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How to clean silver

Silver jewellery & cutlery are precious possessions, so it’s important to keep them clean and shiny! Read on for tips on the best silver cleaning techniques.


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how to clean silver

When you are cleaning the house or taking care of some home organisation, you might well come across some silver – whether it be cutlery, servingware, or jewellery – that could really do with a bit of attention. While silver is beautiful, it tends to tarnish easily, especially when it’s been left untouched for a while. You might be reluctant to attempt to clean your silver because you worry about damaging the surface, but it’s actually very easy to keep it sparkling like new.

Cleaning silver with soft tools is essential as rough cleaning tools can scratch your silver. Use a special silver cleaning cloth or a microfibre cloth to clean your silver and dry it with a soft towel.

Should I Use Commercial Products or a Silver Cleaning Cloth?

Commercial products are excellent at cleaning silver, and they’re well worth using. You can usually buy regular silver polish designed to reduce the risk of tarnishing and maintain shine from your local store, but you might also think about purchasing additional products to make the job easier. One such product should be a silver cleaning cloth, or some good quality cotton balls. It’s best to use something that you know won’t damage your silver items – always test a new product on a small, inconspicuous place first to make sure that no damage is done.

How to Clean Silver With Natural Products?

Natural products are a great way to clean silver. Not only are they effective, they’re also gentle on the surface of the metal – and they’re inexpensive, too. You can also use these with a special silver cleaning cloth. Again, whenever you’re using a new product, remember to test it first, to make sure that it doesn’t damage your silver. Here are some of the best ways you can clean your silver with ingredients you can find around the house:

  • Toothpaste. Some people swear by regular toothpaste for silver cleaning. Use as you would a normal polish, and rinse with warm water afterwards. Be sure to use a gentle, basic toothpaste, though – those containing whitening bleach are too abrasive.

  • Baking soda. Try mixing a small amount of baking soda with a little water – just enough to make a thick paste. Apply the mixture as you would a traditional silver polish, and rinse with warm water afterwards.

  • Salt. Mixed with baking soda and water, salt can be used to create a silver bath. Leave your silver items in the mixture to soak, and you’ll really get excellent results.

Cleaning Silver: What Are the Best Techniques?

Although cleaning silver is simple, some techniques produce a nicer finish. If you’ve never cleaned or polished silver before, here are some useful methods:

  • Use a back and forth motion, in straight lines, when polishing silver with a silver cleaning cloth. Once the entire item has been polished, repeat the action using short and quick strokes to buff the metal.

  • If using baking soda and salt to create a silver bath, line a saucepan with aluminium foil, add your silver items, fill with water, and sprinkle in the dry ingredients. Leave overnight before draining and drying.

  • Always dry silver with a clean, soft towel. A rough towel could easily scratch the metal.

How Can I Keep My Silver Looking Good?

Cleaning silver is one thing, but keeping it looking good in the long term is quite another. Here are some handy hints on how to clean silver goods and maintain their shine:

  • Give your silver lots of use, and polish it regularly. Silver suffers the most when it is left untouched for long periods, so bring it out every so often to use and to freshen up.

  • If you do need to store your silver for long periods, coat items with a small amount of olive oil first. This might help reduce any tarnishing.

  • When washing silver cutlery and servingware, wash it separately from other dishes, and always use a plastic bowl rather than washing directly in a metal basin as this could scratch the surface of the silver.

Originally published