Friday, January 6, 2012

cleaning my vintage silver with baking soda

Santa brought me a handful of antique silverware this year. I'm not sure how he retrieved it from my late Aunt's collection that was surely under lock + key in my mom's house, but it was a pleasant surprise. I've been wanting to make some garden markers with antique silver spoons but haven't been able to bring myself to pay $4/each for the spoons at antique markets.

I spent one of my days home cleaning my dad's kitchen. It was gross. He's a bachelor with WAYYYY too many cabinets. Let's just say it felt so good to add a little order to the chaos. I was rewarded with a silver ladle + serving fork. Thanks Dad!

Needless to say, these guys needed a little TLC. I don't need them spotless since they're going in the garden, but I need to clean them up a little so the engraving shows once I stamp them. I thought I'd try the "how my grandmother did it" method. Luckily, we had Italian takeout (note: this was before our 2012 goals were official) and were able to reuse the aluminum plates. (If you don't have the aluminum plate, a foil-lined pie plate should also work.)

The process:
Add 1 TBSP salt and 1 TBSP baking soda to the aluminum pan. Fill pan with steaming (not boiling) water. Stir to dissolve.

Add your silver pieces so that the pieces are covered in the water AND touching each other.

This puts off a pretty nauseating smell, so be sure to ventilate. Let it sit for a few minutes.

Rinse in warm soapy water and let dry.

The results:
Well, I'll obviously need more elbow grease to make these puppies really shine. But you can tell that it actually's shown so well here where the ladle wouldn't fit all the way beneath the solution.

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