Silver Cleaning Hacks

8 Materials
30 Minutes

I have an heirloom that is silver and I have been wanting to clean it up. I decided to try a bunch of silver cleaning hacks to see what would work best to clean it. I started with some silverware that I had to do the test runs.

silver cleaning hacks
Let's start with the top 3 winners!

Boiling method: In a pot place a large piece of tin foil in the bottom, fill with 4 cups of water, and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Bring to a boil.
Place your silver in the boiling water for 10-30 seconds and pull out. It's pretty amazing to watch the tarnish literally disappear!
silver cleaning hacks
Place your silver in the boiling water for 10-30 seconds and pull out. It's pretty amazing to watch the tarnish literally disappear!
silver cleaning hacks
Baking Soda & Water Paste: Place 1/4 cup baking soda and 1-2 tablespoons of water into a bowl and make a paste.
silver cleaning hacks
Use a cloth to rub the mixture onto the sliver. When finished cleaning, rinse off.
silver cleaning hacks
Toothpaste Method - For this use regular toothpaste (not gel). I used Crest no flavor regular toothpaste.
silver cleaning hacks
Put the toothpaste on a cloth and rub the silver with the toothpaste. Rinse off when finished cleaning.
silver cleaning hacks
Honorable Mentions: these technique worked but not quite as well as the above or took a little longer or more effort than I wanted.

Water & Ammonia: Place 1 cup warm water in a bowl. Add 1/2 c. Ammonia, stir and place the silver in the bowl.
silver cleaning hacks
Let soak for 10 minutes. When finished use a cloth to wipe clean and rinse off. I found it didn't completely come clean but it did make a difference.
silver cleaning hacks
Vinegar & Baking Soda: Place 1/2 cup vinegar in a bowl with 2 tablespoons baking soda. Let soak for 2-3 hours.
silver cleaning hacks
Let soak for 2-3 hours, rinse and dry off. I found that I needed to use a scrub pad and still scrub at it after it soaked. I was digging into the baking soda to do the scrubbing. So it worked but why not just use the baking soda technique from above...
silver cleaning hacks
Lemon Juice, Water, & Powdered Milk: In a dish place 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1/2 cup instant powdered milk and mix. It literally turns sour and looks gross (just a heads up).
silver cleaning hacks
Let this soak overnight. The next day take a cloth and wipe clean. Once it's clean rinse it off. This method worked pretty well and surprised me. I just don't know if I want to wait a whole day for everything to get cleaned.
silver cleaning hacks
What didn't work???
  • Soaking in lemon lime soda for 1 hour
  • Cleaning with hand sanitizer - although if your looking to remove fingerprints and such this worked great for that and gave it a nice shine.

Special notes - to stop the tarnish from coming back with regards to small items and silverware - place in a ziploc baggie and squeeze as much air out as possible. It's the air that causes the tarnish to come back.

For Silver plated items - stay away from acid cleaners like vinegar and lemon juice. It could harm the plating.
Here is my heirloom that I'm going to clean up and turn into a lamp... coming soon

silver cleaning hacks
Here is my heirloom that I'm going to clean up and turn into a lamp... coming soon (don't worry we have checked that it isn't worth anything, and beyond repair).

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • In your first method - how many pieces can you clean before having to change it water?

    • Alix
      on Dec 23, 2018

      Or the tin foil gets black. I've been using this method for decades.

  • Jan
    on Dec 23, 2018

    For the tin foil method, do you put the shiney side up.


    • Sjt29229935
      on Jan 9, 2019

      I wondered if it made a difference, shiny or dull, in or out, when cooking with foil so went directly to the source. I called Reynolds and they said it makes no difference which way you use it when cooking or baking. So, the debate shiny or dull has been expertly resolved. I have a feeling the same will apply for the silver. The pressure of indecision is off. Now, if we could say the same for the toilet paper roll.

  • NancyMaria
    on Dec 23, 2018

    Which method removes the least amount of silver?

Join the conversation

3 of 43 comments
  • Cocoatmidnight
    on Dec 31, 2018

    A sure fire cleaner is aluminium foil placed in hot water with Arm and Hammer washing soda. That is correct, not baking soda but washing soda found

    in the laundry detergent aisle of your grocery store. Let soak 5 to 10 minutes then rinse and dry. Works on silverware, all jewelry and other silver items.

  • Sheila Bergeaux
    on Feb 1, 2019

    When I clean my jewelry and it is dry I store it in Tupperware

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