Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cleaning silver.... Chemistry is kewl!!


Princess showed me this trick.... and it's more than a little kewl.

Cleaning silver can be a pain in the butt. Traditional methods are simply polishing till it's shiny, or using a chemical 'dip. Polishing is hard work, and wears away the silver. The chemical dips are expensive, and can be scary to work with on fine jewelry.

Babe showed me this method, which makes use of simple electrolysis to remove the tarnish, which is mostly just sulfur compounds anyway.

Line a non-reactive (stainless or glass) pot with aluminum foil. Lay your silver on the foil in the pot. Pour on half a cup of baking soda. Fill the pot to a level well above the silver with clean water.

You can stop there, as a few moments will show 'bubbles' coming to the surface as the electrolytic action begins and the sulfur gives up it's hold on the silver and transfers to the aluminum. Heating the water to boiling speeds the chemical reaction, and hurts nothing.

The real beauty of this method is that it removes no silver at all, just the tarnish. Also, it's dirt cheap, easy, and involves no harsh chemicals. Any remaining tarnish removes far easier after the bath, usually with simple wiping of a rough paper towel.

Chemistry for modern living! Kewl stuff!

1 comment:

M*A said...

Ha! I was just thinking the other day of the DuPont commercial from back in the day..."Better Living Through Chemistry". I'm so going to use this!