Recently I received some family silver serving dishes from my mom (who doesn’t use them anymore). They’ve been sitting in a cupboard somewhere for years, and were pretty tarnished. To fix this, I thought I’d go out and get some silver polish to clean them up and restore the shine. It turns out that this is a heck of a lot more work than it’s worth. I seem to recall that there was some silver cleaner out there that didn’t require scrubbing or polishing, but would instead remove the tarnish automatically, just by dipping it in some magical solution. But I couldn’t remember the name of it. So, I put the silver away in one of *my* cupboards and hadn’t thought about it since.
Time passed and I had sort of forgotten about the whole thing, until randomly remembering it yesterday, doing a Google search, and discovering that the magic liquid *is* actually available for purchase! And it’s not a magic liquid – it’s a magic plate, made of a super secret alloy* which, when mixed with the special “activator powder” in a tub of regular water, removes the tarnish from any silver it touches. In a way, one wonders why the evangelicals haven’t latched onto this with both fists**…
But then, just when I was about to buy one, I noticed another one of the search results describing a “make your own tarnish remover dip for silver”. Intrigued, I headed over to About.com to read the article. And it turns out that the magic metal in the plate (featuring “electrolytic technology”!) is nothing more than aluminum, and the special “activator powder” is probably no more than a mix of salt and baking soda. What’s more, you can make all of this yourself using that stuff and some aluminum foil.
Yeah, so aluminum foil doesn't work as well as you think. It keeps floating, which is really sort of annoying. Plus I am unconvinced that it has enough mass to really matter, so I'm going to experiment with some either forms of aluminum to see if they work better than the foil.
* Which (like Happy Fun Ball) fell to Earth, presumably from space.
** Heals via touch, only works when baptized, appears “miracle-esque”…