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Cleaning Your Silverware (with Ketchup?)

As kids, my sisters and I were often charged with cleaning the silverware each fall, before Thanksgiving and the onslaught of holiday parties leading up to Christmas. I don’t think we bothered taking it out in the spring, nor in summer unless there was some specific occasion that called for it. By fall, they were good and tarnished. I secretly loved using the silver dip that smelled of rotten eggs but allowed us to satisfyingly banish swirls of dark blue tarnish in one dunk. But if you don’t have any silver dip, or don’t like using it in your home or on your silverware, there are some other options – many of which you likely already have in your kitchen. I recently stumbled upon instructions for cleaning silverware using tomato ketchup. (A little more involved than a dip, but definitely doable.)

To clean your silverware using ketchup (the idea is that the acid in the tomatoes go to work on the tarnish – by this rationale I’d think you could use tomato sauce, or even juice, instead), simply rub ketchup all over the tarnished piece and rub it clean with a cloth or toothbrush. Another option is to clean your silverware using baking soda, aluminum foil and water – line a wash basin with a piece of aluminum foil, sprinkle with about 1/4 cup baking soda and add a gallon of hot water. The soda reacts with the aluminum foil (I really do wish I had paid attention in chemistry), doing all the work for you. (Alternatively, skip the foil and just do it in an aluminum pan – but it must be aluminum.)

Better yet, assign it as a Thanksgiving day task for your kids, to keep them busy while you take care of the turkey.

photo credit: istockphoto/malerapaso

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