It is disheartening to see the silver items you invest in tarnish before your eyes—especially if the cleaning agent you trust causes the damage.
While many articles about cleaning silver mention the wonder of baking soda, some say that its abrasiveness can damage silver.
Does cleaning silver with baking soda damage it? Not for sterling silver. But, baking soda can be too abrasive for other silvers, especially antique silver.
In this post, I will tell you why you should refrain from using baking soda to clean your silver.
If you prefer safe, natural ways to clean your silver, check out the latter part of this article to learn some of the best remedies to clean silver without leaving home.
Cleaning Silver With Baking Soda: Is It Safe?
Environmental advocates disapprove of commercial silver cleaners because many of these products have toxins that can harm the earth.
They choose safer methods—such as baking soda—to keep silver shine without imposing damage to the environment.
Baking soda is among the most popular ways to remove metal grime, dirt, tarnish, and oil.
It is an excellent cleaner, so it is tempting to use almost everything. But that is not a good idea. Some materials are not ideal for cleaning with baking soda.
Professionals warn people against using baking soda as a cleaning agent because it is abrasive.
This means that you have to be careful when using it on lightly sealed surfaces or anything that can be worn away—for instance, scrubbing too hard on a pan with a scratchy sponge.
Besides that, some metals are more reactive to baking soda than others, which might result in discoloration.
While baking soda won’t completely ruin the metal, it will leave it with a discolored surface.
On the other hand, cleaning your silver with baking soda won’t damage it—but only if you are sure that you are cleaning sterling silver.
This cleaning method can be too harsh for other silver types, leaving them with scratches and tarnishing.
Safer Ways to Clean Silver
Here are some of the natural silver cleaners that are easiest to find:
- Toothpaste – Dab some organic toothpaste on a cloth and run it onto your silver in a circular motion.
- Rubbing Alcohol – Mix 4 parts of water and 1 part of rubbing alcohol in a bowl and dip a clean rag or cloth in it. Afterward, rub the cloth over the silver, then wipe dry with another clean cloth.
- Ketchup – Tarnished silver can be made shiny again using ketchup. Dab a small amount of ketchup on a towel, then rub gently over the silver.
Baking soda is still among the most popular natural cleaning agents for silver.
But, take note that too much of it can cause more damage than good. Instead of baking soda, there are other natural remedies to clean your silver items, such as ketchup, toothpaste, and rubbing alcohol.
The good thing is that you can find most, if not all, of these items in the four corners of your home.