Easy Way to Clean Silver Heirlooms


Here is an easy way to clean pieces, sterling and/or plate silver with a large pot of hot hot water and baking soda! Full tutorial, credits and additional resources are in link at bottom. As with any cleaning technique, test this process on a small piece.

I started with a sterling silver pitcher. My thought was go big or go home. It was covered with decades of tarnish.
easy way to clean sterling silver heirlooms
easy way to clean sterling silver heirlooms, cleaning tips
First take a large pot of water on a slow simmer setting. Add approximately 1/4 cup baking soda . Some tutorials suggest adding a little salt.
easy way to clean sterling silver heirlooms, cleaning tips
Add small sheets of aluminum foil to the water. Once water is simmering, turn off heat. I made the mistake of shaping the foil into a ball which caused the aluminum to rise to the water' surface. I needed the foil to get to the crevices with high concentrations of tarnish. Place sheets along the sides of the pot worked for me. Here's the foil after I removed the sterling pitcher
easy way to clean sterling silver heirlooms, cleaning tips
This is a few minutes later. I repeated the process and weighted the pitcher with a tea kettle. As you can see the full submerged bottom of the pitcher got the best results.
easy way to clean sterling silver heirlooms, cleaning tips
Full tutorial and credit to where I first found the idea is included on blog. I also included a tutorial that includes salt.
easy way to clean sterling silver heirlooms
Thank you! Laura

Suggested materials:

  • Baking soda, aluminum foil
Everyday Edits

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 34 questions
  • Kathryn
    on May 23, 2017

    how would this work on plated silver?

  • K.
    on May 24, 2017

    Love this piece, where did you get it?

  • Cam12496131
    on May 27, 2017

    "What method would one use to clean brass - very discolored

    • WendySue
      on Jul 2, 2017

      I love this tip Kym! Jet Dry or any "blue or yellow" ones is a surfactant and is used in commercial laundry soap, etc. It makes things kind of "un-glue" to surfaces and makes things smooth....like in hair shampoos too. I'm going to try it on my utensils....like the spoons always have spots on them.
      Thanks again!

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