Natural Silver Polish with Baking Soda and Aluminum Foil Review – Does it Work?

Originally published on 11/14/2013

All Natural Non-Toxic Silver Polish

4 out of 5 leaves

4 out of 5 leaves

The holiday season often bring lots of company, and folks get out their best china and silver to serve the guests.  If you are blessed to have real silver cutlery or serving items, you are likely facing the unpleasant task of removing the tarnish.  Silver tarnish is caused by a chemical reaction between the elemental silver and hydrogen sulfide in the atmosphere.  Many silver polishes on the market can remove this sulfer build-up, but are full of toxic chemicals and come with many dire warnings about the bad things that could happen due to contact with the polish.  A more natural way to clean silver is to reverse the chemical reaction with baking soda, aluminum, and hot water.  But does it actually work?

The Good

  • Better for You – three harmless ingredients are all you need to remove the ugly tarnish
  • Better for the Earth – no toxic chemicals are being put into the wastestream
  • Saves Time – the tarnish is removed by soaking, instead of you polishing every square inch by hand – a big bonus when unexpected company arrives!
  • Saves Money – you can remove the tarnish with simple things you already have in your kitchen (aluminum foil and baking soda)
  • Easy – boil water, and dunk – can’t get much simpler than that!

The Bad

  • Not appropriate for silver jewelry with other gemstones in it
  • May take a couple tries for badly tarnished silver
  • Stinks like sulfur (but that means it’s working)

My Experience

Un-tarnishing the silver.

I don’t have a lot of fancy things.  Some “nice” dishes with a pretty pattern (but still from Target).  Some “nice” silverware, that is only slightly more dainty than our everyday cutlery.  A carnival glass bowl inherited from my late grandmother.  And the fancy winner: a silver cake serving set that was given to us as a wedding gift from my Granny.  Of course, I’m so not fancy that I didn’t even realize it was silver until I opened it a few years later and saw it had tarnished.

I’ll be honest: that tarnish scared me a little.  Not in an “I’m so scared!” kind of way, but more of an intimidated, “what occasion could be so nice that I would polish the silver?” kind of way.  Then I turned green and crunchy and didn’t want that toxic polish anywhere near anything that touches food.

The I ran into an all natural way to remove the tarnish from silver.  It’s a pretty basic chemical reaction: you place the silver in hot, salty water, with aluminum foil, and the sulfur tarnish transfers from the silver to the aluminum.  I did it via the following steps:

  1. Line a glass dish with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the silver in the dish, contacting as much of the foil as possible (you can see in the photo above that I made a little aluminum handle rest so the handle was touching aluminum and the server portion was flat against the foil as well).
  3. Sprinkle baking soda around the silver pieces
  4. Pour boiling hot water into the dish, enough to fully submerge the silver
  5. Wait ten minutes until the tarnish has turned into a dull grey color (see photo above for example)
  6. Wipe tarnish away with a damp cloth, and then wash as normal
  7. Be awed and amazed that IT ACTUALLY WORKS!!

Before and After!  (After the first soak – the second soak brought perfection!)

As you can see above, the method didn’t give perfect results the first time.  However, this was a very badly tarnished piece (I haven’t used it once in the ten years since my wedding).  When I tried it again with fresh aluminum, and fresh water, it shined up perfectly!  Now I have NO excuses for not using it anytime I feel like making the day a party!

Overall, this all natural, non-toxic, silver polishing method worked wonderfully to take the tarnish off the silver.  It was a little stinky as the sulfur was released, and I had to do it twice for it to get all the tarnish off.  However, my silver was really bad, and I’m sure with a longer first soak it would have probably been fine the first time.  Also, in the future, I plan to use this serving set much more often, so a quick soak and polish are all it takes to keep them looking great!

Have you ever tried this trick for polishing your silver?  What do you usually do to shine up those special pieces? 

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All Natural Foot Softening Soak Review – Does it Work?

Today’s guest post is by Jill who blogs at Maggie May’s Gifts – DIY Ideas for Everyday.  With the cold months settling in, I can’t wait to spend a quiet evening pampering my feet with Jill’s foot scrub!

4 out of 5 leaves

4 out of 5 leaves

There are many foot soak recipes out there and I went on a mission to find the best one. My mission included one that was easy, economical, and natural. Most of them contain many of the the same ingredients like sea salt, Epsom salt, vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. I found that vinegar and Listerine was a popular one and so was bleach. hmmm. No thanks!

I tried different mixtures and different variations and like this formula the best. Although, I really think it matters less what you use but more how long you soak and how well you exfoliate and moisturize. So if you can use what you have on hand, great!

It is nice to do this at night because it’s really relaxing and it also gives your feet several hours to rest and soak up your moisturizer. Also, it feels like Christmas morning when you wake up and check out your new, smooth feet.

First, get a basin large enough to hold your feet and heat some water.


If you have Epsom Salts, then mix about a cup of the salts into your basin and add warm water. That is all you need for a fantastic soak because the magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salts) are powerful enough. Since they are derived from the earth, they are considered a natural product.

If you don’t have Epsom salts and don’t want to run to the store, no problem. Simply mix sea salt, baking soda, and an essential oil if you want (such as peppermint or tea tree). Then pour a vinegar and warm water mixture over it and stir.

Then soak your feet for 20-30 minutes. The longer the better because the softer they get, the easier you can exfoliate.

Then scrub your feet with a pumice stone or other foot scrubber. I use this.


Optional step, but highly recommended: Massage your feet a scrub made of olive oil and salt.


You can read my previous post for making that, here. The salt really helps scrub off any remaining dead skin while the olive oil seeps into any cracks to moisturize.

Finally, rinse well and follow with a thick moisturizer. I like pure Shea Butter, which is sold in scoops at Whole Foods.

Immediately put socks on and get a good night’s sleep!

You might need to do the soak a few times to get your feet super smooth, especially if they were pretty chapped. Just make sure you soak long enough and exfoliate thoroughly.

This will be a great relaxing soak this winter. Enjoy!

Thanks Jill, I am really looking forward to giving my feet a rejuvenating scrub!  Here’s the foot scrubber Maggie uses to get those baby soft heels (affliate link)

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A Big Move for Green Idea Reviews

Hi Friends!

Just checking in to tell you about our big personal news.  After six life-changing years in Los Angeles, our family is moving across the country to the Philadelphia area.  I have been blessed with a great new job opportunity, and am excited to move back to the east coast.

I am also excited to have the opportunity to try out all kinds of new weather related Green Ideas that I couldn’t before. We’ve been deprived of excitement out here with our sunny and 72 degree days (haha!).

As we arrange for a 2500 mile move, purchase a new home, and find our way in a brand new place, I will need to take a little blogging break.  I plan to re-run some of the fun holiday ideas I’ve tested, I have some guest posts lined up, and will likely slow down the postings towards the end of the year.  I hope we ALL have better things to do with our families in December than read and write Green Living blogs!

I’ll look forward to starting the New Year off with you and some cool new Green Idea Reviews!


Posted in News and Updates, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Natural Wooden Baby Teether Review and Giveaway!

All Natural Wooden Teether Review and Giveaway!

Welcome to the Natural Bump & Baby Hoppers! Green Idea Reviews is celebrating the launch of the new Natural Birth Stories book by reviewing and giving away an all natural wooden baby teether!

Photo of Byron Bay - one of Australia's best beaches!

Not only can you enter to win a natural baby gift here at Green Idea Reviews, you can enter over 20 different natural baby giveaways (links at the bottom).  Make sure you also enter to win the grand prize at valued at over $445. It includes cloth diapers and accessories, essential oils, mama cloth, and more!

Natural Wooden Baby Teether Review and Giveaway!

5 out of 5 leaves

5 out of 5 leaves

Teething is one of those rites of passage that all babies (and weary mamas) face at one point or another.  While all drugstores offer a range of drug laced medications and creams, a natural mama worries about the safety of these in a wee one.  Plastic teething toys are available, but with sketchy plastic additives, some mamas are wary of these as well.  Wooden baby teethers are a chemical free, sustainable resource option.  But do natural wooden baby teethers work?  

The Good:

  • Better for baby – wooden teethers are free from yucky plasticizers and other things that may be harmful to your little drooler
  • Better for the earth – wood is a sustainable resource, and can be recycled or composted when no longer needed
  • Safe for baby – sanded, chemical free alder wood is a safe chew toy for baby

The Bad:

  • Wooden teethers probably need a break to dry out every once in a while

My Experience

Somehow my little newborn has already become a little drooler/chewer/teether.  While we haven’t seen any actual chompers yet, at 8 months we expect them to arrive any day.  She dribbles like a leaky faucet and like a little puppy, want to chew on everything.  It can be hard to find chew toys that I feel really good about letting her have.

Recently, however, I found a great new teether that is perfect for her and for me too!  The Barin Toys Teether Sticks are exactly what a crunchy mama is looking for.  They are:

  • Hand carved wood
  • Varnish free, paint free, oil free
  • Made of safe organic alder wood
  • Polished 5x to ensure all edges are perfectly safe and smooth
  • Heat treated to kill any bugs and disinfect -no chemicals used anywhere during production

My sweet teether loves these wooden “keys” and spends quality time with them each day.  I often toss them in my bag to keep her busy when we go out.  I always get compliments and questions on them – they are a great conversation starter!  Both the babe and I love this teether/rattle set.  In fact, I love it so much, I am going to buy one to give to you!

If you have a young baby, one on the way, or know a friend who does, this giveaway is for you!  Check out the details below to enter and then follow the other links below for more opportunities to win cool natural baby gear.  All these giveaways are in celebration of the launch of a great new book Natural Birth Stories by Shannon Brown.

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Harvest Your Health Bundle Final Call and Giveaway!

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