Nothing enhances your holiday table more than silver, china, candles and a beautiful centerpiece of fresh greens and holly. But unless you use your silver often, it is probably tarnished and needs polishing, and if you are like me, you probably don’t have the time to polish silver with all the other holiday hoopla. I don’t like using commercial silver polish anyway, which often contains thiourea, a known animal and probable human carcinogen. The thought of eating on silverware polished with toxic chemicals is enough to make me not use it at all.
Here are a couple of simple, quick and non-toxic silver polish recipes.
- Fill a sink or a large pan with water.
- Add two tablespoons of cream of tartar and a few strips of aluminum foil.
- Let the silver soak for an hour or so until it is tarnish free. In the case of badly tarnished silver, you may notice an odor like rotting eggs. (It’s not harmful, but it’s a good idea to open a window.)
- Rinse with water and pat dry with a soft cloth.
I just tried this and my grandmother’s silver looks like new with very little effort!
Another tried and true recipe is:
- Add 3 to 5 drops of peppermint or spearmint essential oil to toothpaste.
- Rub this mixture with your fingertips onto the silver. As the tarnish is removed, the toothpaste mixture will turn grayish.
- Rinse the silver well and pat dry.
Hints: Don’t use rubber gloves while cleaning your silver – rubber can actually corrode the finish. Don’t allow food to stand on your silver. Always store rolled up in a flannel cloth.
Information compiled from The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier.