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Entertaining: Polishing the old silver

November 29, 2011 | 12:46 pm

Silver1 (1 of 1)Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I learned a new trick for holiday — or anytime — entertaining. I had laid out my Paris flea market silverplate forks, discouraged to see that the ends of the tines were black again. I really hate using messy silver polish, so I tried to coax my husband into doing the dirty deed. No luck.

Maybe it was time to try that baking soda trick I'd read about somewhere. I actually had had a huge bag of baking soda sitting by the back door for months, ever since my mother offered to bring me some of her favorite cleaning product.

But a 5-pound bag? Mother.

I rummaged around for a nonreactive container the right size, lined the bottom with tinfoil, laid the forks on the bottom, sprinkled over a few tablespoons of baking soda and added boiling water to cover the silverware.

Then I waited. Nothing happened. I didn't really expect much, but I left it there and forgot all about it for a couple of hours. When I remembered and checked on my experiment, the silver was sparkling clean. No scrubbing. No dirty cloth. No metal polish. Just plain old baking soda.

Then I tried my silver jewelry, and it worked well on that too. However, one of my smaller earrings somehow escaped and ended up in the garbage disposal, so it was not an entirely successful project.

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-- S. Irene Virbila

Twitter.com/sirenevirbila

Photos: Silverware in a baking soda bath. Credit: S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times.

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