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How to Clean Silver
Have you ever found yourself seated at a table of tarnished or dull silverware wondering how to clean the silver? A logn time ago your grandmother may have told you to clean silver you needed to roll up your sleeves and use some elbow grease. Thankfully with modern science on our side silver cleaning is a much mroe pleasant experience. These are some very simple and relatively fast ways to get your silver clean with things you probably already have at home.
Sterling Silver How To Clean All Types
Using these silver cleaning techniques you can clean any kind of silver whether it's jewelry, silverware, household items, or decorations. With that said though, keep in mind that this means that the item is made entirely out of only silver. If the item in question has inset stones, is painted, or has any other material used in unison with the silver, you should research the additional material separately. The cleaning of silver listed here is meant for silver alone.
How to Clean Sterling Silver
This is one of our favorites silver cleaning hacks because most people already has this item at home, and they know exactly where it is. You can either soak the silver in ketchup for 15 minutes before you start buffing out the tarnish, or you can try just using the ketchup immediately. Squeeze out about a teaspoon of ketchup onto a paper towel and start cleaning the silver. You'll be able to tell in a minute or two if you need more ketchup, or if the item needs to soak. Rinse the silver thoroughly afterwards, dry it, and put it away.
This is one of the best ways to clean tarnished silver. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with a liter of boiling water and a decent size of aluminum foil. Put your silver in for 10-15 seconds or longer, and then remove it. Rinse it and set it to the side. If it still has some tarnish then keep buffing it with a silver cloth or soft piece of fabric.
Cornstarch can be used to clean silver at home too, though it requires a little more physical labor. Take a small bowl and mix water with cornstarch until it has a paste quality. You can make more batches/paste as you need it. Soak a cloth with water and then ring it out. Now use the cloth to remove the silver tarnish. Rinse the silver thoroughly once your done. If you're struggling to remove the tarnish, try using a textured piece of cloth that has a higher abrasion.
Use a medium bowl and line it with aluminum foil. If you need to clean many pieces the line more bowls. You don't want the silver so stacked that different spots can't be penetrated. Fill the bowl(s) with hot water. Mix in a tablespoon of laundry detergent and let each bowl soak for one minute. Rinse thoroughly and dry the silver with a soft cloth. Use regular laundry detergent, not super potent formulas(you don't want to waste it after all).
Clean your hands and silver all together with just a few squirts of hand sanitizer. Depending on how much silver you need to clean, use anywhere from 2 - 4 pumps of hand sanitizer to get your silver shining in no time. Rinse it thoroughly once your done and dry it with a soft cloth. Fragrance and fragrance-free hand sanitizer are both fine.
To clean silver with toothpaste, squeeze a generous amount onto a soft cloth and start polishing your silver. There's no need to pre-rinse your pieces. In fact, they should be very dry when you start. After you've polished it with the toothpaste, rinse it very thoroughly and immediately dry it and set it to the side. You don't want to leave the toothpaste on more than it's needed so be sure to rinse as you go. If you can get a helper that's even better. Be sure when drying the sterling silver to also use another soft cloth. You can use the cheapest toothpaste!
Let your silver items sit in a bowl of soda for on hour and watch what happens. You'll want to use a citrus flavor. While lemon and lime mixes are best, you can also try just lemon soda or just lime soda. Be sure to set a timer so that you don't forget that your silver is soaking. Be sure to thoroughly rinse everything after the timer goes off. Then use a silver, or very soft cloth, to dry out the items as much as possible before storing them away.
Not used for cleaning, chalk can be stored with your silver to help prevent silver tarnish. Chalk is a very dry material. That's partially why it wipes away so easily and is so soft. This soft, dry material helps to absorb moisture which is the enemy or your fine silver. Store some chalk in your silver drawer and help keep your best silver shining and bright.
Though not the best for cleaning silver(but it will help), hair conditioner can help prevent tarnishing. We would recommend using one of the other easy silver cleaning recommendations here. Afterwards rub just a little hair conditioner over your silver or silver items, and they'll stay sparking and clean longer!
Natural and easy to make at home, a simple mixture of vinegar and baking soda will clean not just your silver but counters, bathrooms and many other things at home. Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar + 2 TBSP baking soda in a bowl or large container. Place your silver in it and leave it for 2-3 hours. Move pieces around once an hour to amke sure every surface is reached. Rinse with cold water and dry them, then you're done. For larger batches, double the mixture.
Make your sterling silver look good as new with window cleaner. You can use regular types or fragrance ones, it doesn't matter. Spray a gentle cloth generously with window cleaning spray and rub the tarnish right out. Rinse afterwards and set it aside to dry.
Lemon Juice And Salt
Another great and natural silver cleaner you can make at home, it's only downfall is that it requires more time. This method requires at least 24 hours so it's not the fastest way to clean silver, but it is easy. Mix 1/2 cup instant dry milk, 1 1/2 cups water, pinch of salt, and 1 TBSP lemon juice. Put your silver in the mixture and leave it overnight. Move the silver occasionally if you can to make sure every surface is easily reached. Rinse, dry and store it after.
Soap Water And Cloth
This tarnished silver remedy is best saved for only lightly tarnished pieces. Use whatever gentle sop you have at home and mix it with some water. Clean the silver in soap water and rinse it clean(preferably in fresh water). You don't want left over soap to remain on the item at all. Use a silver polish cloth, or just a very soft fabric remnant that you have at home, and dry and polish the silver.
Soak your silver pieces in 1 cup water and 1/2 cup clear ammonia for 10 minutes. Clean the silver with a soft cloth, rinse, and then dry again. While easy to use, ammonia isn't our favorite cleaning recommendation. It works well, but if you're new to using ammonia, you may be surprised at the unpleasant odor of this chemical. It's worth looking at the other silver cleaning suggestions here to see if you can find a more pleasant experience for yourself and those around you.
Purchased Silver Cleaner
There are many reasons why you don't need to purchase silver cleaner. Mostly because you have so many things at home that you can mix, create, and use to clean .925 sterling silver and more. If you're just scared to do it or worried because a piece is very valuable, you can purchase a silver cleaner. Amazon, Walmart and many local convenience stores carry silver cleaner. You can also take it to a specialist to have it cleaned if it's a very valuable piece that you're concerned about damaging.
This method is better for small silver jewelry items. Mix some water and about a cup of cheap vodka in a bowl. Place the items inside and let them soak for 5-7 minutes before rinsing and buffing. Vodka won't clean severe or thick tarnish well enough, so use it when items have just turned slightly. The best part? You can make yourself a drink at the same time.
Yes you can even use beer to remove silver tarnish from jewelry and other items. This a good alternative to the vodka mixture and is slightly stronger. If you have smaller items like silver necklaces, bracelets and rings, beer is a great way to clean silver. No mixing is required here. Pour a beer into a bowl or shallow dish. Line the jewelry inside the dish or pan, and let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Try not to stack pieces so that every surface is cleaned by the beer. Rinse, dry, and wear it!