Cleaning Silver

Cleaning Silver, Silver tea pot with an antique Chinese tea cup and saucer.
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 page about cleaning silver.

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September 14, 2011

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

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April 1, 2011

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 jay jay from Australia

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January 8, 2007

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!

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September 9, 2008

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.

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February 14, 2008

Would anyone out there have the recipe for silver cleaner using the tin foil method?


February 14, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

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".

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By Nolasandy (Guest Post)
February 15, 20082 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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January 29, 2012

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


January 29, 20121 found this helpful
Best Answer

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

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?



September 16, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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July 10, 2015

What is the best way to clean?


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
October 28, 20171 found this helpful

Here is the fastest way to do this:


Old sauce pan
Aluminum foil
1 1/2 cups baking soda
2 Tablespoons salt

  1. Fill the saucepan with water, baking soda, salt and a piece of aluminum foil. You can actually line the bottom of the saucepan with the foil.
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  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Remove from stove.
  5. Now use some tongs and hold the silverware. Dip this in the water mixture.
  6. Only hold it in there for a second and remove the piece.
  7. Check to see if all the fire and tarnish has been removed.
  8. You can dip it again.
  9. Let dry, and polish as usual.
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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
October 28, 20171 found this helpful

Use water, a soft sponge and liquid dishwashing detergent

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December 6, 2014

I have a lot of silver pieces from my family. I've read here before about cleaning silverware, but don't remember anything about cleaning the larger pieces. Could someone help me with this one? The thought of cleaning them, by hand, piece by piece, is overwhelming. Also, how best to store them afterwards? Right now I have them wrapped in cloth and then in heavy plastic, which seems to do OK. Thanks.

By mm


January 15, 20190 found this helpful

Fill your sink up with half distilled vinegar and half water. Make sure it's enough to have your silver pieces completely covered let them sit in there for about an hour or less depending on how bad they are.then take them out Rinse them off and whip them down and they should look brand new

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
January 16, 20190 found this helpful

It is advised to use polish for silver. Other things can corrode and pit it. I returned and gave away any silver and silver plated items I received when I married for the reason that I hate polishing it.

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October 23, 2010

What can I use for a natural silver cleaner?

By Lisa


October 27, 20101 found this helpful

Yes! Four TBL salt, some aluminum foil and four TBL baking soda in a pot. Bring to boil, put silver in and wait. When clean, take out and buff. For larger pieces of silver, double or triple the recipe : )

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
October 27, 20101 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 6, 2014

How do you remove lacquer from silver and silver plate?

By Hilda

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March 18, 2013

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


April 17, 20131 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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December 4, 2012

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


December 10, 20120 found this helpful

I think the foil/salt/soda method is used for silver plate. You might have to resort to Goddards silver polish for sterling silver.

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June 8, 2013

Heart shaped silver bowl and lid with a dark line from rubber band.I have a silver heartshaped bowl with lid. I put a rubberband around the bowl to keep the lid on. Now there is a mark on the lid and base. What suggestions do you have to remove the rubberband mark?

By Sylvia K.

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July 20, 2012

What is best way to clean silver and silverplate?

By Connie N.

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