This old-time recipe for cleaning one's silver came to me from my dear Auntie Ellen. It was hand written on a piece of her notepaper and kept in an envelope filled with scraps of paper with recipes that she collected during her many years as a minister's wife in western Canada. There are also home made 'recipes' for cleaning bronze and ivory!
Silver can be perfectly cleaned with a firm jelly made of soap and whiting, kept in a jar. Dip your cloth into this and well rub all over, then rinse in warm water and leave to dry. Polish thoroughly with chamois leather.
This is invaluable for engraved silver as it cleans perfectly and leaves no trace of powder. To clean silver articles which cannot be put into water, use the following home-made powder.
Take 2 ounces of finest whiting and 1 tsp. of jeweller's rouge. Mix well, rubbing smooth until all is pink. Damp a little with ammonia, rub the article to be cleaned. Polish with soft leather, a beautiful polish will result.
The silver leather: the chamois with which we polish silver should be washed frequently, as if it is allowed to get dirty and dusty it is apt to cause scratches and marks that are difficult to erase.
To keep the leather soft and pliable, wash and rinse in soapy water, never put it in clear water as that causes the leather to become stiff and hard.
Make a lather of warm water and soap and a very little soda. Soap the leather well and leave it to soak for a time. Then soap again, and rub well all over and squeeze with the hands. The dirt will come out quite easily and the leather should then be well rinsed in warm soapy water. Dry it in the air, not too quickly.