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How to Polish and Clean Silver - Fast and Easy Ways

June 30, 2020

Whether you know it or not, silver is one of the most common elements found in your home.

From kitchen cutlery to flower vases to your precious jewelry, there’s always a piece of this sleek and shiny metal lying around somewhere.

But just as silver is an all-too-common presence in any house, so are the appearances of tarnishing and blackening on the material. This happens when silver and sulphur in the air interact, leading to a chemical reaction that causes the discoloration.

But fortunately, this is something that can also be fixed with the help of basic home cleaning products and DIY cleaning recipes.

In this article, we will take you through the many fast and easy ways to clean and polish your prized silver.

How to Clean Silver at Home: 11 Fast and Easy Ways

dirty silver with flower vase on top

1. Aluminum foil and laundry detergent

This combination is a great way to clean silver and solve the problem of slightly tarnished silverware or jewelry.

Simply get a clean bowl and line it with an aluminum foil and fill it with hot water. Afterwards, add a tablespoon of your liquid laundry detergent and stir the mixture well. Make sure the detergent has been fully dissolved into the water before moving on to the next step.

Place all of your silver items in the bowl and let them soak for a minute or two (depending on the amount of tarnishing present on the surface).

Once done, take out the silver items using kitchen tongs or by hand. If you’re taking them out using the latter, make sure to wear a rubber glove to protect your skin from any reaction from the mixture.

Rinse everything with clean water and let them dry thoroughly. Wipe them using a clean cloth afterwards.

2. Aluminum foil and baking soda

If you’re dealing with multiple silverware such as cutlery, vases or other table accents, then this cleaning combination is for you.

To begin, get a large and empty ceramic or glass baking pan and line it with aluminum foil. Avoid using a metal baking pan as it can cause a chemical reaction and complicate the issue further.

Simply fill the container with water and add a few pinches of baking soda powder. For good measure, you will be needing around 1 and ½ tablespoons for every gallon of water.

Boil the mixture and put the tarnished silver items inside for about 15 seconds. Use kitchen tongs to take out the items and let them dry on a clean surface afterwards.

3. Cornflour and water

For silver items that have lost their luster and original metallic shine, try using cornflour as a main cleaning ingredient.

Simply create a thick paste of cornflour and water and apply it onto every surface of the item. Once it has dried off, rub it with a towel to bring out the shine.

If you don’t have cornflour, you can use cream of tartar as an alternative.

4. Ketchup

While the idea of using ketchup to clean your silver seems totally out of this world (believe us, you’re not alone), this cleaning method is actually effective for bringing out additional shine and sparkle.

Simply squeeze a few drops of ketchup on a cup or paper towel and gently rub it onto the item’s tarnished surface.

Afterwards, make sure to rinse it well with water and clean it using a microfiber cloth.

5. Hand sanitizer

Apart from keeping you dirt- and germ-free, hand sanitizers are also a great way to clean and polish your silver items without bringing them any damage.

So how to polish silver? Simply rub a small amount of the gel onto the tarnished surface and wipe it using a soft microfiber cloth.


To clean silver, squeeze a small amount of toothpaste on a clean and soft cloth. Gently apply it onto the silver jewelry or cutlery by rubbing the paste in a circular motion. Leave it for a few minutes and then rinse everything off with water afterwards.

7. Lemon and lime soda

Best for slightly tarnished items, use a bowl filled with lemon or lime juice and soda. Let the items soak in the mixture for at least an hour. Afterwards, rinse everything thoroughly with water.

8. Window cleaning detergent

Spray a little amount of any window cleaning solution on a tarnished silver and gently scrub it using a soft brush. This method is particularly helpful in bringing back the original shine of tarnished items.

9. Ammonia and water

Using 1 part clear ammonia and 2 parts of warm water, create a cleaning mixture in a plastic bowl. Place all your silver items and let them soak for at least 10 minutes.

Afterwards, wipe them using a clean and soft cloth to eliminate the mixture altogether.

10. White distilled vinegar and baking soda

Dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda powder into a cup of vinegar. Let the items soak in the mixture for one hour and rinse them with clean water afterwards. While this is a great way to clean and polish silver items, this method is not for silver antique items.

11. Baking soda and water

Dealing with a tarnished silver jewelry? Prepare a thick paste of baking soda powder and mix it into a bowl filled with lukewarm water. Apply the paste onto the tarnished spots using a soft and dampened cloth. Afterwards, leave the items to dry for 2 to 3 minutes. How to polish the silver? Use a microfiber cloth.

How to Prevent Silver from Tarnishing

wiping silver utensils

While cleaning your silver jewelry is relatively easy, you should still pull out all the stops to prevent them from losing their shine and sparkle. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Store your silver jewelry in a special anti-tarnish bag with a piece of chalk and leave them in a cool and dry spot
  • Practice putting on your silver jewelry after putting on perfume and not before
  • Use your silver regularly to slow down tarnishing and promote additional shine
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