SILVER PLATE WITH VINEGAR
Cleaning your silver plate with vinegar is a very similar process to cleaning with baking soda. The only difference is that you will be adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the baking soda and salt that you have put into the aluminum foil-lined bucket.
Next, pour your boiling water over the mixture and let it sit, watching the tarnish naturally come off due to the chemical reaction. You can leave your aluminum plated item in this mixture for a few minutes. Due to the addition of the vinegar, it’s not recommended that you leave it in the mixture for 30 minutes like before.
As before, rinse off the item with clean water, making sure no residue is left. Buff the piece with a dry cloth and you’re all done!
SPOT CLEANING METHOD
If you don’t need to clean the entire piece of silver plate, you can also do a quick spot clean with toothpaste. You will need toothpaste (not gel, just basic paste), a microfiber cloth, a soft toothbrush, and warm water. Rub the toothbrush onto the tarnished parts of the silver with the microfiber cloth.
Next, gently rub the toothpaste into the silver. Gentle is the key here – you don’t want to scratch the silver. Clean the tarnished areas of the silver, making sure to get into any scroll work or details with the bristles of the brush. When you feel you have cleaned off all the tarnish, rinse with clean water.
Buff the silver with a dry, microfiber cloth. Remember that any continued spots you see may just be where the base metal is shining through. It’s important that you don’t scrub too hard on those areas, otherwise you may make those spots more prominent.