Cleaning Silver Items: If you have grandmother’s silver tea service, or a few boxes of fancy silverware, chances are you’ve seen the pieces tarnish over the years. While the patina can be desirable for some display pieces, other pieces, such as silverware, should be sparkling silver every time you use them. But chemicals have no place on eating utensils, and the thought of rubbing each piece until your hand falls off seems oldfashioned.
Don’t fret! There’s an easy way to clean an entire box of silverware before your next party, even if you forget until the last minute. Even better news? Silver tarnishes when it hasn’t been used for a long time, so instead of letting the silver linger in the bottom of the hutch, use it regularly and you’ll have less work to do in the long run. Be sure not to mix your silver pieces with stainless steel in the regular silverware drawer though, and don’t keep rubber nearby either.
Line a 9”x12” (or larger, depending on the size of your pieces) baking pan with aluminum foil. Add the silverware, making sure fork tines are uncovered and spoons aren’t nested together. Lightly sprinkle ¼ cup of baking soda over the items. Bring a big pot of water to a boil, and pour the boiling water over the pieces, being sure to “activate” all of the baking soda and cover each piece. Let the pieces soak for a few minutes.
You’ll be able to see the reaction taking place and the tarnish disappearing. Then use kitchen tongs to remove them to a kitchen towel. When cool enough to handle, inspect pieces for areas that didn’t quite get clean enough, and buff with a little of the leftover cleaning water.
Finally, simply clean your pieces in warm soapy water and dry immediately and thoroughly with a soft cloth.
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