Removing Tarnish with Baking Soda. DID IT WORK?

That tag line about skinning cats is starting to get on my nerves.  Why did I have to go and write that?  Because it’s in my genes.  There’s a long line of stubborn women going all the way back to my great grandmother Louise.  Only that wasn’t actually her name.  It was Louisa.  But she didn’t care for Louisa so she dropped the “a” and added an “e” and didn’t tell anyone about it until she was on her deathbed.  She probably felt a little guilty (nah) or needed to clear the air since so many of us were named after her, including me and my mother.  I prefer Louisa. Thanks, Great Grandma Leigh.

So, it’s not really getting on my nerves, but it’s something of a burden when you know you won’t stop until you get it right.  I’ve had severe technical blogging difficulties today and like the women before me, I don’t give up that easily. It’s past midnight.  😦

And this is all for some experiment that didn’t go so well.  Yes, back to the question of “DID IT WORK?”  You have to say that loudly.  It even needs an echo:  “Did it work, did it work?”

No, it did not work to the effect I had hoped, but baking soda, aluminum foil, hot water and a dash of salt does remove some tarnish from my very old utensils.  I’d say this experiment is worth repeating.  I only tried it once and I have to say I may have messed it up a little.

About a month ago, I ripped a page out of Whole Living magazine (a Martha Stewart publication)   Always on the prowl for clever and practical do-it-yourself  projects, I found one for removing tarnish. Not that I hang around looking to polish silver.  I never polish silver.  Not even my silver jewelry.  Just not high on the priority list.  But, then along comes this clever blurb from Whole Living magazine that promises their home remedy will “effortlessly dissolve the tarnish.”

DOES IT WORK?!   The back of the utensils look great.  The front: not so much.   It may need a little contact.  Like with an old toothbrush.  The back was touching the aluminum.  Clearly, some kind of chemical reaction occurs when the aluminum touches the silver.  Or maybe not.  I’m going to try it again.

If you want to try it, here’s what you’ll need:

Ready to do battle.
  • 1 large pan. 
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • Dash of salt

Line the pan with aluminum foil.


Pour the hot water into the pan.

1 cup hot water

Dump in the baking soda and dash of salt.

Baking soda and salt

Stir until mostly dissolved.

I added a little more water later. I think I had a leak.
I told you they were a little nasty.

Add your utensils one at a time.

One tarnished fork.

I swirled the mixture around and flipped them over.


I have to admit I was surprised!   Delighted.  But I couldn’t get the front of the utensils as clean as the back.  In the end, it’s hard to tell, but they are cleaner Okay, so maybe you need a magnifying glass.

Brighter, but still tarnished.

I’m laughing.  I can’t really tell.  This may need a second round of testing.  If I have to answer does it work, I’d have to say “kind of, sort of.”  How very scientific of me.

What do you think?  Do you think Martha does this?    Will you?

4 thoughts on “Removing Tarnish with Baking Soda. DID IT WORK?”

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