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How to Clean Tarnished Silver

How to Clean Tarnished Silver

Cleaning and polishing your silver may not be at the top of your "most favorite things to do" list, but it's important—and who doesn't love their silver items to shine like the day you first brought them home?

At-home remedies for cleaning silver

Aluminum foil

When it comes to keeping your silver bright and tarnish-free, using aluminum foil is a sure bet. Bring a pot of water (about 4 1/2 cups) containing 1 tablespoon of baking soda and a piece of aluminum foil to a boil. Drop your silver in the pot for about 10 seconds (add a few more seconds for especially tarnished silver), then remove it using kitchen tongs. If you find that any tarnish buildup remains, you can make a baking soda mixture (1/4 cup baking soda and 2 tablespoons water) and rub it on the silver with a damp cloth or sponge. Rinse it off and let it dry. It’s super simple and it works like a charm.


Did you know that ketchup serves a purpose outside of making your French fries even more delicious? It’s also an incredibly effective silver polisher, especially for your more tarnished pieces. To use it for polishing silver, squirt a small amount onto a paper towel. Carefully rub the ketchup along each tarnished spot on your silver. If the spot is particularly stubborn, let the ketchup sit for 15 minutes, then wipe it off and rinse. 

An array of tarnished utensils


Honestly, is there anything vinegar can’t do? To keep your silver looking lustrous, soak it in 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of baking soda for 1–2 hours. Rinse in cold water and let dry.

Powdered laundry detergent

This cleaning method is similar to the aluminum foil method. To use powdered laundry detergent to clean your tarnished silver, grab a medium- to large-sized bowl and line it with aluminum foil. Fill it with hot water and mix in 1 tablespoon of detergent. Soak your silver for 1 minute, then rinse under cold water and let dry. 

While returning shine to your silver is fabulous, when it comes to disinfecting it, nothing is more effective than the HomeSoap. It’s big enough to fit your silverware, jewelry, and more and gets rid of 99.99% of germs*—all with the push of a button.

Tarnished forks

Can you use toothpaste to clean silver?

This question is a common one since it’s something all of us have around the house—and the answer is yes! However, here’s the caveat: You have to use a non-gel, non-abrasive toothpaste. So before you go squirting all your toothpaste on your silver, make sure it fits that description. To use toothpaste to clean your silver, apply a tiny bit onto a soft cloth and rub it on the silver in circular motions, paying particular attention attention to any tarnished spots. Let it sit for 5 minutes before washing it off under cold water. 

What tricks do you swear by for cleaning silver? Drop them in the comments down below.

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*HomeSoap has been tested by an independent, third-party laboratory to be 99.9% effective against Salmonella, E. coli, MRSA, Staphylococcus, Coronavirus 229Ein. It has been tested on headphones, jewelry and baby bottles. HomeSoap has also been tested to be 99.9% effective against salmonella using ASTM 3535 for efficacy of UV light on hard non-porous surfaces such as glass, metals, and plastics.

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