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Cleaning Silver

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.

Cleaning Silver, Silver tea pot with an antique Chinese tea cup and saucer.
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September 14, 2011 Flag
16 found this helpful

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.

By Mistie


January 12, 2011 Flag

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

March 29, 2010 Flag
5 found this helpful

I am looking for home remedies for cleaning silver plated items.

By Carolyn from Albemarle, NC

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March 31, 20100 found this helpful
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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.

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February 14, 2008 Flag
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Would anyone out there have the recipe for silver cleaner using the tin foil method?

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February 15, 20080 found this helpful
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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.

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April 1, 2011 Flag
5 found this helpful

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.

January 29, 2012 Flag
0 found this helpful

Where can I get a reliable cleaner that will not etch/damage the original surface? Or how can I make a safe cleaner?

By Roi

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January 29, 20120 found this helpful
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Tomato Ketchup! the natural acid from the tomato works in an awesome way and is safe for the environment! Soak the item in the ketchup for a bit, softly rub with tooth brush, rinse and dry. That simple.

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September 15, 2011 Flag
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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?

By Susan

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September 16, 20110 found this helpful
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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.)

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January 8, 2007 Flag

Lipstick As Silver Polish. 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!

March 2, 2010 Flag
3 found this helpful

Bring up the shine on silver by rubbing with a piece of rhubarb.

By Mary

May 11, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

What is a homemade way to polish a silver dish?

By Holly from Lancaster, WI

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Anonymous Flag
May 14, 20100 found this helpful

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 :-)

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March 18, 2013 Flag
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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.

By Kat

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April 17, 20130 found this helpful

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 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!)

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October 23, 2010 Flag
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What can I use for a natural silver cleaner?

By Lisa

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Anonymous Flag
October 27, 20100 found this helpful

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. :-)

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December 4, 2012 Flag
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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.

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