How to clean silver

Restore your silverware to its former glory with our advice on cleaning silver as well as how to clean tarnished silver

Want to learn how to clean silver? Silverware is a beautiful addition to any home, however over time it can lose its shine and look a little dull. Cleaning silver in the following way will help to remove the yellow to brown silver sulfide tarnish that naturally builds up as time goes by.

How to clean silver

If your silver is missing its shine, buff it up using a polish specifically designed for silver and a cotton ball or cotton polishing pad to revive its shine. Follow this by rinsing the silver polish off with water and dry with a soft clean cloth.

wooden table with blue chair and silver teapot

(Image credit: TBC)

How to clean tarnished silver

  • If your silver is tarnished with a yellow or brown tinge start the cleaning process by washing it in warm soapy water to remove any grease and dirt, using phosphate-free detergent.
  • Next remove any non-silver attachments and place the silver in a large pot lined with aluminum foil, shiny side up.
  • Mix up a solution of two pints boiling water to a quarter cup of baking soda and two teaspoons of salt, then pour it over the silver.
  • Wait for 10 seconds while the chemical reaction removes the silver sulfide from the silver. If the silver is very tarnished you can keep it in the solution for upto 5 minutes.
  • Remove the silver from the solution using tongs, rinse with cold water and use a soft clean cloth to dry and buff the silver until it is shining.
  • If the silverware has holes in it, thoroughly rinse out the hollows and dry them, as any leftover solution may eventually corrode the silver.
  • You can follow by using a little silver polish and a cotton polishing pad to buff and add extra sparkle to your silver.
  • Cleaning valuable silver and heirlooms

If you have very valuable silver, we recommend consulting an expert to clean your silver to avoid the risk of damaging it with abrasive cleaners.

Care guides for cleaning silver and storing it

  • Never put silver in the dishwasher. The high temperature could warp the silver and other items could scratch it.
  • Use acid-free tissue or paper towels to wrap your silver ready for storage. Never use plastic wrap as it discolours silver.
Millie Hurst
Senior Content Editor

Millie Hurst was Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home from 2020-2022, and is now Section Editor at Homes & Gardens. Before stepping into the world of interiors, she worked as a Senior SEO Editor for News UK in both London and New York. You can usually find her looking up trending terms and finding real-life budget makeovers our readers love. Millie came up with the website's daily dupes article which gives readers ways to curate a stylish home for less.