How To Clean Silver and Remove Tarnish Naturally

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In my house and many other houses, silver stuff is either used on special occasions or kept unused in fancy cupboards. Even though they are just used on special occasions, sometimes a blackish coat forms on the surfaces of silverware.

Now silver is a very pretty and precious element, the only problem is that silver reacts with water and air to form tarnish (the black coat on top of old silverware) which diminishes its luster, ultimately reducing its attractiveness.

But you need not worry as this is a reversible reaction. The methods to get your silver’s sheen back are quite simple, so how about you give it a try?

These are a few ways to clean and maintain your silver flawlessly.


1. Using Toothpaste

Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste on a towel or a cotton napkin then rub it on the metal slowly to remove tarnish.

Leave it for 5 to 10 mins and rinse it with cold water.

After this procedure, you will observe that your silver is clean and shiny like new.

Caution: Do not use abrasive and gel toothpaste as it can harm the texture of the silver.   

2. Using Ketchup

Ketchup is the most commonly used tomato sauce all around the world, therefore, it’s simple to find and use. I know it sounds odd, but ketchup can help you remove tarnish and get that amazing shine back—it has many surprising uses!

You can use this method to clean tiny items.

Put a few drops of ketchup on a soft cloth and gently rub it on the tarnished silver. If the tarnish built up is a lot you need to apply ketchup directly on the metal. Keep it for 15 to 20 minutes and rinse it with lukewarm water.

If you are cleaning silverware that is antique or is fragile you should use a soft-bristle toothbrush.

3. Using Hand Sanitizer

As we all know that hand sanitizers protect us against germs but what most of us don’t know is that they can polish silver too.  

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Put a few drops of hand sanitizer on a soft cloth and gently rub it on your jewelry to get rid of the tarnish. Now you can clean your silver ring on the go.

Caution: Do not try it on jewelry with mineral stones, because some of the contents of the hand sanitizer could harm the stone.

4. Using Lime and Soda

Want to improve the shine of your silver more than ever? Just fill a plastic bowl with lime and soda or just use lemon-lime soda. Soak your silverware in the solution.

Let it stay for an hour, take out the silver rinse it thoroughly with water, and dry it with a soft towel. You will get back the shine and the metal will look much lustrous than before.

5. Using Rubbing Alcohol 

This is a simple technique that I have tried on my silver ring. 

You just need to combine 2 parts of alcohol and 5 parts of water in a bowl, dip a clean cloth into the solution and gently rub over the silver. Then wipe it with a dry cloth.

With this method, you can remove tarnish and make it shiny without any risk of harming the silver.

6. Using Aluminum Foil and Vinegar

You can remove tough stains easily using this method. Cover the base of a pot with foil, shiny side up.

Pour 1 cup of vinegar per quart of water, and bring the mix to a boil. Place your silver stuff into the boiling water and soak it for about 10 minutes. Remove silver and rinse it with hot water and wipe it thoroughly with a soft and dry cloth.  

Caution: Do not soak your silver for long in the boiling solution as it can harm the luster of the metal.

Related: Other amazing uses of vinegar for cleaning.

7. Using Baking Soda and Water

Using baking soda and water is one of the most popular tricks to clean tarnish off silver.  You just need to mix baking soda with warm water and make a thick paste. Apply it directly on the tarnished part and rub it with a rag.

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If you are cleaning a delicate silver item you should use a brush and rub the area gently to get all the stains out without damaging it. Just see the magic of baking soda in cleaning.

8. Using Aluminum Foil and Laundry Detergent

Line a medium-size bowl with aluminum foil and fill it with warm water and add 2 tablespoons of laundry detergent and stir it well. I recommend you use liquid laundry detergent for better results. Put your silver into it and let it soak for 5 minutes. Then take it out, wash it with cold water place and place it on a clean towel to dry.

By following these simple steps you can clean your mildly tarnished silver.

9. Cornflour and Water

If your silver jewelry or silverware has lost its shine this trick will help you get back the shine.

Prepare a thick paste of water and cornflour and apply it to the silver. Let this dry and then rub off the dried paste with a soft cloth.

If there is still some tarnish left repeat the process.

Tip: If you don’t have cornflour you can use cream of tartar which has surprising uses.

10. Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda 

Here’s another hack one using aluminum foil! Cover the bottom of a baking pan with aluminum foil with the shiny side up. 

Avoid using metal bakeware to keep away the chemical reactions, use ceramic or glass bakeware instead.

You need to add 2 to 4 teaspoons of baking soda for a gallon of water. Bring it to a boil and put the silver inside for 20 seconds.

Take out the silver and let it cool down and you’ll see all tarnish is gone.

Caution: Do not try this on jewelry with encrusted gemstones.

11. Using Window Cleaning Detergent 

Window cleaners are not only a great way to clean the glass windows but also to clean silver pretty well.

Spray a small amount of cleaner on a rag and start scrubbing your jewelry or silverware—you should use a soft-bristle toothbrush if you are cleaning a delicate piece.

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Be careful while applying it to antiques.

12. Using Chalk For Maintaining Your Silver 

Silver can tarnish because of the moisture in the air. Keeping a few pieces of chalk can help keep your silver shining for a longer period.

As chalk is very absorbent and will keep the moisture away from your silver.

If not chalk you can use small silica gel packs too.

13. Using Hair Conditioner 

No, I’m not joking, hair conditioner adds shine and provides a good texture to your hair and it has the same effect when rubbed on silver.

You need to apply a small amount of conditioner to the silver item, rub it on the metal and wash it thoroughly to get rid of the soap screen.  

It is a simple way to clean small silver items and you can clean them while you are in the shower.

14. Ammonia and Water 

Ammonia and water solution can help you get rid of old and stubborn tarnish on your silver.

Take a medium-size bowl to add 2 parts of ammonia and 3 parts of lukewarm water and soak your silver item for about 15 minutes. Take the silver out of the solution and wipe it with a dry cotton cloth.

Be careful while using this method on your antiques.

15. Using White Distilled Vinegar and Baking Soda :

You may not know that white distilled vinegar is an incredibly versatile cleaning tool.

Put the silver items into a bowl of an appropriate size and fill it with white distilled vinegar and add baking soda to it. The approximate proportions would be 3 teaspoons for 1 cup of vinegar.

Leave it for a minimum of 2 hours. Rinse it with cold water and gently rub them with a soft cloth. The tarnish will be gone and the shine of silver will be restored.

If you found these methods helpful in getting rid of your silver’s tarnish, do share the post!!

Written by Pulkit D

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