How To Clean And Save Your Silver from Tarnish Using Everyday Home Items

Most of our beautiful heirloom-quality pieces such as vases, serving platters, cutlery, and candlesticks are made of silver. This lustrous metal adds shine, beauty and class to our homes but can easily be tarnished as time passes. This is why learning how to clean our silver and preserve it is important. This article is aimed at giving you short tips on ways of cleaning your silver using readily available ingredients from your pantry. Read on to find out more!

By Cookist
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Exposure to light and air can make silver appear dull or tarnished, therefore the need for periodical upkeep cannot be overemphasized.

The good news is that cleaning silver doesn't have to be tedious or take hours. Routine care, preventative maintenance, a simple silver cleaning method, and a little polishing will help keep your silver pieces shining for years to come.  A few pantry ingredients and household items, such as salt and baking soda, soap, cotton balls and aluminum foil can help you remove tarnish from your silver items.

Consider the following easy tips for the best way to clean, polish, and care for silver:

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  1. Wash in soapy water. Gently wash your silver pieces in a mix of a few drops of mild dishwashing soap and warm water; then rinse and dry with a soft cloth.
  2. Store silver in a cool, dry place to prevent excess tarnish.
  3. Use a combination of aluminum foil, baking soda, and salt to clean both small and large silver pieces. Line a pot with aluminum foil making sure the entire surface is covered.  Fill the pan with hot water, add a quarter cup baking soda and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and stir till you see bubbles form. Carefully place silver pieces into the mixture and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Remove, dry and enjoy your shinier and cleaner silver items. If big silver items are involved, substitute the pot with your sink and extend the soaking time to about 30 minutes.
  4. Clean silver with Vinegar. As in step 3 above, add ½ cup of distilled white vinegar into the mixture of warm water, aluminum foil, kosher salt and baking soda. Wait for the bubbles then soak lightly tarnished pieces for about 5 minutes and 30 minutes for more heavily tarnished pieces. Remove items with tongs, dry, and buff.
  5. Polish silver with Ketchup. This condiment can be used as a paste to polish tarnished metals including brass and silver.
  6. Remove water spots from silver with Lemon Juice. Dipp a microfiber cloth in a bit of concentrated lemon juice and polish the silver item.
  7. Use Toothpaste. Dilute toothpaste with a little water, polish the silver with a soft cloth, and rinse. This method is not suitable for silver-plated items, such as silver necklaces, rings, and other jewelry as it can corrode the finish.
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Apart from the natural and home remedy silver cleaning methods highlighted above, many commercial silver polish products are available online and in stores. However, make sure that you read the instructions before use and follow all instructions carefully.

On a final note, you may want to consult with an antique dealer, jeweler, or professional restoration company before attempting to clean your antique silver or pieces with a high value.

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