You don't need a ton of harsh (and stinky) chemicals to get your silver looking gorgeous again. You can make a super easy DIY silver cleaner that actually removes tarnish using a few simple things you already have around the house. So step away from that store-bought polish and get ready to amaze yourself; these tried-and-true methods are guaranteed to change your silver-polishing game.
Easiest DIY Silver Cleaner With Aluminum
Put down the polishing rag and try this simple homemade silver cleaner with aluminum foil. It's a basic recipe that chemically removes the tarnish, and what's great about it is that it takes only a few minutes.
If you have antique silverware or valuable pieces, don't use an aluminum dip. While cleaning silver with aluminum foil is safe for the environment, it can damage the delicate patina of antique silver. A little tarnish gives these pieces more depth and beauty, and the aluminum foil and baking soda method can actually decrease the value of antiques.
- Hot water
- ¼ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup salt
- Aluminum foil
- 9x13 glass pan
- Line the glass pan with aluminum foil.
- Dump the baking soda, salt, and water in the pan and stir until everything is dissolved.
- Open a window for ventilation (we're not dealing with harsh chemicals here, but it's still a smart idea). Put on some rubber gloves too.
- Place the silver items in the aluminum dip and gently swirl the mixture over them.
- When the tarnish is gone, remove the silver from the pan and rinse with clear water. Dry with a soft cloth.
Simple Homemade Silver Polish With Baking Soda
If you've ever looked carefully at store-bought silver polish, you may have noticed it's actually a mild abrasive. Part of how it works is by using tiny particles to gently scrape the tarnish off the silver. Baking soda can work this way too, and it makes a really easy DIY silver polish.
Don't use baking soda polish on anything silver-plated. With silver-plated items, there's actually only a thin layer of silver over another metal. Abrasive polish can remove this layer. If you're not sure whether your item is sterling silver or silver-plated, you can check the silver hallmarks to find out.
- ¾ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup warm water
- Soft cloth
- Mix the baking soda and water together until it resembles a paste.
- Spread a small amount of the baking soda paste on the silver.
- Gently rub the silver with the cloth until the tarnish is removed.
- Wash the silver items in gentle soap and water and dry carefully.
Tips for Using Home Remedies to Clean Silver
Choosing the best home remedy to clean silver depends on your situation. Are you dealing with an antique or heirloom? How bad is the tarnish? These tips can help you figure out which method to use and when to leave your silver restoration to the pros.
- Know what kind of silver you have. Look at the stamps on a piece to see if it says "silver-plated." Don't use anything abrasive if the piece isn't sterling.
- Skip home methods for antiques. Antique silver is delicate, and it can be really valuable. Stick to gentle professional cleaners instead of home methods for heirlooms or special pieces.
- Be gentle. When you rub or polish silver, don't use a lot of pressure. Let the polish do the work for you so you don't scrape the metal.
- Don't use vinegar or acids. Some homemade silver polish recipes include vinegar, but the acid can permanently etch silver. Avoid anything like lemon juice, lime soda, ketchup, or other acidic ingredients.
Store Silver Properly to Minimize Tarnish
Whether you're wearing it or displaying it on your holiday dinner table, silver is one of the loveliest materials. After you get it looking spiffy with your DIY silver cleaner, keep it that way with proper storage. If you can avoid tarnish in the first place, you won't need to spend as much time cleaning your treasures.