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From your most beloved pieces of silver jewelry to that stunning set of flatware you only break out at the holidays, silver is one of the most practical and sophisticated metals for a range of occasions. Its timeless look makes it a favorite among trend-seekers and traditionalists alike.
However, like many fine metals, silver can fall prey to a variety of environmental assailants. Dust, dirt, and exposure to the elements can dramatically affect the color and clarity of silver, causing it to tarnish, which is why knowing how to clean silver is so essential. Whether you’re refreshing your jewelry drawer or planning your next dinner party, this is our easy, eco-friendly guide to cleaning silver using household ingredients you likely already own such as laundry detergent or toothpaste.
Baking Soda and Water
You may already be familiar with the magical versatility of baking soda, but now you can add cleaning silver to the list of its talents. Simply mix baking soda with a bit of water to a paste-like consistency, and then rub it over the surface of the silver. After buffing the surface with the paste, rinse the silver to fully remove any residual baking soda. Finally, gently blot it dry with a clean cloth.
This is the perfect fix for smudges, mild spotting, and tarnish. Mix four parts water with one part rubbing alcohol, dampen a clean cloth, and gently buff the silver. Then, use a soft, dry cloth to wipe it clean.
Believe it or not, toothpaste has every element required for cleaning silver to perfection. Organic toothpaste works brilliantly, and it plays best with a soft cloth-like microfiber or flannel. Simply dab a bit of toothpaste onto the cloth and then gently rub the surface of the silver. Rinse the silver with warm water, and then use a separate clean cloth to pat it dry.
Try vinegar to clean your silver. Much like baking soda, vinegar is famously versatile and effective as a cleaning solution.
Vinegar and Aluminum
For this method, simply line a glass or iron pan with aluminum foil (make sure the shiny side is facing upward), and then pour in a mix of one part vinegar with four parts water. Bring the mixture to a boil, drop in the silver, and let it rest for about five minutes. Remove the silver, rinse it with warm water, and then wipe it dry with a clean cloth.
Similarly, powdered laundry detergent can be used to clean your silver. Try lining a bowl with aluminum foil and filling it with hot water. Next, mix in one tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent. Let your silver sit in this mixture for around one minute, rinse it with water, and then let it air dry. It should come out spot-free!