New Shine for Old Silver Thanks to Salt
Cutlery, crockery or jewellery made of silver oxidises over time and tarnishes. Those who don’t want to remove this patina laboriously can also clean silver with the help of salt.
Simply place the silver items in a container with a little aluminium foil and add a spoonful of table salt and hot water. Usually, the tarnished coating dissolves from the silver within a few minutes. If it doesn't come clean completely with the first attempt, remove the silver, rinse and prepare a new cleaning bath.
This works, thanks to a chemical reaction. The reason that silver tarnishes is oxidation of the silver with traces of hydrogen sulphide from the air, the dark patina is silver sulphide. By means of a chemical reaction (electrolysis) between the ions of the silver and aluminium, the silver oxidation is practically reversed - accelerated through the dissolved table salt. The silver is once again shiny and the aluminium foil tarnished. The reactivity of salt and aluminium foil is limited, that is why the procedure may need to be repeated.