How To Clean Silver With 10 Smart Hacks

Silver jewellery, silver flatware sets, silver plates, tea sets, utensils, shinny coin collections and decorative items give their owner a touch of elegance. But over time, they lose their shine and start tarnishing, as they react with the light and the air. What are you doing when your precious silver objects lose their luxurious sight? Do you hide them until you find a specialist silversmith to restore their shine? You shouldn’t.

A silver set on a silver plate

Discoloured silver items need special treatment to return to their former lustre and shiny condition. The good thing is that you don’t have to spend money on expensive silver polish and professionals. You can use the ingredients and tools you already have in your kitchen cupboards and your fridge and become the cleaning silver specialist!

Method 1: Use dish soap

If your silvers are dull, or lightly tarnished there’s a cheap and simple way to clean them, with something you use daily the dish soap.

You are going to need:

  • A bowl
  • A few drops of your dish soap
  • Warm water
  • 2 cloths

Then follow these instructions:

  1. Mix in the bowl a few drops of your liquid detergent with warm water.
  2. Soak a cloth in the soapy water and rub your pieces.
  3. Rinse them in cold water.
  4. Wipe them dry with a second cloth.

Method 2: Use Baking soda 

This inexpensive, powerful cleaning agent is used for many cleaning purposes. You can also mix it with other ingredients to get an ultra-powerful and effective cleaning product

A jar of baking soda for cleaning silver items

To remove tarnish from your silvers you will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Lukewarm water
  • A damp cloth
  • Dry soft cloths
  • A soft toothbrush
  • Cold water

Then follow these steps:

  1. Make a thick paste from the soda and lukewarm water.
  2. Use a damp cloth to apply the paste to the tarnished areas.
  3. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes and rub it gently with a soft dry cloth.
  4. Use the brush to clean crevices.
  5. Rinse your silver with water and dry them using a second soft cloth.

Note: Don’t rub them too hard. Otherwise, you’ll scratch them. 

Method 3: Use Baking soda and aluminium foil

This is probably one of the best ways to clean your tarnished silver. It’s a rather handy method when you have to clean more than one thing or big objects, like candlesticks, silver cutlery and so on. 

Cleaning silver with baking soda and aluminium foil

Here’s what you need:

  • A large ceramic or glass baking pan
  • Aluminium
  • Water
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of baking soda for every gallon of water
  • Kitchen tongs
  • Paper towels

Once you’ve collected all the tools and ingredients, follow the below steps:

  1. Cover a large ceramic or glass baking pan with aluminium, with the shiny side up
  2. Fill it with water and add the soda.
  3. Bring to boil and then put your tarnished items in. 
  4. Let them in the boiling water for 15 seconds and take them out.
  5. Place the silvers on the towels to cool down.

Extra tip: If the tarnish hasn’t gone, you may need to repeat the process. 

Note: Never use metal baking pans. Only ceramic or glass ones to avoid any chemical reactions. What’s more, never clean jewellery with encrusted gemstones this way. 

Method 4: Use aluminium foil and laundry detergent

This cleaning method is rather useful for slightly tarnished utensils, jewellery and silvers. 

Tarnished silver set of spoons

You’re going to need:

  • A bowl
  • Aluminium
  • Hot water
  • A tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent 
  • Kitchen tongs
  • Lukewarm water
  • Paper towels

Now, do as follows:

  1. Cover a bowl with aluminium and fill it with hot water.
  2. Add a tablespoon of liquid detergent. Stir very well.
  3. Put your objects in.
  4. Let them for a minute and take them out.
  5. Place them on the towels to dry.

Method 5: Use white vinegar

Vinegar is an inexpensive, natural ingredient that is famous for its cleaning properties. It can be used to polish sterling silver, cutlery and silver jewellery. 

The 1st way:

What you need:

  • A large bowl 
  • Baking soda (you need almost 4 tablespoons for every cup of vinegar)
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Clean water
  • Cotton cloth

Now:

  1. Put your silver objects in the bowl. Make sure your bowl is big enough to hold all of your items.
  2. Pour vinegar. Add vinegar as much as it needs so that your silvers are entirely covered with it.
  3. Add the soda powder.
  4. Let your things sit in the solution for an hour
  5. After an hour, rinse them with water and dry them with a cloth
Putting white vinegar in a cup

The 2nd way:

This way works better for silverware.

You are going to need:

  • A pan
  • Aluminium foil
  • A tablespoon of baking soda
  • A tablespoon of kosher salt
  • ½ cup of distilled vinegar
  • 1-2 cups of boiling water
  • Microfiber cloth

Follow the below steps:

  1. Cover the pan with foil and add the soda and the salt
  2. Then, pour the vinegar. You’ll see the mixture fizzing.
  3. Add the boiling water. You have to add enough water to cover all your items. 
  4. Put the silvers in the solution and let them soak. For light silver sulfide, you need to let them soak for 30 seconds and more heavily tarnished ones for 3 minutes
  5. Then, remove the pieces and finish the process by buffing them dry with a cloth.

Method 6: How to clean silver with ketchup

We know! It’s too weird! But it works perfectly as long as you have 1 or 2  pieces of silver to clean. 

A cup full of ketchup next to a spoon

You’ll need:

  • A few drops of ketchup
  • Towels
  • Microfiber cloth
  • A toothbrush

Now, do as follows:

  1. Get a towel and squeeze on it a few drops of ketchup.
  2. Start rubbing your tarnished pieces with smooth moves. In case there’s a tarnish build-up you can apply the salsa directly to the tarnished spots.
  3. Let it sit for 15 minutes
  4. Rub again with a cloth and after that rinse with clean water.
  5. If you have an item with more details and crevices, use the brush to clean it.

Method 7: Use toothpaste

And we continue with the bizarre things. OK! Toothpaste might not be as weird as the previous method. Most of you may already know that it can be used as a silver cleaner. 

A woman cleaning her silvers with toothpaste

To bring back polish on your silvers you’ll need:

  • A little toothpaste
  • A soft cloth/handkerchief
  • Water 

Follow the below simple steps:

  1. Squeeze some toothpaste on a cloth or handkerchief.
  2. Rub it on the item with a circular motion.
  3. Leave the toothpaste for 50 minutes to vanish tarnish.
  4. Rinse with water

Method 8: Use lemon juice

Lemon is used for cleaning purposes as well. It’s a natural whitening agent, and you can use it to get rid of water spots from your silver plates. 

You’ll need: 

  • A microfiber cloth
  • Lemon juice

Now:

  1. Soak a cloth in the juice.
  2. Start rubbing your item softly. 
Some lemons and a glass of lemon juice on a table

Method 9: Clean silvers with a window cleaner

While cleaning your windows, you can clean your silvers as well. Yeap! Window cleaners can restore their lost shine!

You are going to need:

  • A window cleaner
  • A toothbrush/ cloth

The steps are easy. Just spray the window cleaner on the brush or the cloth and scrub your pieces. That’s all!

Method 10: How to clean your silvers with ammonia 

Ammonia can perfectly clean all your tarnished silver objects. It’s better though, to avoid using it on antique silverware and jewellery. 

To bright your silver pieces with ammonia you need:

  • A bowl
  • Clear ammonia
  • Warm water
  • A cotton cloth

Then, do as follows:

  1. Mix in a bowl 1 part of ammonia and 2 parts of water.
  2. Submerge your pieces in the solution and let them soak for 10 minutes.
  3. Next, get them out of the bowl and buff them with a cotton rag until they’re shining

How do I prevent tarnishing?

Tarnish is an inevitable natural process. You can’t protect your silvers from turning black. There’s a way though, to slow it down and keep your shiny jewellery, dishes, flatware, cutlery, silverware and all your silver items looking good. However, you’ll still need to clean them someday.

A couple of tarnished silvers on a blue surface

Here are some tip-top tricks: 

  • Clean your silver jewellery every time you wear them. Skin oils stick on the surface of your silvers, leading to oxidation.
  • Get anti-tarnish bags and store each piece of silver jewellery in a cool, dry place.
  •  Along with your jewellery in the anti-tarnish bags store a piece of chalk as well. Chalk will remove moisture from the pack.
  • Every time you want to put on silver jewellery, do it after perfume. This way, you’ll avoid the perfume sticking to them.
  • Put on your jewellery as many times as you like. Don’t be afraid! Friction helps slow down the corrosion. 

How to care for silver

There are some tips you can follow to keep your pieces of silver in good condition and protected them from tarnishment and corrosion. 

  • Clean your silver with the proper tools and products as rare as possible. 
  • Every time you want to catch a silver item, use vinyl or cotton gloves to protect them from skin oil and moisture which will mark and lead to corrosion. 
  • Dust them with a lint-free soft cotton cloth. 
  • When you use your silverware, wash each one separately in plastic bowls, rinse them in water, and dry them immediately, reducing the corrosion rate.
  • Always protect your silvers using special tarnish bags and pouches to avoid scratches and getting dusted.
  • Don’t wrap them with newspapers because they’ll tarnish quickly and don’t store them in plastic bags as they accumulate moisture. 
A man cleaning his silvers to make them shiny

From now on you can have your beloved silver polished whenever you want without the need of a professional. Just apply these DIY methods with products you keep at your house and restore their shiny bright layer. If you found our guide interesting feel free to check also our complete guide on how to clean a diamond ring!

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