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.

You can see more of my crazy cleaning and organizing hacks here

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!

Place your silver in the boiling water for 10-30 seconds and pull out. It's pretty amazing to watch the tarnish literally disappear!

Baking Soda & Water Paste: Place 1/4 cup baking soda and 1-2 tablespoons of water into a bowl and make a paste.

Use a cloth to rub the mixture onto the sliver. When finished cleaning, rinse off.

Toothpaste Method - For this use regular toothpaste (not gel). I used Crest no flavor regular toothpaste.

Put the toothpaste on a cloth and rub the silver with the toothpaste. Rinse off when finished cleaning.

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.

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.

Vinegar & Baking Soda: Place 1/2 cup vinegar in a bowl with 2 tablespoons baking soda. Let soak for 2-3 hours.

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...

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).

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.

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

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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Frequently asked questions
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  • Bev49420966 Bev49420966 on Sep 20, 2021

    If you do your clarinet -- how do you plan to keep it from tarnishing again? Can you spray it with something like Ultra Cover Satin?

  • Martha Daughtry Martha Daughtry on Sep 21, 2021

    Why not use silver polish? As the owner of several sets of sterling flatware and many sets of vintage silverplate, I would never use anything abrasive like baking soda or a scrub pad on a piece unless it was disposable to me. Also, as mentioned at the end of the post, vinegar on silverplate is not a good idea, but neither is it good for sterling. I always rinse salad forks ASAP because I have experienced the result of salad dressing staying on the silver for too long. I appreciate the willingness to explore all these methods, but in the end silver polish is the best! My favorite and easiest to use is Wrights Silver Cream.

  • Angela Rae Hake Angela Rae Hake on Nov 06, 2023

    I have a Antique Brass Genie Lamp That has Tarnished and I Don't Know What To Clean It With Safely. Can you Please Give Me You're Cleaning Solutions and Thank You 💯

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