This is a dual post. There is a Pinterest Experiment, but there is also a bit of a teaser about things to come. I feel like I have spent a majority of this weekend polishing. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes at the blog. We have a bit of an announcement planned for Friday… and there has been a good deal of “polishing” the blog lately; going back, cleaning things up, and making them shine. I knew I was going to do a post on a silver polishing life hack, but it wasn’t until I sat back down at the computer that it occurred to me that “polishing” had really been a theme of my past week. So, watch for some changes on Friday… but first things first. Here is my latest Pinterest Experiment:
Like cleaning a counter top, there is something about polishing silver that I love… I’m pretty sure it is the instant gratification. I have spent many an hour polishing either my grandmothers, my mothers, or my own silver. As someone once said, “you don’t own silver, it owns you.” Although I primarily wear costume jewelry (cause that’s how I roll), I also have several nice silver pieces in my collection. Although costume jewelry needs cleaning and maintenance (just like anything), silver requires a little bit more attention. Unless you are storing your silver in an air-tight environment, or polish it super-regularly, then (do you hear that?) it is currently tarnishing. Right this second. Between oxygen, hydrogen sulfide, and the oils from your skin, eventually, your silver is going to get tarnished to a point where it requires some care.
I have used two tried-and-true silver polishing methods in the past: specialty clothes and silver polishing cream. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and both work perfectly fine… but here at FTTDWYW, we are always on the lookout for the faster, cheaper, more natural, easier solution. So, when I saw several pins on Pinterest touting a more natural, easier method that didn’t require polishing… well, my curiosity was piqued. I followed several links and found basically the same thing in all of them just in different variations– kind of like Tex-Mex food. The basic concept is: take a vessel, line it with slightly-crinkled aluminum foil, put silver jewelry onto foil, sprinkle liberally with baking soda and salt, cover jewelry with boiling/hot water, smell some sulfur, wait 5 minutes, rinse, and dry… sure sounded pretty easy. The ingredients create an electrochemical reaction- the science and debate behind this method is here. There are a couple caveats to this method, however. This method will only work on silver, not silver-plate. It is not recommended for pieces with gemstones. Don’t try this out on pieces that you are not sure about!
Since I had all of the required ingredients, I figured I would give it a shot. I’m not going to bore you with pictures of a Pyrex dish with aluminum foil, jewelry, and water. Plus, thanks to a small malfunction of my camera, my pics of this experiment were magically polished off my memory card. I was only able to salvage one picture from the shoot. Get ready for it… it is going to blow you away… Okay… not really, maybe it is just a ‘before’ shot of a tarnished earring… but, we decided long-ago in our editorial bible that all posts would have at least ONE picture…
But, let me say, as far as this experiment went… I was really impressed with how much tarnish the technique removed without the “traditional” polishing. Plus, not rinsing as many weird chemicals down my sink was also a bonus. I will say though that even after doing this method, I still had to break out the toothbrush and polish for a few of my more detailed pieces. But, that was probably on about 10% of the jewelry on which I tried this. So, this method is more efficient and I, overall, certainly used less polish than I normally would have… but, in the end, the polishing just came at a different time. Instead of polishing the pieces while I was cleaning them, I wound up polishing them as I was rinsing and drying. So, there was definitely still some polishing. But, all in all, this was an interesting experiment and I am curious to see how the technique will translate when I decided to try my hand at polishing my nice silverware.
*UPDATE* Do NOT do this to your silver. A week after this Pinterest Experiment, all of my silver was HEAVILY tarnished. A week was notably faster than when I had used the specialty creams and cloths, in which the effects lasted a month or so.
What do you think? Do you have any tricks when it comes to dealing with silver?