Asked on Feb 20, 2014

Help polishing silver!!!

Lea Grossman
by Lea Grossman
I've searched on Hometalk about the best/easiest way to polish silver. I have a set of candlesticks, and plate to hold them from the 1920s (whoa that's old!).
I've seen all the suggestions-- silver polish, toothpaste and toothbrush, aluminum foil and baking soda...
I tried the silver polish and toothpaste, and they both WORK, but it is taking forever!
I tried the aluminum foil with baking soda and boiling water in the sink, and for some reason it didn't work! Am I doing something wrong?
Does anyone have any other ideas?
q help polishing silver, cleaning tips, This plate is in bad shape
This plate is in bad shape!
  18 answers
  • Aron Garfinkel Aron Garfinkel on Feb 20, 2014
    Try baking soda and vinegar.

  • Marcy Marcy on Feb 20, 2014
    Basically, if you want to polish silver properly, there just isn't a good shortcut! Silver polish and a few rags... and it will last a good 6 months without needing another polish. If you store the silver is an air tight cabinet or closet, it will tarnish even less.

    • Bmo271386 Bmo271386 on Feb 20, 2014
      @Marcy I also heard that if you put a piece of chalk in with it, the chalk will absorb the moisture and cut down on the tarnish

  • Tabby Tabby on Feb 20, 2014
    I've heard the baking soda and tin foil method actually removes the tarnish but removes a thin layer of your silver too. I would never use it on antique or valuable silver, and it removes any black oxidation that some designs WANT to keep. After I get mine polished with a rag and silver polish, I wrap it tightly with plastic wrap to remove and keep air away from it. That works but obviously you can't display it that way. They also make anti-tarnish fabric to store it in; you can buy yardage in fabric stores and sew your own little wrappers, or buy them pre-made in better housewares stores.

  • Tina C Tina C on Feb 20, 2014
    I usually dip my stuff in windex... that might be bad but it is quick!

  • Abbie Abbie on Feb 20, 2014
    I would not use toothpaste to polish silver, it has abrasive qualities that can put fine scratches in your silver. For the same reason you shouldn't use it on your jewelry either. I'm a jewelers daughter and my father carries silver and silver plate in his store. Let me tell you it was not a fun time when the silver needed to be polished! :) But Marcy is right there just really isn't a quick way to do it if you want to do it right. There are some silver dip products on the market that make it easier to get into the grooves of a more ornate piece though. you just dip the piece into it and presto the tarnish is gone. However, you shouldn't exclusively use the dip because it is hard on the silver. Hagerty was the brand that we always used at the store when I worked there. I've never tried it but I have heard that if you put a piece of chalk in the place where you store the silver it will keep it from tarnishing as quickly. Otherwise there are silver protection strips that you can buy to put where you store them to retard the tarnishing process.

  • Val Val on Feb 20, 2014
    Hi Roz Not sure if you can still buy it, but ask at a jewellery store if they have Jeweller's Rouge in a container. I know it's still available in a polishing cloth because I buy mine regularly at People's or Birke's. It works beautifully on my silver jewellery and brings up an amazing shine! Also, I have read that if you store it with a piece of chalk it helps keep the silver from tarnishing. Hope this helps! Val

  • Dee Dee on Feb 20, 2014
    I had good luck with baking soda and a tooth brush. But it was on candle holders i got at a garage sale. I would not use it on silver that i got from my mother in law. Good luck to you.

  • Robin H Robin H on Feb 20, 2014
    I found a DIY silver polishing dip that seems pretty easy here:

  • Karen McLendon Karen McLendon on Feb 21, 2014
    I make wind chimes out of old silverplate which means I spend alot of my time cleaning silverplate. If the item is small enough you can use your biggest pot...fill 3/4 with water, add a sheet(about 12 inches square..not exact) of heavy duty aluminum foil and let get to a rolling boil...add 1/2 cup baking soda(keep back because it will foam up) and 1/4 cup salt. Let soak a couple of minutes and wash off with water in sink. The problem I find with any method is that the person has not properly removed whatever they used to clean the silverplate. The second method is my secret...90% rubbing alcohol and an ultra fine sanding can find these on ebay or online...dip pad in alcohol and gently rub off what is is messy so have wipe rags near by...when you finish wipe off with rag then run water over careful using silverplate cleaner bought at the will eat at your fingers and cause problems for you if not used properly...

  • Rebecca Rebecca on Feb 21, 2014
    I use just a soft cloth and baking soda (dampening the cloth of course). :) Worked like a charm!

  • Nancy Nancy on Feb 21, 2014
    First off, wash thoroughly in warm soapy water. Rinse with hot water and dry immediately. Use Wright's Silver Cream, it's been around since 1873, follow the directions. Never dip, especially plated silver, over time it will ruin it. It may already be warn away and that's why it's not polishing. If you are not eating off of it, use silver spray paint. I found a piece at the thrift store and did just that, looks very nice and no more polishing.

  • N. Susan Hart N. Susan Hart on Feb 21, 2014
    Wright's or another polish for silver is the only thing I would use.

  • Sandra Hellewell Sandra Hellewell on Feb 21, 2014
    My husband works at an Antique Mall & all the vendors there use a product called "Never Dull" Magic Wadding Polish! It's non-toxic and made by The George Basch Co. Inc. in Freeport NY. Give it a try! We love it!

  • Linda Stone Linda Stone on Feb 21, 2014
    No new advice, just to address comments about tooth paste on the silver. I have used the gel type toothpaste, not the abrasive, and used it on things like candle holders, but nothing huge. It works great and does not scratch. I probably would not use it on a piece that was of great value. Silver is a pain to keep looking good.

  • Sandra Hellewell Sandra Hellewell on Feb 25, 2014
    So just wondering Linda, have you tried Never Dull or are you just looking for a magic bullet where there's no work involved? My jeweller always told me to soak my sterling silver jewellery in Mr. Clean for an hour and then rinse in hot water and buff with a clean dry soft cloth. It works well on my jewellery but I've never tried it on silver plates!

  • Swan Road Designs Swan Road Designs on Feb 27, 2015
    NEVR-DULL is pretty good stuff but the best product I have ever found to clean my silver, and I have a LOT of it is Maas Metal Polish. I'd never heard about it until a friend who owned an ultra-upper end jewelry store told me about it. He polished all the store and customers' silver with it. He had a silver-polishing service for his clientele. I will never ever be without a canister of Maas again. I don't bother buying the tube container. I just go straight to the nice, big can of the stuff. Works like a charm and has made some of my ugliest, most hopeless (at least I thought) pieces look like new. It's also some of the easiest silver cleaner I have ever used.

  • Wendy Erdheim Wendy Erdheim on Jun 08, 2016
    Hometalk just put out an amazing video about this! If you use baking soda aluminum foil and boiling water and just dip the platter into the pot, looks brand new.

  • Gloria DiBenedetto Gloria DiBenedetto on Aug 29, 2016
    I have several older silver plate pieces, and my silverware is National Silverplate King Edward, so I do a lot of tarnish removal. I have discovered that "Tarn-X" is the quickest and most fool proof, but expensive. I also use the method where you use an old aluminum disposable turkey roaster put in your pieces, then sprinkle a LOT of baking soda and a LOT of salt over them, and lastly, pour HOT!!! BOILING water over the salt and soda. Let it soak for a bit to cool, then rinse and polish with a soft cloth....I do this mostly with the silverware, but it works with my tea pot set too.