I always thought that old tarnished cutlery needed a pretty strong kind of chemical to get it clean again.
Little did I know that cleaning cutlery could be so simple, and involved yet another use for one of my favourite items, baking soda.
If you have some tarnished stainless-steel or silver cutlery, all you need to get it clean and gleaming again is some plain old baking soda, aluminium foil, and water.
The method I share today is safe to use for most types of cutlery, including stainless steel and silver.
However, don't use this method for cleaning anything made from aluminium.
So, whether you have a set of everyday utensils or a collection of heirloom silverware, it's time to get them looking fabulous again!
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How to clean cutlery with baking soda
This method can be used to clean stainless-steel or silver cutlery and serving utensils.
It is so easy, and all you need is some baking soda or bicarbonate of soda.
As well as get your cutlery back to its original condition, it will get rid of grime and bacteria.
I love these kinds of no-scrub cleaning methods!
Things you will need
- Aluminium foil
- Baking soda
- Large heatproof dish
- Kitchen towel
Step 1 - Line the dish with the foil
Find a large heatproof dish and line it with some aluminium foil. It doesn't have to fit perfectly, just a rough fit.
You may be wondering at this stage why we need aluminium foil for this?
Well, there is chemistry involved!
The baking soda, aluminium, and water creates a chemical reaction called an ion exchange. This causes the tarnish on the silver (silver sulphide) to convert back into silver, and the sulphide becomes aluminium sulphide on the foil.
If your cutlery is made from stainless steel, there is a similar reaction whereby the iron oxide on the stainless steel becomes aluminium oxide.
Step 2 - Add cutlery
Lay your cutlery on top of the foil, making sure there is room for the solution to cover each piece.
If you have a lot of cutlery to clean, you may want to do this in a couple of batches.
Step 3 - Add baking soda
Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of baking soda on the cutlery.
Step 4 - Add hot water
Now pour on some boiling water, so everything is fully submerged.
I recommend hot rather than cold water for this, because the baking soda will dissolve much quicker in hot water.
Step 5 - Allow to soak for 30 minutes
Leave the solution to work on the cutlery for thirty minutes.
You should find that all the tarnish has lifted off, and your cutlery should look like new again. It's really quite magical!
Step 6 - Rinse and dry
Remove the cutlery from the solution and rinse in cold water. Use tongs or some rubber gloves if the water is still hot.
If all the tarnish hasn't come off completely, wipe with a soft cloth or repeat the process.
If you don't have baking soda to spare, try this method using vinegar instead.
How to clean cutlery with vinegar
Vinegar has so many uses around the home. I always have some white vinegar in my cleaning cupboard.
Here's how you can use vinegar to clean your stainless-steel or silver cutlery.
- Mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water in a bowl.
- Soak the cutlery in the vinegar solution for a few minutes.
- Rinse with water.
- Dry with a soft cloth.
If you don't have time to soak, simply spray the vinegar directly and then wipe with a soft cloth.
How to clean stained teaspoons with baking soda
As big tea-drinkers, stained teaspoons are something we always have to deal with in our house.
Again, baking soda is your friend when it comes to tea stains, because they can be cleaned quickly and easily with just hot water and baking soda.
You can also clean your teaspoons with soda crystals if you have those to hand.
- Add a tablespoon of baking soda or soda crystals to a mug of hot water.
- Put your teaspoons in the mug and leave to work for at least fifteen minutes.
- Wipe and then dry the spoons.
How to clean knives with baking soda
If your knife has become tarnished, or even rusty, you can get it clean with baking soda.
- Mix some water and baking soda to make a paste and spread it over the tarnished parts of the knife.
- Let it sit for an hour.
- Rub the knife using a soft microfiber cloth to remove the stains. The baking soda will act as tiny scrubbers.
- Rinse and dry.
Frequently asked questions
Can you clean silver cutlery with baking soda?
Yes, you can clean silver cutlery with baking soda.
Line a large heatproof dish with aluminium foil and place your silver cutlery inside.
Then add about two tablespoons of baking soda and some hot water.
After a few minutes, the tarnish will start to melt away. Then wipe with a soft cloth and dry.
Can you clean stainless-steel cutlery with baking soda?
Both stainless-steel and silver cutlery can be cleaned with baking soda.
Simply soak in a solution of hot water and baking soda in a heatproof dish lined with aluminium foil.