Silver is a lovely, elegant looking metal used to make a wide variety of decorative and utilitarian items. Whether you own a treasured family silver tea service or a new punch bowl, you will want to keep your silver bright and shiny. However, over time and with usage silver will tarnish. This is a guide about cleaning silver.
It is always a good idea to wipe your silver off as soon as you are finished with it. For instance, my silver omega chain gets wiped after every use. The oils on your fingers and skin cause silver to tarnish.
Here is a tip my mom gave me for removing that tarnish, if you forgot or just got too busy. Ideas for things that can be cleaned this way are: silverware, plates, things that are put away for holidays, literally anything silver or sterling, including jewelry.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil in a bowl, spreading and molding it to the bowl. Sprinkle the foil with salt and baking soda, then fill with warm water. Take any tarnished silver or "sterling" items and soak them in the water.
As the item soaks the tarnish will migrate to the foil. It is almost like magic. Take out of the water, rinse, and buff with soft cloth.
To think how much time and money everyone will save is exciting, but the first time you see this happen is priceless. Enjoy your clean silver.
Source: My mom, Luana McD.
Use toothpaste (not the gel) to clean and polish silver. Put some on a clean rag and cover the area you want to polish with toothpaste. When dry, buff with soft, clean rag. It will shine just as well as if you have used silver polish, and its so much cheaper.
Another way to use toothpaste is to remove grass stains from clothes. Put some on the stained area and scrub with an old toothbrush. Rinse with water, launder as usual. Both tips work really well, they are cheap and done without a lot of work!
By dwedenoja from New Creek, WV
I am looking for home remedies for cleaning silver plated items.
By Carolyn from Albemarle, NC
I have one of those electrolitic cleaners sold on television some years ago.The instructions call for "washing soda" not baking soda.You can achieve the same results with some aluminum foil, very hot water and Arm and Hammer washing soda. You can find the washing soda in the laundry product section in your grocery store.
I have used barbecue sauce. Just rub it in the silver and rinse off. Works amazingly well!
My two favourite methods:
Make a paste of lemon juice and table salt. Use a soft cloth to dip into the paste and rub on the silver. this works best if you're maintaining the shine.
If you have a lot of tarnish, I like Tarnex. It stinks like crazy when it contacts the tarnish (a bit like rotten eggs), but it's tolerable and it works fast and easily. I keep a bottle handy as well as always having lemons and salt available.
I learned this because I have several silver goblets that are used regularly.
Would anyone out there have the recipe for silver cleaner using the tin foil method?
I've cleaned old silverplated forks (to use in crafting) by lining a cake pan with a big sheet of aluminum foil, liberally sprinkling on baking soda, and pouring boiling water over it to cover, then let it sit awhile until the water cools enough to remove the items. Takes some tarnish off, but you still have to buff it all with a soft cloth to get it really shiny. Replace the foil to do more, as it darkens and stops removing tarnish. Though it works somewhat, I'd not really want to use this method for "good silver".
This came out of the Times-Picayune of New Orleans: In a large glass baking dish, put in foil, shiny side up. Add one tablespoon salt and one tablespoon of baking soda. Add enough boiling water to cover. Tarnish will drop off of silver pieces. Remove silver and buff.
To clean silver, pour hot water into a mug and add 3 Tbsp. salt (to make an electrolite) and some aluminum foil. Leave items in this to soak a few minutes. Take them out and rinse with clean water, then polish with a clean soft cloth. Hey presto, clean silver!
By jayfeather from Australia
Where can I get a reliable cleaner that will not etch/damage the original surface? Or how can I make a safe cleaner?
I have used the salt and baking soda cleaning method for cleaning silver. However, many pieces were so tarnished and old that they have what looks like a tarnish stain. I have used commercial products to no avail. Does anyone know something I can try?
Sadly, it could be that it is not residual tarnish, but just the silver plating wearing off. Unless you know for sure that you have pure silver, you may want to take one of the pieces into a jeweler's and ask their advice, so you don't ruin the pieces. (Even if they are pure silver, you may want to take one in to ask how to get it clean.)
Bring up the shine on silver by rubbing with a piece of rhubarb.
I was going out on the town and wanted to wear my sterling silver necklace. I noticed it had tarnished. I did not want to get out a rag and silver polish. I recalled that when we visited Mexico, the silver jewelry shop owners all sat around all day, polishing their silver jewelry with lipstick! SO, I grabbed the tube of lipstick I was going to wear, put some on a tissue and proceeded to polish my necklace, removing the tarnish with the lipstick! It worked like a charm!
By Sharon from Southern Illinois
What is a homemade way to polish a silver dish?
By Holly from Lancaster, WI
Toothpaste (not gel toothpaste) and you can find it on the cheap at a dollar store ;-) I have an antique ornate solid silver butter dish my grama gave me as a gift for high school graduation almost 40 years ago and that's what I use. Apply the toothpaste on cotton balls and gently rub in a circular motion with the balls. Then a quick dish soap wash and water rinse and a thorough dry :-)
Is there an easy or homemade way to clean silver and where do you suggest to sell for the most honest price? I have sold at jewelry stores in past, but that was over 15 years ago.
I did not beleive anything less than old fashioned muscle and scrubbing would ever work, But like all of us, I hoped! So when I tried this, I had little expectations. I was pleasantly surprised at the results. All you do is line your sink with aluminum foil, add to that 1/2 cup of table salt, 1/2 cup of baking soda, and a gallon of VERY hot or even boiling water and submerge your silver!
Now wait...in 20 minutes or so (when the water is cool enough to reach in and retrieve your treasures) you will be amazed! For the reallly really oxidized silver I use a product called "eagle One" also sold under the name "Never Dull" ( a lot of military folks will know this one, as it woks on medals, brass, etc, etc) It's 3.89 in your automotive dept at wal-mart! What a steal!..( use gloves, as it will smear fresh nail polish!)
What can I use for a natural silver cleaner?
Toothpaste (not the gel kind) is what I use and you can buy it on the cheap at the dollar store. ;-) Just dab it on with a cotton ball or soft cloth and gently rub in circular motions, wipe off and rinse and you're done. :-)
I have a collection of sterling silver napkin rings, which are almost all 100 plus years old. Most have intricate designs in the Art Nouveau style. I have used the aluminum foil/baking soda and salt in hot water method. However, I now have a cloudy white residue left in the creases and indentations of the Repousse Nouveau designs.
How do I get this off without scratching the silver?
By Barbara A
How do I clean silverware? I am trying to polish it. You can mix something with Arm and Hammer cleaning soda. What is it? Thank you.
By Brenda from Orangeburg, SC
All you need is some toothpaste (not the gel kind) that you can get on the cheap at the dollar store. ;-)
This is a great tip on how to keep your silver polished. While visiting the "Juliette Gordon Low" historical mansion in Savannah last month, we found out how they keep all the silver (lots and lots!) looking so beautiful.
What's the best effective way to clean old silver pieces?
John from Chicago, IL
Thanks, I just cleaned my ring I haven't worn in ages. It was really dirty and smelled horrid; I cleaned it with Aquafresh toothpaste and a toothbrush. It has a nice shine to it now and has that fresh breath smell. :D (02/11/2009)
I need instructions for cleaning two sterling silver rings with baking soda.
By Shortie from Reno, NV
Toothpaste, not gel, works great. Just rub some on with your finger than wipe it off with a cloth. (09/18/2010)
What is the best natural way of cleaning a silver tray?
Sheila from Ontario
Make a paste of baking soda to use in cleaning your silver. This idea is by the Queen of Clean on BBC.
Best of luck. (04/16/2008)
By Carol in PA
I have heard toothpaste works wonders!
It really works. Use a little and then buff with a soft cloth.
I found the toothpaste idea worked great. Thank you to Monique. I tried the baking soda, it did take off a bit of tarnish, but the toothpaste worked better.
I'm new to this site and wanted to respond. Get a large container that will hold the tray. Use your sink if the tray is too large. Put 1 sheet of aluminum foil, 1 Tbsp salt, and 1 Tbsp baking soda into the container. Fill with warm water and then add your tray. Wait an hour and then wipe the tray with a soft cloth.
Only use glass or plastic bowls to do this. The tarnish can adhere to a metal bowl. If you smell rotten eggs, ventilate the room. If the foil gets dark, replace it with new foil. (04/21/2008)
Use baking soda, salt, and aluminum foil or an aluminum container. Find an aluminum dishpan or container to hold the silver pieces. (Alternately, place a square of aluminum foil in the bottom of the container.) Place silver to be cleaned in a the container and cover with water.
For each quart of water used, add approx. 1 TBSP of baking soda and 1 TBSP salt.
Allow silver to soak. (Silver will brighten and aluminum will darken.)
Try a cleaner called Universal Stone from Germany. The stuff works fantastically! It's non-toxic and made from all food-grade ingredients. It works on brass and copper, too. I bought it online. (10/05/2008)
Instead of spending money on silver polish, just follow the following instructions: In a stainless steel sink, add 1/2 of a cup of baking soda to 1 gallon of water, dip silver in water and wipe with a sponge to remove tarnish. I use this all the time and it's wonderful.
By Esther from Baltimore , MD
Will this tip work in a porcelain sink? I would like to use baking soda and water. (01/24/2008)
Use tinfoil in the bottom of a porcelain sink. It works perfectly. (12/28/2008)
Years ago I was lured into buying one of those "but wait" products that miraculously cleaned tarnished silver. I had mediocre results and had to buy a certain detergent and something else to mix with it.
What is the best way to clean silver without chemicals?
I am searching for a homemade recipe for cleaning silver that uses tin foil, baking soda and boiling water. Any help would be most appreciated!
I have a lot of silver pieces I'd like to clean up and use. What can I use from here in my home to clean them? I just don't know?