Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gleaming Silver

With Thanksgiving coming, I have been looking for non-toxic ways to clean my sterling and silverplate for the holiday. To me, Thanksgiving is about family and traditions. I love being able to pull out heirloom silver pieces to use for the holiday. Since, silver polish is one of the most toxic household cleaners, and it is used to clean items that we eat off of, non-toxic alternatives were necessary.

I started by browsing the internet and found several ideas to try. The first method is to use toothpaste as silver polish. The second method is to make a paste out of baking soda and water to polish the silver with. I decided to try out both methods and see which worked best.

First, I gathered up some tarnished silver and silver plate items. I grabbed a sterling ring, a couple of knives from the sterling silver service, and a silver plated tray my sister reciently found at a thrift store.

I also grabbed a punch ladle with a blackened sterling handle and began the experiment.

On the back of the silver plate tray, I used toothpaste on the right side and baking soda on the left. I employed an old toothbrush to polish with.

Both the baking soda and the toothpaste acceptably cleaned the tarnish from the tray. However, the toothpaste left a brighter shine. Since the baking soda also worked well, and is both a cheaper and greener option, I used baking soda to polish the rest of my silver; with gleaming results.

Although these methods were effective, silver tarnish can be prevented by frequent use. Since silver doesn't break or wear out, it can be used everyday. The frequent wash and wear will keep the silver bright. If you don't want to use your silver everyday, consider making special family dinners once a week or month were you can set a formal table.

In the alternative, when storing silver, it's polish can be maintained by storing the items in plastic bags. Some of my sterling servewear came with plastic sleaves that I kept to store them in when not in use. Otherwise, plastic shopping bags or produce bags can be reused to

Note: I also found that several posts where people have used a method where they use tin foil, boiling water, baking soda, and salt to instantly remove tarnish. However, this method does
strip a layer of silver from the items and can destroy silverplate and untimely wear sterling. Since destroying perfectly good items is neither green nor frugal, I can't recommend this method.


  1. thank you so much!!! I used toothpaste after I tarnished my pandora bracelet when i put it in the wrong jewlery cleaner!!! Thanks for your suggestion Roxane

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