No More Dull Days: 5 Natural Methods for Polishing Silver and Copper

An heirloom serving tray. Silverware that’s been handed down through the generations. Vintage jewelry. Copper pots that have a long tradition of being part of Sunday brunch. No matter what you’re looking to clean, shine, polish, and perfect, there are natural methods for bringing back the beauty of silver and copper. For a glimmer of hope when it comes to returning a piece to its original luster, read on.

See Silver Sparkle

Hot Water, Aluminum Foil, Baking Soda, and Salt  This polishing method is a recipe for success. Choose a pot that’s large enough to accommodate the silver piece you’re planning to restore, line it with aluminum foil and then fill it with hot water. Immerse your silver piece in the water, add a tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of salt, and bring the water to a boil. All of these elements react together, and as the water boils, the tarnish will leave the silver and attach to the aluminum foil. Your reaction:  sheer joy.

Baking Soda  A box of baking soda is probably sitting in your pantry or one of your cupboards so it’s right on hand. Pour an ample amount of this natural cleaner all over your silver piece until it’s totally covered. (If you don’t have baking soda, Borax will do the trick as well!) Let sit for about 30 minutes then dampen a cloth or scrubbing sponge with hot water. Buff away the baking soda and voila — shine restored.

Copper Clearly Cleaned

Ketchup  A time-tested method that — dare we say — really cuts the mustard. Using a cloth, apply ketchup straight from the bottle onto the copper item and rub until the original sheen comes shining through. If you’re out of ketchup, grab the tomato paste instead.

Flour, Salt, and Vinegar   Particularly stubborn tarnishes are no match for this concoction. Form a grainy paste from equal parts salt, flour, and vinegar. Rub the paste over the copper item using an abrasive scrubber and you’ll see the surface go from lackluster to lustrous.

Lemon and Salt   This method will cut down your copper cleaning time. Slice a lemon in half, dip one half into coarse salt and rub it over the copper surface. As you go along, squeeze out any lemon juice on the copper piece and apply more salt as needed to finish cleaning the entire object.

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