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How to Clean & Polish Silver Items

Knowing how to clean silver is crucial. It helps maintain the luster appearance and maintain their attractiveness and value. Regardless of where they are used, silver bring a burnished glow. However, just like all other metals, they get dull and tarnished over time.

Cleaning silver can feel like a big problem if you don’t know how to go about it. Thanks to this article, you will get tips on how to remove tarnish from sterling silver jewelry, silverware, or any other household piece you may have.

Washing a silver piece requires unique and sometimes surprising materials and processes. All that you need is the right ingredients. Read on to learn the ultimate cleaning processes for your cutlery, candlesticks, decorative pieces, dishware, and much more.

Do you have stainless steel jewelry? Check this article out to learn how to clean it!

We also have an article on How to Clean & Polish Brass Items! 

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How Do You Clean Silver? 

We know that your silver item is precious. Cleaning them demands extra care and smooth handling. Whether you’re looking to tend to valuable silver jewelry, silver cutlery, a silver plate, or otherwise, there is a number of ways to ensure they are back to their original glean!

Microfiber Cloth Cleaning

For this silver cleaning method, you will need the following items:

  • a microfiber cloth
  • warm water
  • baking soda/mild dish soap

Multicolored microfiber towels stacked on a white wooden table.

 For Mildly Tarnished Silver Items

Use a mild soap for silver that‘s dull but not yet tarnished. If it has a heavier tarnish, baking soda comes in handy.

  1. Mix a few drops of mild dish soap with water. Dip in a soft cloth and rub smoothly.
  2. Using the soft microfiber cloth, wipe the surface of your silver object thoroughly to achieve a bright shine. To make the process easier, soak the silver material in the mixture for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Once the dull surface disappears, rinse the silver in clean water and dry with a clean cloth.

*Avoid using a paper towel as it can easily scratch the silver.

Woman hand cleaning and polishing the spoons.

For Heavily Tarnished Silver Items

  1. Mix three parts of baking soda with one part of water until you get a smooth paste.
  2. Using the microfiber cloth, apply the paste and rub thoroughly, turning the cloth as it gets grey.
  3. When the tarnish is gone, rinse the silver and buff it dry.

Baking Soda Submersion

If you’re looking to regain a shine on some smaller silver items, this method is super quick and easy and yields really wonderful results. You will need:

  • baking soda
  • a small square of aluminum foil
  • a pot to boil water
  1. Fill a pot with water (enough so that your items are completely submerged) and add a small square of folded aluminum foil, bring it to a boil
  2. Once boiled, add a teaspoon of baking soda
  3. Add your silver items, and boil them in the water for 5 minutes
  4. Carefully remove items from the cleaning solution with tongs and dry with a clean microfiber towel

Hands holding a roll of aluminum foil.

And voila! A super easy and effective way to clean your precious silver items.

How Do You Polish Silver?

Polishing Silver

After cleaning your silver, it’s essential to add a good polish. Numerous commercial silver polish products are available in stores and can help produce the ultimate shine.

When polishing, look for products formulated for your applications. Always read the instructions before using any polish product on your silver. And don’t forget to use a polishing cloth or microfiber towel!

Polishing silverware with a cleaning cloth.

Here are some places to purchase silver polish:

Otherwise, here are some ways to polish silver without having to purchase an extra product, as these methods require things that can usually be found around the house!

Polishing With Ketchup

You heard me right! If you want an extra sheen, try cleaning with ketchup! Ketchup is rather high in acidity due to the tomato and vinegar content. The acid helps break down the tarnish on the surface of the silver.

Simply apply ketchup on the tarnished parts and rub gently with a bristle brush or soft microfiber cloth. Or, submerge your small items in a small tub of ketchup and leave it in anywhere from 5-10 minutes.

Ketchup pouring out from its bottle.

Polishing With Toothpaste

Although less of a weird concept than cleaning with a condiment, toothpaste also magically restores the shine on silver materials.

Simply dilute toothpaste with little water to form a thick solution. Using a soft cloth or a toothbrush, and apply the solution to the silver and polish gently.

*Do not use toothpaste on a silver-plated item as it may lead to corrosion.

Cleaning the cutlery with a brush and paste.

How to Prevent Silver From Tarnishing

After cleaning, it’s essential to prevent your silver items from tarnishing again. While you can’t prevent silver entirely from moisture or heat, you can do enough to limit the exposure.

Always store silver in a cool, dry place. You can polish your silver once in a while to create a luster look.

The Bottom Line

There are so many ways to clean silver. With the above cleaning tips, it’s easy to remove any tarnish on the materials. The best thing about cleaning silver is that you can do it with common home ingredients and achieve clean, luster finishes.

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