How to Clean Sterling Silver With Aluminum Foil

By Sandra Ketcham

Sterling silver is a beautiful metal and is preferred by many people for a variety of reasons. It has a natural luster and shine that makes serving bowls and platters beautiful and it is more affordable and versatile than gold when used for jewelry. However, sterling silver is prone to tarnishing and constant cleaning with polish can be a massive inconvenience for many silver collectors. There is a very simple way to clean and shine sterling silver using products that you already have around the house. The process takes just minutes and will even remove tarnish from fine details and indentations in jewelry.

Clean and shining sterling silver

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Step 1

Place a sheet of aluminum foil into the bottom of a large pot. The pot must be large enough to hold all the pieces of silver you wish to clean, without any of the pieces touching each other.

Step 2

Fill the pot with 3 inches of water, or until the water completely covers the silver pieces being cleaned.

Step 3

Add the baking soda and salt to the water and bring the mixture to a boil.

Step 4

Allow the mixture to boil for several minutes. If the tarnish is mild, 2 minutes is generally enough. For more extensive tarnish, let the water boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Do not boil longer than that, however, as salt will corrode silver, given enough time.

Step 5

Pour the contents of the pot into a fine strainer, or remove each piece of silver carefully from the pot using a pair of tongs.

Step 6

Rinse the silver pieces with cold water, making sure you wash off every bit of salt. Dry and buff the silver using a soft cloth.

Step 7

Account for all of your silver pieces before throwing out the aluminum foil or dumping any remaining water. It is possible for small pieces of silver to slip under the foil during boiling.