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How to Clean Silverware With Household Items

Whether you’re hosting a family dinner or just feeling fancy, breaking out the nice silverware service, pitchers or trays can really elevate the mood. However, if you’re like most people, you don’t use your best silver regularly, and tarnish isn’t going to impress anyone.

Need to shine your silver pieces before guests arrive, but don’t have a drop of polish in the house? Learn how to clean silver with items you probably already have at home.

Note: If the silver pieces you need to shine are fragile or very valuable, you should consider having them professionally cleaned rather than using a DIY method.

How to Clean Silverware with Vinegar and Baking Soda

A combination of baking soda and vinegar is great for creating an eruption in a science project volcano. But did you know this dynamic duo can also be used for cleaning silverware, too?

You’ll need:
  • A glass baking dish
  • 1 to 2 cups of boiling water (You need enough to completely submerge your silver.)
  • ½ cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • A microfiber cloth
  1. Line your baking dish with aluminum foil, making sure the shinier side is facing up.
  2. Mix the baking soda and sea salt. Sprinkle this mixture into the dish.
  3. Pour the vinegar into the dish. You’ll start to see fizzing as the baking soda and vinegar react with one another.
  4. Add the boiling water, taking care not to splash or scald yourself.
  5. Now place your silverware along the bottom of the baking dish. You should only have a single layer of silver pieces, with each item touching the aluminum foil.
  6. Let the silver soak. Lightly tarnished pieces will only need to soak for about 30 seconds. Silverware with heavy tarnish may need to sit for up to three minutes.
  7. Remove silverware using tongs so that you don’t burn yourself.
  8. Dry and buff your silver with a microfiber cloth.
  9. Repeat with fresh solution for any additional rounds of silver that need cleaning.

Cleaning Silverware with Toothpaste

Toothpaste isn’t just for polishing those pearly whites. You can also use it to bring the shine back to dull silverware.

You’ll need:

  • Toothpaste (Use the paste, not the gel.)
  • Microfiber cloth
  • A soft toothbrush
  • Warm water
  1. Rub toothpaste onto the tarnished silver using a dry microfiber cloth. Use a light touch so that the toothpaste doesn’t scratch the silver.
  2. Gently clean detailed areas of silverware with a toothbrush instead of the cloth. Don’t scrub or you could damage your silver pieces.
  3. Rinse the silver under warm water until none of the toothpaste remains.
  4. Wipe the items dry with a clean microfiber cloth.

How to Clean Silver with Baking Soda

Baking soda is often lauded for its ability to neutralize odors. You’ll need:
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A bowl
  • Microfiber cloths
  • A soft toothbrush
  1. In the bowl, mix equal three parts baking soda to one part water. Stir until you have a paste.
  2. Dip your microfiber cloth into the paste, and delicately rub the mixture onto your silver pieces. As with the toothpaste, you want to be gentle so you don’t scratch your items.
  3. Use the toothbrush to lightly clean any engraving or fine details. Again, take care not to scrub, so that you don’t damage your silver.
  4. Rinse your silver pieces under running water to remove baking soda residue.
  5. Immediately dry your silverware with a clean microfiber cloth.
While these DIY methods can be used to clean the tarnish from your silver, you may still need to apply some silver polish to make them gleam again.

Looking for more ways to use all-natural products in your daily housekeeping routine? Take a look at some of the many cleaning uses for lemon juice.