This silver thing has brought up a lot of helpful comments. Thank you to all of you who gave me a "recipe" for cleaning silver with baking soda. I am proud to announce that I tried it today! Googling "silver cleaning" and "baking soda" will give you quite a few recipes to go on, but I chose Real Simple's version because it was...ah...surprisingly real simple.
Basically I took 1/4 cup baking soda, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 quart boiling water. Mixed them all together, then poured it over my silver. (I lined a glass dish with tin foil for this little silver science experiment.)
What silver, you ask? Well, that's the other thing. The great irony is that, while I've been checking out antique shops for other people's old silver, I had my grandmother's complete set, beautiful and engraved, all ready to go in my own house.
I've kept it tucked away and only brought it out on special occasions. But why? Why not use it all the time? I've been pondering this. And in the meantime, I got the above recipe for cleaning silver, and decided to use it on my grandmother's stuff, and on other family pieces, like this bowl.
Just pour the mixture over your silver piece(s), and let them sit for a minute or two. My silverware was remarkably clean already, so you can't see much of a difference, but check out the before and after on this bowl!
So, back to the silverware. My blogging friend Sarah, over at Nesting in Pleasant View, encouraged me to use the precious stuff every day. She says "Use it, use it, use it! My mom's silver sat in a hutch for close to 40 years only being used maybe once every 5 years. The setting is very intricate, with a small rosebud on it and definitely looks more 'dressy' than my everyday plates and stuff. I threw caution out the window and decided that if I liked it, then I would use it. Now I can't imagine NOT using it....It makes me happy to stir my morning cup of coffee with a silver spoon that was a wedding present to my mom and dad."
So I did it! I swear, the hardest part was taking each piece out of that velvet-lined storage box, allowing it to come into the every day and being stored without an anti-tarnish guarantee. So far, so good.
I will let you know if it continues to go well. :)