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  • Writer's pictureClean Team USA

How to: Clean Silver

Silver utensils are often used for special occasions and with the holidays now behind us, it's the perfect time to polish your silver before they get stored away.

When silver sits for a period of time it tends to tarnish making your beautiful silver pieces look dull and dingy. Although effective, many silver polishes often contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and the health of your family. The following techniques (all using natural ingredients) are both safe for use and effective in cleaning even the most tarnished pieces of silver.

Corn Starch:

  1. Make a paste using corn starch (or cream of tartar) and water.

  2. Using a damp cloth, apply the paste to your tarnished silver and let it dry.

  3. Take a mildly abrasive towel or cheesecloth and gently rub off the dried paste.

  4. Buff using a clean towel.

Aluminum Foil & Vinegar:

  1. Line the base of a skillet with aluminum foil (shiny side facing upward).

  2. Mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 quart of water and bring the mixture to a boil.

  3. Place your silver into the boiling water.

  4. Allow the silver to soak for 5 minutes, then turn the stove off.

  5. Cautiously remove the silver pieces from the hot water and rinse them off.

  6. Wipe and polish using a soft cloth.


  1. Squirt a small amount of ketchup on a paper towel.

  2. Rub gently over your tarnished silver.

  3. For items that are severely tarnished, allow the ketchup to sit on the item for 15 minutes, then wipe it clean using a soft cloth.

  4. For items that are textured, put ketchup on an old toothbrush to get in between crevices and hard to reach places.


  1. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste on a piece of soft cloth and gently rub it onto your silver pieces.

  2. Rinse and wipe dry.

Hand Sanitizer:

  1. Put a few drops of hand sanitizer on a clean cloth.

  2. Rub the cloth on your silver items to remove the tarnish.

  3. Wipe dry.

Lemon-Lime Soda:

  1. Allow your silver items to soak in a lemon-lime soda for one hour.

  2. Rinse clean and wipe dry.

Water, Baking Soda & Aluminum Foil:

  1. Line an aluminum baking dish with foil and place your silver jewelry or utensils inside.

  2. Generously sprinkle baking soda over all the silver pieces.

  3. Boil water and pour it over top of the pieces, allowing it to soak for 15 minutes.

  4. Watch as the tarnish transfers from the silver to the aluminum foil.

  5. Rinse and wipe dry.

Baking Soda & Water:

  1. Mix baking soda and water in a 1 to 1 mixture to make a paste.

  2. Apply the paste to silver using a cloth and rub gently.

  3. Rinse clean and buff dry.

Rubbing Alcohol:

  1. In a bowl, combine 1 part rubbing alcohol with 4 parts water.

  2. Dip a soft cloth in the mixture and rub it over your silver.

  3. Wipe dry using a clean cloth.

How to prevent silver from tarnishing:

  1. Store your silver items in anti-tarnishing bags

  2. Wrap your silver in acid-free tissue paper and then place in a ziplock bag.

  3. Keep your silver away from rubber items as overtime rubber corrodes silver.

Although some of these cleaning techniques are considered non-traditional, they are healthier alternatives to the harsh chemicals commonly used to clean silver items and can be easily found in most homes.

How do you take care of your silver? Leave us a comment below!

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