How to Polish Silver

  • Silver is a precious metal that is very popular in jewelry, flatware, and silverware industries. People love it because it is solid, high-quality and reliable.
  • Silver items are stainless. However, when in contact with other materials, such as rubber, cellophane other chemicals – silver tends to blacken. 
  • It’s easy to bring the shimmering back to silverware when you know how to do it. Below there’re 8 simple methods that will instantly teach you how to get the tarnishing off your silver forks or jewelry!

Silver is one of the most popular metals used in jewelry, cutlery, dishes, and similar stuff making. It‘s so loveable because of its quality, long-lasting shimmer and precious look. Although silver itself does not tend to tarnish, some materials and chemicals may accumulate the reaction that turns silver into yellowish-brown and eventually black color. No need to worry! There’s a multitude of easy ways to make silver shiny again.

1. Aluminum foil & hot water combo

What‘s the trick? Together aluminum and boiling water kill most of the deposits.

  • Take an aluminum foil and line the bowl with it. Important: the shiny side must be facing you. 
  • Place the silverware one next to another and fill the bowl with hot water. Important: do not make layers – each item should be in contact with the aluminum foil.
  • After 20-30  minutes take the silverware out and clean it with a dry microfiber cloth.

TIP: If items are heavily tarnished – upgrade this method by adding one generous spoon of salt, the same amount of baking soda, and some white vinegar. You’ll see your silverware getting shiny before your eyes!

2. Toothpaste

Toothpaste is often used in different cleaning processes for its ability to effectively scrub surfaces (like silver). It polishes silverware nicely and doesn‘t scratch it.

  • Apply some toothpaste on the toothbrush. Important: don‘t use the whitening toothpaste!
  • Scrub the silverware gently and thoroughly – as if you were brushing your teeth.
  • Rinse everything off under the warm water and drain with the microfiber cloth.

3. Baking soda

Another well-known natural cleaner sitting in every cupboard. Baking soda cleans almost everything – from oil stains to mold. This magical powder will also clean the tarnishing off your silver items with no trouble!

  • Mix 1-2 spoons of the baking soda with the cup of warm water.
  • Stir the mixture until a creamy texture is reached.
  • Grab a toothbrush or a sponge, apply some soda paste to the silverware and start brushing gently. 
  • Finally, rinse everything off with the clean warm water and drain with a cloth. Simple, right?

4. Table salt

Warning: This cleaning material is considered as a harsh one. Therefore, use this method by following the steps below carefully. Otherwise – you can damage your silverware beyond retrieve!

  • Pour 6-8 spoons of salt into 1 liter of warm (hot) water and drop your silverware into it.
  • Scrab the silverware smoothly using a soft toothbrush or your fingers.
  • Leave everything rest for about 30-60 minutes.
  • Wash the items off with fresh warm water and drain it with a clean microfiber cloth.

5. Washing powder

Again – an abstergent found in any household! Washing powder contains both salt and soda that clear away the stains from silverware.

  • Fill any type of bowl up with warm water.
  • Pour some washing powder and stir until it is dissolved.
  • Put the silverware into the solution and leave it soaking for 1 – 2 hours (depends on the tarnishing there’s on the surface).
  • You already know what to do next – take a dry cloth and gently clean each item.

Any of these five popular methods will definitely help to polish the pattern of your silverware. However, continue reading if you are up for more unusual methods or simply want to try something new!

6. Tomato paste/ketchup

Yes, you read it right. Ketchup not only goes well with the fries but is also a great silver polisher. It’s because of the acid found in its consistency.

  • Squeeze some ketchup or tomato paste on a soft cloth and brush it on the blackened silver surface (if the tarnishing is too heavy – apply ketchup directly on the surface).
  • Keep the items covered in the tomato paste for 20-30 minutes (again – depending on the level of the tarnish).
  • Gently wash everything off with clean warm water and drain with a microfiber cloth. Piece of cake!

7. Sprite, Coca-Cola, Pepsi

Got some leftovers after the house party? Use it wisely! Carbonic acid, carbonate salt and lemon acid found in the carbonated drinks polish such precious metals as gold or silver wonderfully.

  • Pour some lemonade of your choice in a glass/bowl.
  • Simply drop your silverware in it and leave it soaking until the surface becomes shiny and glossy!
  • Afterward, rinse everything with the warm clean water (you don’t want sticky earrings)

(Now that you know it, you might think twice before pouring this type of beverage in your belly)

8. Hair conditioner

If none of the cleaning solutions found in your kitchen worked – time to go to the bathroom! Conditioner not only protects your hair – but it also perfectly brightens the silver surfaces.

  • Squeeze some conditioner onto the toothbrush and gently scrub the silverware.
  • Scrub as long as needed and then simply wash everything off with clean, warm water. That’s it! No further actions.


  • Clean your silver items after each use to keep them shiny for a longer time.
  • Wash the silver stuff separately from other dishes.

Important: do not use rubber gloves! For draining – use the cotton/microfiber cloth. 

  • Never keep the silver items in the cellophane bags. Otherwise, it will start blacken. 
  • No matter how easier it would be – do not wash your silverware in the dishwasher as this will damage its surface beyond repair.

Each of these methods will help to fix your tarnished silverware fairly significantly. However, keep in mind – the more you take care of your items preventively – the less different techniques and time it will require to keep them shiny and glossy:

  1. Wash the silver cutlery using hot water and dish soap only.
  2. Wipe the dust off the silverware at least once a week.
  3. Polish the silver surfaces using a dry cotton piece or a soft toothbrush regularly.

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