Wednesday, September 30, 2009

To shine silverware at home

Happy Dussera to all! Last week must have set in the festive mood! Now we all await Diwali, the festival of lights! Of course, its a festival of sound too, thanks to all the firecrackers!!

Preparing for Diwali, took out silver diya and found that it was all oxidised and got tarnished. First thought that came to mind was search for a jeweller who would polish the diya and make it shine again. Finally searched a few and found that they do not polish and that they only sell silverware.

My work was still not done. Casually, I called my friend to ask for some nearby jeweller who would do the job and then she told me some home remedy. Since she was unsure, she called her mother and then confirmed the remedy. Guess what? I tried them at home and it worked wonders!!



Method 1: With baking soda

Materials required:

a) Aluminium foil
b) Boiling water
c) Baking soda


a) Take a wide-mouthed and a deep container so that the tarnished silver item can be immersed completely.
b) Cover the the container with aluminium foil.
c) Based on the size of the silver item, pour baking soda inside the container.
d) Pour the boiled water in the container. Be careful while pouring as you will observe fizz due to soda and hot water mixing.
e) Then immerse the silver item inside this water mixture and leave it for 3-5 minutes.

f) After 5 minutes, remove the item and wipe with a clean cotton cloth or tissue paper.
g) Depending upon the amount of tarnish, you may have to repeat the wash 3-4 times and the silver item will be free from tarnish and shine as before.

Method 2: With toothpaste

Materials required:

a) Toothpaste
b) Cotton


a) Squeeze out some toothpaste on to the cotton swab.
b) Rub the silver item with the paste on the swab.
c) As the rubbing progresses, you will find the tarnished portion getting back to its shiny silvery surface.
d) Once done, rinse in warm water and wipe the silver item with clean cotton cloth or tissue paper.
e) Be careful while rubbing. If you observe scratching, immediately stop and rinse off the paste. Its best to use a plain white toothpaste rather than the gel or the ones with all those new salt flakes etc.

I had done a mix of both the methods. First 3-4 minutes immersed the silverware in the water-baking soda mix. If any more tarnish was remaining, I used the toothpaste to remove it from the grooves.

CAVEAT --> Baking soda or paste is said to be a little abrasive on silver. Thus, be careful of any scratches. Handle the items gently and remember it is not a steel utensil that you are washing but delicate silverware!

For those who understand simple chemistry, the methods use the principle of electrochemistry, the REDOX(reduction-oxidation) reaction. Silver tarnish means that the silver atom is oxidised to silver ion. The baking soda mixture provides the lost electrons so that silver ion gets converted back or reduced to silver atom.

It also seems like a good home teaching tool for kids to show the application of the principle they learnt at school! :)

Anyway, wishing you all a Happy Shiny Silvery Deepavali! :)


  1. One of the best polishes for silver items is ash (from coals or even agarbattis): just rub the soft dry ash on the dry silver item and see it lose the grimy black film. However, this works best with smooth surfaces - for items with grooves and other design patterns, I have tried brushing in the ash with an old toothbrush, and it works fairly well.

  2. That is another good suggestion, but I guess one has to be a little careful of scratches.

  3. Hey, sometime back my mil "cleaned" her silver paayal with besan. Just soak in besan (mixed with little water)for a while and rub with it thereafter. It came out white and shiny!

  4. Really, besan! Gosh! we have such home remedies that we unnecessarily depend on these shopkeepers for nothing!!

  5. chalo Iam sending my silver ware to you from now on . ur my official shiner :)!!!!lata.

  6. @Lata - Purpose of the blog is to achieve self-reliance and remove human dependencies!! :D :D

  7. woh kya hota hai ?


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