• Lou@Eclecticana

Effortless cleaning hack to breathe new life into old silver

Silver... whether it's delicate objets de vertu, elegant tableware or fine jewellery, silver's intrinsic value means it continues to be desirable in all its forms. But let's be honest, all that polishing and elbow grease can be a massive turn off; and if it's an ornate piece then it takes major work to get in between all that decoration!

Antique silver objets de vertu

At Eclecticana though, we like to make your life a little easier if we can. Here's how you can take care of those shiny treasures without burdening yourself with all the hard work.

All you need is aluminium foil, baking soda and hot water. Line a bowl, glass, porcelain or ceramic (not anything metal as this will disrupt the process) with aluminium foil (around 1 metre, folded several times), then mix a good heaped tablespoon of baking soda with half a pint of hand-hot water (increase the quantity according to the size of your item, as you need to cover it) and pour the solution over the aluminium foil. Place your tarnished item in the solution, ensuring it is in contact with the foil. Light tarnish will vanish immediately, heavier oxidation will take slightly longer. Leave it for no longer than 10 minutes. Take out and buff your shiny silver item dry with a clean cloth.

How does it work? This method uses electrolysis instead of chemical-polish abrasion and removes the tarnish without damaging any of the underlying metal. This occurs as the aluminium and silver naturally exchange ions, causing the tarnish to revert back to shiny silver!

Please note: be careful to monitor the time you leave your silver in the solution; older and more fragile pieces can become pitted or damaged if left too long.

Tarnished antique silver spoon cleaned with soda
Super easy, super gentle - gotta love science!

Many thanks to Food52 for the elegant photo.

For more useful hacks to make sure you're not caught out jewellery buying, check out our previous blog on amber - how to spot a fake. Look out for our next silver blog that will reveal how to protect your silver and prevent it from tarnishing quickly.

Next week, Iron Fist - the Anti-Nazi group banned in Germany in the 1930s but not forgotten in a small corner of Southern France.

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