Fun with science (and fancy dishes)

Listen, don’t judge. I’m not normally a person who serves stuff in/on/under silver. But sometimes life hands you occasions to bring on the fancy. And usually I’m drastically under-prepared for said occasions because my fancy is covered in a chemical reaction known as “tarnish” that is apparently made up of tiny sulphuric airborne particles. Who knew? (A: This random science page I Googled up.)

Using a combo of that page and this National Geographic Green Living Tips page, I completed a fun little science project today. I swear I had tried the DIY method of silver polishing before, i.e. baking soda and water and scrubbing, and it was totally unimpressive. But I guess I failed to read about the cool chemical reaction part with the aluminum/inium foil and the baking soda and the maybe salt since only one source mentioned that and the tarnish and the silver. Neat.


-When you add the baking soda to boiling water, it bubbles furiously, but not quite as furiously and messily as a baking soda and vinegar volcano. Fun with less cleanup. (Do be careful though.)

-This method takes way less scrubbing than with just silver polish, or with just baking soda.

-I’m not sure that baking soda is all that natural to obtain, but it does seem gentle enough, especially compared to effective yet stinky silver tarnish remedies like Tarn-X.


-This method still takes more scrubbing than zero scrubbing, and everything needed to be buffed down significantly afterwards.

-It was hard to find an inert container to do it in, since metals react with this little experiment. I wound up using a plastic pirate punch bowl, which may warp from the hot water and which still didn’t hold every big fat piece of silver we had in the house. Still, by wrapping larger items in foil and rotating them in the solution, I still got the result I needed.


YAY. Despite any kinks, now I can have FANCY TEA PARTIES!

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