An evil wind blew into out house on the breath of the “year of the Dragon”. Evidentially the advent of the Chinese New Year brought a festival of bad juju on my house. We all are just falling apart. Hubs is sick, kids were sick then sick again. Ian is now rounding out the third illness, pinkeye. Or as it’s known around here, “I know it itches sweet boy but If-you-TOUCH- THAT-EYE-AGAIN-AND-SPREAD-THAT-NASTINESS-THROUGH-THE HOUSE-I’LL-CHOP-OFF-THAT-FINGER-AND-FEED-IT-TO-THE-FISHIES!” Perhaps that’s a tad dramatic but pinkeye is just SO gross. It like, totally, creeps me out, dude.


The kicker of all the illness is that Ian has been out of school forever. It has only been the better part of three weeks but all routines have been ruined and a deep abiding boredom has set in. At first I was too sick to care, but I am returning to humanity and the kid needed something to do. Let’s break out the household science and kill two birds with one stone. I knew that there was some way to polish silver easily with stuff around the house, I just couldn’t remember how.


Off to Google I went. Seriously, how did we survive without Google? Unfortunately that brought me a bunch of ads and youtube videos of Italian mommas scrubbing away on the silver. Ahem, ef that; one of my 10 commandments is thou shall not scrub whilst recuperating.  I also found some info about people using aluminum foil and hot water to polish, but it did not seem super effective.


Such Googling fun! I finally came to a more scientific site explained the science of it and gave a better recipe. Holy Coolness Batman!

3 Ag2S   +   2 Al   --->  6 Ag   +   Al2S3

Silver sulfide + aluminum ---> silver + aluminum sulfide


To quote Ian, “the smelly water with the stuff in it changes the chemical competition of the dirtiness.” I guess he caught the gist of what I was saying.


Here’s how I doctored up the recipe.


1 big old bowl

1 sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil (10”x10”-ish)

½ cup of baking soda (heaping-ish)

1 glug (maybe a Tbs.) of lemon juice

Boiling water (from my super-wham-o-dine kettle)


Step 1- dump all that stuff into the bowl.


Step 2- put the silver into the bowl and let sit for a minute. Turn the silver as often as necessary to immerse all parts.



 While it’s working there is a funny smell released (educated guess, sulfur dioxide)



Step 3- Remove and wipe off baking soda residue.



Now, with relatively clean silver you can stop here, but my silver was languishing for ages and had a few spots left on it.



Step 4- put some toothpaste on any tough spots and rub for like 2 seconds.





Step 5- rinse and dry

Before and after. Just to note, the whole process took maybe 20 minutes.





It's like magic, only better, because it's science!





Please Check out my other blog entries at

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Tags: cleaner, cleaning, homemade, pinkeye, polishing, recipe, silver, tarnish


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