How to Clean Tarnished Vintage Silverwear
The weekend was one of my very favourite kinds of weekends. We spent time with family, we took an epic hike with the children and the dogs – is there anything more fun that over excited puppies and children in the fresh air of the great outdoors? Also, we got to spend some time wondering around some trash and treasure stores.
One of the things that we have been gradually piecing together is a vintage cutlery collection. Slowly and surely we have been bringing together a beautiful medley of mix’n’match silverwear – hunting out pieces on our travels, so that one day (hopefully) very soon we will have a lovely complete vintage place settings.
Any fans of vintage cutlery out there will know that when you can snap it up at a bargain price it is quite often grubby and tarnished – and cleaning it to it’s former glory isn’t as hard as you might think.
After much research, and much trial and error. I think I have found a hassle-free way to spruce up that cutlery – check out this DIY guide for How to Clean Tarnished Silverwear.
Grab your supplies…
Your collection of new-to-you cutlery
A large flat dish – to ask as a cleaning bath
A couple of sheets of kitchen foil
The amount of baking soda will very much depend on the amount of silverwear that you need to clean – I found that it was more effective to work on smaller batches of items at a time, this gives each piece enough space to really benefit from the cleaning action. As a basic rule, you are looking for a ratio of five cups of water to one heaped tablespoon of baking soda.
Place a sheet of kitchen foil into the bottom of the flat dish, add in the tablespoon of baking soda and cover with boiling water – you will need enough water to ensure that the cutlery is fully submerged. The baking soda will begin to fizz up – you might want to open a window about now, this is where things get a little stinky as the reaction here creates an almighty sulphuric stench!
Place the cutlery into the cleaning bath and top up the water if needed to make sure that all of the cutlery is completely submerged. The cleaning action will start to happen right away! If the pieces are only lightly tarnished, you might find that 30 seconds in the bubbling cleaning bath is enough and the marks are fading right before your eyes! Here the fork on the right is already looking pretty sparkling compared to the more tarnished fork on the left!
If the cutlery is still tarnished, place a second sheet on top of the cutlery, this will help the cleaning action to work on both the upper and lower surfaces at once. As the water in the cleaning bath will still be very hot, use a wooden spoon to gently agitate the mix to help remove the stubborn stains.
The cutlery shouldn’t need to be in the cleaning bath for longer than a couple of minutes. Carefully remove the top layer of foil and fish out the cutlery – you might want to use kitchen tongs or mitts as the water will still be pretty hot! Wash the cutlery in warm, soapy water and use a soft cloth to dry and lightly buff to a glorious glistening finish!
In only a couple of (albeit stinky) minutes vintage cutlery is restored to its former glory.
Ta Dah! Glistening silverwear, ready-to-use and wow your dinner guests!