Tarnished silver: The best method for sparkling silverware

Credit: Video screenshot
Tarnished silver: The best method for sparkling silverware
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Overtime, silver loses its gleaming appearance and starts to darken and become more tarnished.  Luckily, science can help us to make our silverware sparkle again thanks to an electochemical reaction.  Said like that, it sounds quite complicated but in fact it couldn’t be any simpler!  You just need to have the right material and follow the simple steps below!  This is the best method to get your tarnished silverware looking as good as new! 

You can also use this technique for your jewellery so long as they don’t contain any precious stones!

What you need:

  • A big pan
  • Aluminium foil
  • Bicarbonate of soda


1) You can begin in two ways: either by lining your pan with the aluminum foil with the matte side and then filling the pan with water or you fill your pan with water and then add a big ball of aluminium foil into the pan.

2) Bring the pan to the boil.

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2) Add bicarbonate of soda (the equivalent to two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda for two litres of water.)

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3) Dip your silverware into the pan and leave to soak for a few moments and the watch.

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4) When you see that the silverware so regained its shine you can remove it from the pan (without burning yourself) and then dry it. It isn’t that complicated!

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Why does it work?!  The science behind the technique…

Silver becomes tarnished and dirty when it is exposed to light and air.  This is because it oxidizes and becomes covered with sulphur silver sulphide (silverite or Ag2S).  So that we can resolve this problem we need to create an electrochemical reaction (3Ag2S +2 Al–> 6Ag+Al2S3)  with aluminium which has more affinity to the sulphide than silver!    Hot water helps to accelerate this process which poses no risk for the silver.

The video:

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