How to Clean Silver at Home

Summer is here and you’re excited to wear your gorgeous silver jewelry or to use your fancy silverware for a dinner party. After bearing through the winter months, is your silver looking sad? Does your favorite pair of earrings or silver dishes look tarnished and gray? Instead of running to the jeweler or paying big bucks for silver polishing products that don’t always work, there are easier ways to have your silver look as beautiful as it once has. With this guide you can learn how to clean silver at home by using four strange but effective methods.

Method 1: Banana Peels

Banana peels

Bananas are the perfect snack and are full of nutrients, but the peels are also great for removing tarnish from silver. No one's sure who was the first to discover this strange silver cleaning trick, but either way it does the job. This method is ideal for your smaller silver pieces but won’t work as well on heavily tarnished larger pieces like dishware.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2-3 Bananas
  • Water
  • A blender
  • A rag or paper towel to polish silver

Step 1: Blend Your Banana Peels

After peeling your bananas, toss their peels into the blender with a splash of water to make a banana polishing paste. It should look brown in color- it won’t look pretty but your silver will! 

Step 2: Apply

With your rag, work your banana paste around your tarnished silver. Make sure to get in all cracks and edges of your piece(s). 

Step 3: Wash

Rinse your silver in water to get all of the banana paste off. Pat dry with a clean cloth and now your silver should look shiny and clean!

Method 2: Toothpaste

Using toothpaste to clean silver

Because toothpaste contains hydrated silica, it’s the perfect abrasive surface stain remover. You can try this method on both small and large pieces of silver, even if they’re heavily tarnished.

What You’ll Need:

  • Toothpaste
  • Water
  • A rag or paper towel

Step 1: Apply

You can use any brand or flavor of toothpaste for this method, though it is best to use tartar control toothpaste because it contains the most hydrated silica. Squeeze toothpaste onto your finger for smaller pieces or directly onto your larger silver items.

Step 2: Work It In

Rub the toothpaste all over your silver and make sure to get into the dark cracks and most tarnished areas. With smaller pieces like jewelry, you can rub it in with your fingers. For larger silver items, use your rag or paper towel to massage the toothpaste in while scrubbing off every dark spot.

Step 3: Rinse

Rinse your silver with water to remove all of the toothpaste and pat dry. Voila! Your silver will be looking brand new without the use of strong chemicals.

Method 3: Ketchup

Using Ketchup to Clean Jewelry

The natural acid found in tomatoes can help get tarnish off of your smaller silver pieces. Ketchup isn’t the strongest tarnish remover, so it won’t work well on the big stuff but it’s perfect for cleaning pieces of jewelry like earrings or rings.

What You’ll Need:

  • Ketchup
  • A small bowl
  • Toothbrush (optional)
  • A rag or paper towel
  • Water 

Step 1: Prep

Simply pour ketchup into a small dish.

Step 2: Submerge

Place your small silver items into the dish of ketchup. Let them sit for five to ten minutes, allowing the tomato acids to do the work. If your silver has a more detailed surface with a design or crevices, use an old toothbrush to get the ketchup into every crack.

Step 3: Remove and Rinse

Remove the silver from the ketchup and rinse with water. Using a rag or paper towel, buff your piece(s) dry to reveal clean silver!

Method 4: Baking Soda and Aluminum Foil

Using Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda to Clean Silver

This final method has a lot of components but has been proven to completely remove dark marks and tarnish from all kinds silver. Make sure to only try this method on real silver and not costume jewelry because it uses strong ingredients that can ruin fake silver.

What You’ll Need:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Glass dish or ceramic bowl (big enough for your silver items)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • ½ cup of white vinegar
  • A rag or paper towel for polishing
  • Tongs to remove silver from

Step 1: Prep It Out

First, heat one cup of water in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. As the water heats up, line the bottom and sides of your bowl with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Then, add your salt and baking soda to the bowl. Slowly add the white vinegar. The mixture will fizz a little so pour carefully. Now, stir the mixture to have all of the ingredients dissolve so your silver pieces won't be scratched. 

Step 2: Add Water and Silver

Add the boiling water to your baking soda/vinegar/salt mixture and then gently place each piece of silver into the bowl. Let your silver sit as the chemicals react to remove all tarnish. Flip your silver over using tongs to make sure that all sides get exposure to the tinfoil. 

Step 3: Remove and Buff

Using your tongs, carefully take each piece of silver out of the bowl, being sure to not burn yourself. Then, using a rag or paper towel, gently buff your items to see tarnish come right off. Now, your silver products should be back to looking as glorious as the day they were made!

No matter the size or how much tarnish is coating your silver items, this guide has the perfect method for you. Follow these directions to spruce up any of your silver to have them looking as clean and shiny as ever!

Clean silver

 

 

Images: chemistry.about.com, 123rf.com, wikihow, huffington post, ahs.com, furnishburnish.com.

Sources: wikihow, apartment therapy, snap guide, cleanmyspace.com.