The Simplest Way To Clean Silver Naturally

by N'Ckyola
3 Materials
20 Minutes

I never liked cleaning silver because I have flashbacks of Grandmother buying every expensive (and stincky) formula & cloth combo known to man that was “GUARANTEED to quickly & easily clean the tarnish from your silver”. (Narrated in my best "as seen on TV" voice!)

But now that I have inherited some of her (& my) favorite pieces, I had to figure out a good way to clean them quickly & naturally without buying those specialty cleansers.

Below are 2 ways to do that using items you likely already have around your home! Total cost = $0!!

The toothpaste method

This method works really well. You just need

  • a tube of non-gel toothpaste – I used Colgate Baking Soda & Peroxide Whitening because that’s what we have.
  • a few paper towels
  • water
  • a soft rag

Squeeze the toothpaste directly onto a paper towel & rub onto the surface of the silver. There should be a layer of toothpaste on the silver; let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes.

To test a small section, grab a new damp paper towel, & rub a small section of the toothpaste into the silver in a circular motion. Get another dry paper towel & wipe away the area to see how much tarnish has come off & whether you need to leave the toothpaste on longer.

If you need to leave it on longer, do it in 5 minute increments just to be safe. I’ve left it on for up to an hour without any problems.

Once you are satisfied with your spot test, go ahead & polish up the rest of your silver piece.

An even easier way!

Yep, the toothpaste method works but it's not the easiest or the quickest method. It's not even the most natural.

THIS is!

This is my preferred lazy girl method. The longest part is waiting for the water to boil. The hardest part is making sure the water doesn’t overflow.

All you need is

  • a pot large enough for whatever piece you are cleaning. The kitchen sink works too but I don't prefer it. Find out why here.
  • aluminum foil
  • a few paper towels
  • water
  • baking soda
  • a soft rag
  1. Put enough aluminum foil cover the bottom & at least 2 sides of the pot.
  2. Fill the pot with water & bring it to a boil. Leave a few inches at the top so it doesn’t boil over. This will be really important in the next steps
  3. After the water boils, turn it off & add a handful of baking soda to the bottom. The water will bubble up quite a bit so do this slowly.
  4. Then put your silver piece(s) into the pot as far down as you can & add another handful of baking soda on top or around it (if it’s not fully immersed).
  5. There is no “TEST” in this method. You can actually see the magic happening - if you look closely at this photo you can see the submerged half of the teapot already coming clean!
  6. If the silver you are cleaning is too big to fit in the pot, flip it over & repeat the process for the other half.
  7. When it’s all done, use an oven mitt or tongs to take it out of the pot & rinse under warm water.
  8. Take a soft cloth – I used an old towel/rag – and rub the piece dry like you are shining shoes or polishing a car.

Here is the result of using the baking soda method to clean silver! It's absolutely amazing to watch it in action.

Now sit back & admire your beautiful shiny silver.

Tip: if you end up with a spot or 2 that didn’t come out as you like, spot clean with  the toothpaste method.

Suggested materials:
  • Baking soda
  • Foil
  • Large Pot
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Gail Gail on Jul 17, 2020

    What about in a barn with cows?

  • LORRAINE LORRAINE on Jul 17, 2020

    Does this method work for copper as well?

  • Betty French Betty French on Mar 23, 2021

    Do you know if this method will remove any of the silver plating?

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Spa53014723 Spa53014723 on Sep 21, 2021

    Will this work if I use a big plastic storage tote? I have really large serving platters

  • N'Ckyola N'Ckyola on Sep 21, 2021

    Hmmm, well hot water is key for the baking soda method so I'm not sure the plastic would hold up to that.

    Otherwise you could also try Bon Ami. It is all natural, safe & effective. Best of all, it's super quick!