Thursday, February 26, 2009

Green Cleaning for Your Silver, Gold, Brass, Copper and Other Metals

© copyright Carrie Boyko
Can You Tell Which Item Has Not
Been Polished Yet?

I've been watching some of my finer metals get tarnished lately, and being lazy about getting them polished. Today my goal was to look up some of the ways to remove tarnish and grime from my once-shiny metal items, and share them with you. First, I'll dispell the photo frustration. The candle snuffer in the front does not catch the light in the photo. It is the one that has not yet been polished. The others turned out well...better than I expected, without chemicals. Here's what I learned:

Silver Cleaners
  • Use toothpaste instead of toxic silver cleaner to clean and brighten even your best silver. Use an old soft bristled toothbrush and warm water.
  • Rub with a paste of baking soda and water
  • To magnetize tarnish away, soak silver in salted water in an aluminum container; then wipe clean
  • Soak in boiling water, baking soda, salt, and a piece of aluminum foil
  • When a quick dip for silverware is needed, prepare a solution of baking soda in tepid-cool water (l level teaspoon to a quart) andbrush with a soft toothbrush.


  • Mix baking soda and white vinegar together to create a paste. Then, rub the paste into the copper or brass object that you wish to clean. Rinse, and buff with a dry cloth .
  • Mix equal parts salt and flour with a little vinegar, then rub.


  • In a small, glass jar, mix an all natural, vegetable based soap like Dr. Bronner's in equal parts with water. Soak gold jewelry when it looses it shine, and gently brush away the loosened dirt and oils with an old toothbrush.


  • Rub with undiluted vinegar


  • Rub with lemon juice and salt, or hot vinegar and salt. Mix baking soda and white vinegar together to create a paste. Then, rub the paste into the copper or brass object that you wish to clean. Rinse, and buff with a dry cloth.

Stainless Steel

  • Rub with a paste of baking soda and water
  • Heated vinegar helps remove hard water stains from stainless steel items such as dog bowls.

Before I sign off on this brief post, I'd like to point out something scary. I looked up the active ingredient in a bottle of commercially-available silver cleaner. The name was long and most of us would not be able to pronounce it. That was a hint. I quickly learned it has been found to cause cancer. Think about that. After you clean your silver with that stuff, what do you do with it? Dump it down the sink, right? Where does it go? Traces of it end up in our groundwater and in our soil. Either way, we're screwing up the Earth by using chemicals. Virtualy everything ends up back in the ground or in our water supply somehow. Is that what you want for your grandkids?

Okay, so that was a bit preachy. I could delete it and tell you to have a nice day. But I can't. My job here is to educate myself and you about the dangers of toxins. Soak it up. See you tomorrow.

Clean and Green (great site with lots of natural cleaning ideas)

Busy Mom's Tips

About Housekeeping

Please join me Tuesday, March 3 for a very special event here at Organic Journey Online. I will be posting a 2-part video series on the plight of the banana workers in Nicaragua. This is the story of a banned U.S. pesticide which was sold and shipped to Nicaragua, where it is now maying thousands sick. If this doesn't make you want to give up pesticides, nothing will.

If, for no other reason, than to protect yourself, please stop in next Tuesday and view this documentary. Bring tissues.

1 comment:

Jan ockunzzi said...

I have been wanting to shine up a small silver necklace bangle for quite a while now, but never wanted to buy a whole bottle of silver polish just to clean one little bangle. These natural metal cleaning processes you presented are wonderful. Thanks. I like the toothpaste idea since I already have plenty of that.

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