Mitchell has been fielding organic chemistry questions for science.ca for almost 6 years.
What is the chemistry behind the method of cleaning silver where you place it on some aluminum foil in water to which washing soda has been added? I was told this would eventually damage the silver and that I should buy a special metal plate to use in place of the foil. I bought the plate as I have no wish to risk doing irreversible damage to the silver, but I think aluminum is just a catalyst in which case the foil should suffice. Can you please help me?