If your silver items are starting to look dull or discoloured, you don’t have to bring them into professional cleaners or buy expensive cleaning products.
You can try some DIY methods to clean silver, but it’s worth being careful because you don’t want to damage it.
What should you never use to clean silver?
If you have antique silver, you should avoid using baking soda to clean it as it’s too abrasive. On all silver, you should avoid using cleaning items such as toothpaste.
We’ll tell you why later on in this article!
The good news about cleaning silver at home is that it’s really easy to do with the right ingredients, so read our guide to find out the best DIY ways to clean silver. These are guaranteed to make your favourite jewelry and silverware sparkle.
How To Take Care Of Silver
You can avoid having to deep-clean your silver items.
If you maintain your silver regularly, you will keep it in great condition. All that’s required is a light clean every now and then. You can do this quickly by washing silver items in soapy water.
Simply put a few drops of gentle dishwashing soap in warm water and buff the items with a soft cloth.
When you’re not using your silver pieces, you should store them in a dry, cool place to prevent them from becoming tarnished. Here are some other ways to care for your silver.
- Make sure you dry your silverware after washing it so that you don’t end up with unsightly water marks.
- Don’t display silver items next to heat sources, such as fireplaces. This can cause them to become tarnished, so always ensure that they’re kept at least five feet away from heat.
- Rinse silver bowls and other items you use to store or display food after use, especially if the food is acidic, such as citrus fruits.
- Don’t let your silver items touch each other when they’re stored away. This is because silver is soft and can easily get scratched.
- Keep individual pieces of silver jewelry in their own pouches, and use cotton to create a buffer between silver cutlery or other items.
- When storing silver jewelry, make sure you keep it in an airtight box so that it stays in excellent condition. You can also put some silica gel sachets in the box to absorb moisture and prevent it from harming your silver.
- When it comes to other silver, such as ornaments, put a few pieces of chalk in the same cabinet where you keep the silver. This will serve to absorb moisture as well as any sulfur compounds that occur naturally and which can result in tarnish.
How To Polish Your Silver
You don’t need store-bought polish for your silver items.
You can easily make your own polish.
- If your silver isn’t badly tarnished but looks dull, you can breathe new life into it by mixing a few drops of dish soap with warm water. The same instructions we featured earlier to give silver a quick and easy clean can also be used to polish your jewelry! When you’re done, buff it with a cloth until it’s dry.
- If your silver is tarnished, you’ll need a stronger solution. Mix baking soda and water in a 3:1 ratio to create a paste. Wet the silver and then apply the paste with a soft, clean cloth. Make sure you apply the paste into the silver’s crevices. Afterwards, rinse the item and gently buff it until it’s dry.
How To Clean Silver With Easy DIY Methods
Now that we’ve looked at how to store and polish your precious silver pieces, it’s worth knowing that you can clean your silver really easily. All you need are ingredients you probably already have in the home.
Boil the following ingredients together in a pot: a tablespoon of baking soda, a liter of water, and a piece of aluminum foil.
Drop in your silver and leave it in there for 10 seconds. You can use kitchen tongs to put the items into the pot and to remove them so you don’t burn yourself.
Mix together water and cornstarch, then apply the solution with a damp cloth. Rub it off with a rough towel. Run out of cornstarch? You can use cream of tartar as it will perform just as well.
If you love DIY cleaning tips, you’ve probably reached for your trusty vinegar bottle a few times in the past to clean a variety of items. You can also use vinegar to clean silverware. Line a pan with some foil, then add a tablespoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of salt.
Pour in half a cup of distilled white vinegar. Add two cups of boiling water – make sure you have enough to submerge the silver items. Put the items into the dish and let them soak for up to three minutes if they have a lot of tarnish on them you want to remove.
Clean Water Marks With Lemon
Sometimes you can’t completely prevent water marks from staining your silver. The good news is that you can easily eliminate them with the use of lemon. Dip a microfibre cloth in concentrated lemon juice and then use it to polish your silver pieces.
What About Cleaning Antique Silver?
You have to be really careful when trying to clean your tarnished antique silver.
These pieces are plated in silver, so if you clean them too harshly this can cause the plating to start to flake.
A good tip when cleaning antique silver pieces is to test the DIY method on a small spot on the item, preferably in a place where any flaking won’t be visible before you go ahead and use it on the piece entirely.
If your antique jewelry has diamond or gemstones on it, you should use cotton swabs to clean all the hard-to-reach places. This is also more gentle than using a brush which can cause abrasions.
What To Avoid When Cleaning Your Silver Pieces
At the start of this article, we mentioned some things you should avoid using when cleaning your silver items.
Toothpaste is one of them. While this comes up a lot when the topic turns to give your silver items and jewelry a good clean, and it works well on costume silver jewelry, it’s not worth doing on more valuable silver items.
This is because it doesn’t really work, as this experiment found. In addition to that, using toothpaste and a brush, such as an old toothbrush, to clean hard-to-reach places scratches the silver.
Another silver cleaning method that you should avoid trying is coca-cola. Although this is said to be useful for cleaning silver and other metals, soaking silver in coca-cola is said to do a minimal job at making it sparkle again, so it’s a waste of time.
Onecklace also reviewed other methods, such as window cleaner and ketchup, the latter of which is regularly mentioned as a great silver cleaner.
So, how did they fare?
Window cleaner gave the silver a beautiful shine, but it didn’t do anything to clean silver, so it’s more useful to use it on silver if you’ve already cleaned it and just want it to shine.
As for ketchup, it was found not to do much in terms of cleaning the silver. What also makes it worth giving a skip is that it smells bad and can be really messy to use.
How often should you polish silver?
You should only polish your silver items about once a year, but if they’re looking particularly tarnished then a quick DIY polish can help.
Does wearing silver jewelry make it become tarnished?
While you might think you have to avoid wearing silver jewelry out of fear of it becoming tarnished, the truth is that friction actually helps to reduce the rate of tarnishing. So, the more you wear it the better and shinier it will look!
Silver is beautiful so it’s only natural that you want to wear your stunning silver jewelry or display your beautiful items around the home.
There’s nothing worse than silver that looks old and tarnished, though.
Luckily, there are ways to keep your silver in good nick. In this article, we’ve looked at how to take care of, and clean, your favourite silver pieces so they look brand new. We’ve also looked at how you can prevent deep-cleaning your silver items by storing them properly.