Tarnished silver is no match for this aluminum foil “recipe.” Bring one liter of water, one tablespoon of baking soda and one piece of aluminum foil to a boil. Drop silverware in the pot for 10 seconds (longer if it’s very tarnished), then remove using kitchen tongs. Magic! If built-up tarnish persists, make a thick paste with 1/4 cup baking soda and two tablespoons of water. Apply with a damp sponge, then rinse and dry.
To make your jewelry or silverware sparkle, line a medium-sized bowl with aluminum foil and fill it with hot water. Mix in one tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent, then soak your silver for one minute. Rinse with clean water, and air-dry.
If your silver is tarnished, ketchup can help. Squirt a small amount on a paper towel, and rub gently over the tarnished areas. If your silver isn’t getting shinier, let the ketchup sit for 15 minutes, then rub with a soft cloth and rinse clean. For items that have textured details, as with some candlesticks or fancy silverware, use a toothbrush to clean between the crevices.
A paste of cornstarch and water will make silver look new again. Apply with a damp cloth, let dry, then rub off with something mildly abrasive, like cheesecloth or a rough towel. Tip: You can substitute cream of tartar if you’re out of cornstarch.
Hand sanitizer not only fights germs, but it’s a great silver polisher. Squirt a few drops on a soft cloth and rub away the tarnish.
Recapture shine by dunking your silver items in a bowl of lemon-lime soda for one hour. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste on a rag and polish your silver. Then rinse—and see how it shines!
Spray window cleaner on a rag or toothbrush, and use it to gently scrub your sterling silver. You should be able to restore your silver its original shiny state.
If you want to prevent tarnish, try rubbing hair conditioner on clean silver.
Silverware will stay shiny if you keep a few pieces of chalk in the drawer or chest where you store it. The chalk absorbs moisture, preventing your nice utensils from tarnishing.
Brighten silver trinkets by soaking them for 10 minutes in a solution of one cup warm water and 1/2 cup clear ammonia. Gently wipe clean and dry.
Return luster and shine to your silverware and jewelry by soaking it in 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse under cold water, and dry thoroughly.
Your silver will sparkle after soaking overnight in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1/2 cup of instant dry milk.
Originally published as How to Clean Silver: 13 Weird Tricks That Really Work on ReadersDigest.com.