Does Anyone Know How to Clean Silver at Home Anymore?

how to clean silver at home

Most of us have at least one silver item that may start to look pretty dirty over time. That’s because items made from silver are bound to tarnish with time. Whether it be a new treasure you purchased at an antique market or your favorite piece of jewelry, you’re going to need to know how to clean silver at home. Because no matter how well you care for your grandmother’s serving platter or your silver necklace, silver needs to be polished regularly. 

But most people aren’t educated on how to clean silver at home. It can feel like a daunting task, and no one wants to ruin items that are so special. The good news is that cleaning silver at home can be done relatively easily. And depending on your preference, you can use special silver cleaning products, or, most of the time, you can use everyday cleaning items in your home. 

It’s important to keep in mind that each piece of silver is different–some are older antiques, while others are going to have varying amounts of tarnish. With that in mind, you’ll need to assess the piece you are trying to clean in order to decide on the best method for cleaning your particular piece.

how to clean silver at home

How Do You Clean Silver So It Doesn't Tarnish?

Silver tarnishes because it is exposed to light and sulfur in the air; it’s a chemical reaction that creates that dirty, dull look on your silver pieces. That’s why it’s important to know how to clean and polish your silver correctly–you should never just throw your silver in the dishwasher. 

Cleaning silver isn’t hard, but it does require a specific type of cleaning. The key to cleaning silver without damaging it is to avoid abrasive cleaning as much as possible. No matter how many times you clean your silver, it will eventually have some tarnish on it over time. However, polishing your silver, while necessary, is an abrasive process, so a good rule of thumb is to clean your silver only two to six times a year. 

How to Clean Sterling Silver

First, consider the nature of the object you are wanting to clean. If you have any concerns about precious jewelry or other valuable items, you can always bring the item to a professional.

But there are many options you can try from home! Today there are many products you can purchase in stores to help clean your silver easily. One of the easiest is silver cleaning wipes. However, if you’re dealing with antique silver, it is best to use items from your kitchen rather than a store-bought polish.

If you use a silver cleaner from the store, simply put a small amount of the polish on a clean, microfiber cloth and make sure not to rub in circles (you want to use the least abrasive strokes). Once you have rubbed the polish over the item, rinse it in warm water and buff it with a clean cloth. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the product label.

What Is the Best Home Remedy to Clean Silver?

There are many DIY ways to clean your silver at home. Here are a few good options, but always check the specifics of your item before trying any of the options below.

  • Dish Soap: If you have silver that is dull, but not completely discolored, mix a few drops of mild dish soap and warm water. Then dip a soft cloth in the mix and rub the cloth over your silver where it is dull. Rinse with cold water and buff with a microfiber cloth or a cloth specifically made for silver.
  • Baking Soda & Water: If your silver is heavily tarnished, this is a better option. Mix one part water with three parts baking soda. Wet your silver and apply the baking soda paste with a lint-free cloth (do not use paper towels). Your cloth should get gray as it removes the tarnish. Rinse your silver and buff dry with a microfiber cloth.
  • Cornstarch: This is similar to baking soda. You create a paste by adding one part cornstarch with two parts water. Rub the paste around the silver making sure to apply the least amount of abrasion possible. This time, let the paste dry completely, around 15 minutes. Use a wet cloth to rub off the paste, then with a dry microfiber cloth, buff the surface to polish the silver.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Many of us may have some extra hand sanitizer hanging around the house. Luckily, you can use this to clean your silver! It is a great product for removing tarnish from silver. Just like the other items listed, simply put some sanitizer on a microfiber cloth and begin rubbing it on your piece to get rid of the dirt and tarnish. As you scrub, your item will begin to shine! 
  • Lemon Juice: For leftover water spots on your silver cutlery, jewelry, vases, or serving trays, lemon juice is a great natural cleaner. Again, using a microfiber cloth, dip the cloth into concentrated lemon juice and polish your silver–again this works especially well on any water spots left behind.

Cleaning your silver doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Simply learning a few steps and gently cleaning when you polish will keep your silver in great shape for years to come. 

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