A Pinterest Fail

Hey, sometimes it happens to the best of us. And I’m hardly the best of us.

I was a debutante, which means that I have silver. Which also means that I have to polish silver on a monthly basis. Which consequently means that I have taught Tyler how to polish silver, and he greatly enjoys it.

I have been using these silver wipes, which do a fantastic job, but I have to use two wipes to polish all the silver and they’re kind of expensive. After I saw several pins like this one, and decided to attempt polishing my silver with tin foil, baking soda, salt, and boiling water. I convinced Tyler that it would be like a science experiment. We prepared our hypotheses – he stood by the wipes, while I thought the baking soda/tin foil would work better.

We were both right. In a way.

Please note the “before” picture from the Design Sponge post:

Teapot, sugar bowl, salt and pepper shakers, etc. – in other words, large items. Now look at the size of the baking dish on the left. It is mathematically impossible for all those things to 1) fit in that baking dish and 2) be covered by boiling water.

The only vessel that could conceivably fit all my silver is my large, single-bowl kitchen sink. So I lined that sucker with tin foil and realized my second problem – I could not boil enough water to cover the items in the sink. But by that time the pieces were arranged and had been sprinkled with baking soda and salt. I pressed on.


The water boiled, and I poured it over.

Even though it only covered the large items halfway, I heard pleasing bubbling sounds, and then I noticed black scum floating on top of the water. “Wow, my silver must have been FILTHY,” I thought. I realized that the black scum was emanating from the candle snuffer, because the boiling water was melting the dirty candle wax residue on the inside and SPREADING IT ALL OVER MY SILVER.

“Does this mean my hypothesis was right, mama?” Tyler asked.

When I removed the large items, they were covered with a thin film of wax. I washed off as much as I could, but I foresee another polishing this weekend.

A few takeaways:

1. While I did have some issues, the method itself is very effective. The intricately-wrought areas (such as the top of the coffee server, above) got miraculously clean…. on the side that was underwater.

2. Based on the amount of water a reasonable person can boil at once, this method is better for smaller, flatter items, such as silverware and jewelry.

3. This method is not as good for flat surfaces. The lotus bowls (above, bottom right) did not get terribly clean.

4. The candle snuffer thing was totally my mistake. Oops.

From now on, I will use the silver wipes for large or flat surfaces, and save the science experiment for small or intricate items.

Learn from my mistakes!


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