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Did I ruin it? Mystery white residue after cleaning sterling silverware...

Question asked by GLENNA LAMBERT on Feb 18, 2019

While trying to untarnish my silverware, with a tip all over the internet, I'm afraid I have ruined it.  Can anyone tell me what may have happened?

Basically, I placed aluminum foil in a skillet, added water, 1 c of baking soda, and a little salt. Since everyone stressed it only works with extremely hot water, I had the idea of using a skillet in the stove to keep in the water hot. (Especially for as many pieces I had to polish)

It worked great at first, I added some more water and baking soda after several pieces and put another piece of foil in.  I stopped once I realized that it was causing a large white powdery buildup on my cooktop (as if it was all corroded, but luckily, it chipped and rinsed off), but now my pan seems to be ruined and some of the silverware has a dull white residue like stain on them.  (It didn't occur to me that the nonstick skillet could have had an effect too.  Was the skillet the culprit?  By chance do you know what reaction caused the white residue  and if there is anything I can do to restore the pan and silver pieces?)

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