7 Tricks to Clean Your Silver at Home

· August 7, 2016
To keep silver items from tarnishing and avoid spending a lot of money restoring their original shine, it's best to give them a light cleaning once a month.

There are some types of silver that hardly tarnish at all because they’re made with an electroplating process that leaves a thin layer of rhodium on the surface of the metal. But a lot of people own antique silver, which darkens over time because of dust and other environmental agents. So, it helps to know some tricks to clean your silver at home.

Contrary to popular belief, silver doesn’t rust. What actually happens is that it reacts with hydrogen sulfide in the atmosphere, which is what causes it to tarnish.

Luckily, you don’t have to go out and buy expensive polishes to restore the shine to your silver items. We’re going to show you some simple tricks to remember if you ever need to clean any of your old silver and keep it looking nice.

Tricks to clean your silver at home

1. Saltwater

salt-water

You can use a simple saltwater solution can to clean smaller items like chains and other jewelry.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  • Combine the salt with one cup boiling water and allow your silver items to soak overnight.
  • In the morning, discard the liquid and polish the metal with a dry cloth.

You might like:

10 Cleaning Tips to Make Old Items Look New

2. Baking soda and vinegar

The combination of baking soda and vinegar is one of the most practical cleaning mixtures for all kinds of things around the home.

Its properties remove the tarnish that covers silver items and leaves them clean and shining just like new.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup white vinegar

Directions

  • Slowly pour the baking soda into the vinegar (it will start to fizz).
  • Once the baking soda is completely dissolved, dip the silver in and scrub it with a clean cloth.
  • Finish by polishing it with a clean, dry cloth. Repeat the process if necessary.

3. Toothpaste

toothpaste

This is one of the many alternative uses for toothpaste. It makes a great polish for silver and other metal objects.

Ingredients

  • Toothpaste
  • Hot water
  • Mild soap

Directions

  • Wash the object to be polished in hot water with mild soap.
  • Rub the object with a liberal amount of toothpaste.
  • After polishing for 5 minutes, rinse and dry well with an absorbent cloth.

4. Cream of tartar

Cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) is also excellent for cleaning silver, but it’s not very well known. It can work wonders for removing the tarnish and will leave the metal with an incredible shine.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 liter water

Directions

  • Combine the cream of tartar, salt and water in a saucepan.
  • Mix everything well and set over medium-low heat.
  • Once boiling, add the silver and let it sit in the boiling mixture for 5 minutes.
  • Afterwards, take out the metal and let cool before polishing with a dry cloth.

5. Aluminum foil

aluminum-foil

Using aluminum foil is one of the most popular tricks for removing tarnish and leaving your silver looking clean and brand new.

Ingredients

  • Aluminum foil
  • Hot water
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Directions

  • Take a large sheet of aluminum foil and use it to line the inside of a large boil.
  • Fill the bowl with hot water and add the salt.
  • Submerge your silver items and let them soak for 10 minutes.
  • Dry and polish them with a soft cloth to leave them shining like new.

6. Banana peel

The inside of a banana peel contains substances that help clean metal objects.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana peel

Directions

  • Take a fresh banana peel and use it to polish your silver.
  • You may need to repeat the process several times with a few different banana peels.

7. Lemon

lemon

This citrus fruit has many uses around the home. It’s great for cleaning and restoring silver.

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Cut a lemon in half, dip it in the salt and use it to polish the surface of the metal.
  • Let it work for a few minutes, then rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth.

Read more:

How to Use Lemon and Other Natural Cleaning Products

A few more tips…

Whenever you’re cleaning, it’s really important to protect your hands with gloves and work in a well ventilated area. Some of these methods could release gases could that are harmful to your health if they fill up too much of the air.

To keep your silver from becoming tarnished in the first place, give your items a light cleaning at least once a month.