clock menu more-arrow no yes

A Quick Way to Clean Tarnished Silver

Breaking out the fine flatware for the holidays? Make sure sterling silver looks its best by reversing the chemical reaction that created silver sulfide, a.k.a. tarnish, in the first place

Put silverware in a single layer in a glass baking dish lined with aluminum foil; each piece needs to touch the foil. Cover with baking soda, add a little salt, then pour hot (not boiling) water over it. The dry ingredients facilitate the transfer of electrons from the silver to the aluminum with the water as a conductor, turning tarnish into aluminum sulfide and revealing the silver without scratching or pitting it. Remove each piece with tongs when it looks shiny (from 10 seconds to a few minutes, depending on the level of tarnish), then rinse and pat dry.