Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quick Thrifty Tip: Caring for your Silver

Whilst staging my above-cabinet vignette this rainy Saturday, it became necessary to give my silver collection a polish before putting it on display (once you start scrubbing one thing, you can't let the others not sparkle too, right?). I love silver and have a wine rack, footed chafing dish set and miniature tea set in this particular grouping, all of which needed de-tarnishing. (If you aren't aware, silver oxidizes when exposed to, well, oxygen, i.e., the air. You can combat this with your jewelry by wearing it often, rubbing it gently (the oils in your skin mitigate tarnish) and/or keeping it stored in an airtight container (plastic bags seem to work well). But if you're decorating with your silver you will (unfortunately) need to polish it.

The sensible, thrifty way to polish your silver (environmentally sound also, of course) is to eschew fancy chemical polishes that are near ten dollars (or crazy electrosometingorrather sink systems like the one my mom got scammed into when I was a kid) and simply take your nearly-finished toothpaste tube- the one that you've rolled already and have extracted every last possible morsel- and slice it up the side to the mouth and lay it flat as possible, and use a rag (you've hopefully been collecting holey shirts and socks for this purpose) to collect the remaining toothpaste, and polish away. Severe tarnish will take some scrubbing, but you should start to see shine come through the very dullest silver fairly quickly.

Left, unpolished (dull, blah) teapot. Right, post-toothpaste-treatment (bright! shiny!) teapot (please pardon crappy cell phone photo)

This trick works with nearly all kinds of toothpaste (save, perhaps, berry childrens' with crazy sweeteners and that sort of thing) from plain white to gel-ly blue. It's quite remarkable, and a great use of something you'd usually just throw in the trash. Wash in warm water and dry with a kitchen towel and you'll have your coveted shinyliciousness back! Repeat anytime your pieces start to look dull again- save your toothpaste tubes for a silver-polishing day! Which, by the way, you should schedule any time you have a cold. Inhaling menthol as you rub tarnish away leaves your nasal passages... very... clear.

If you have any special awesome thrifty hints, please share them- I might publish yours on the Cambridge MA Thrifty Living Examiner page- More info TBD!

Happy Saturday Night!

1 comment:

  1. It's been a while since I attacked the silver with any gusto or discernible result. Lovely spring cleaning tips! I love vintage silver but am quite lazy on the cleanup!

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