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I don't own a lot of fine silver. The one or two pieces I do have don't get a lot of time in the public eye. That's because they seem to attract tarnish like flies do honey. I was recently given a silver charger plate that is so beautiful, it had me revisit this tarnish problem. It was time to conquer silver-polishing at home once and for all! Let's do this thang, shall we?
I'm a bit of a crunchy girl -- if there's an all-natural way of doing something, I prefer to go that route. There are enough chemicals and weird ingredients in the things we use every day. If I can keep a couple of bad-for-me-and-my-family things out of the house, I'd rather go that route. Luckily for me there are COUNTLESS modes of polishing up your silver out there. Here are 10 of them! And they are as a natural as it gets.
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The abrasives in toothpaste are just right for silver. They work, but they won't damage the polish. Avoid using a toothpaste with whitening ingredients, which might cause damage. To use this method, apply the toothpaste to a unused brush, and scrub as you would your teeth: Gently, but with purpose! Be sure to rinse completely clean and then dry thoroughly.
2. Hot Foil Bath
This one is a goody -- and fast! Line a pan with aluminum foil, put your silver inside, and cover with boiling water. Let it sit for five minutes, and your silver? It will be shining! The aluminum and boiling water both draw away the tartar-causing dirt.
In between big cleaning days, keep your silver shiny with regular buffing. Using a jewelry or auto sham will do the job nicely! It's like a massage to keep it sparkly.
4. Baking Soda
Gotta love baking soda. It goes to follow -- since toothpaste works so well -- that this will too! Make a paste using baking soda and water, and then proceed the same way you would with toothpaste. Presto! Clean silver.
Only use this for very tough stains. Salt is really abrasive -- we're using it here as we did in option 4, as a paste. So try it if there are stains that won't budge, but go carefully. You don't want to scratch the silver.
6. Laundry Detergent
Laundry detergent contains a lot of the ingredients we've used so far -- baking soda and salt, to name a few! An overnight soak in detergent and water can sometimes do the trick.
Weird but true! Use it like you would any of the pastes we've discussed. The natural acid of the tomatoes eats through the tarnish and leaves your silver sparkling. It doesn't get more natural than that.
8. Citrus Soda
I'm not a huge believer of wasting Sprite, but the carbonation of the soda and the natural sodas containing lemon can bust away stains with their bubbly, acidic powers!
9. Hand Sanitizer
This one is the least natural on the list. That said, if you're in a pinch, hand sanitizer and the chemicals and alcohol therein can definitely get the job done.
10. Hair Conditioner
This is a preventative one that I'm really fond of. In the way conditioner protects your hair, so it protects silver. Use a little bit before buffing to keep tarnish from resurfacing. A little bit of coconut oil also works -- and smells great!
How do you keep your silver sparkling?
Image via Corbis