How to Clean Tarnished Silver

If you ever find yourself wondering why it’s so important to keep your silverware (or any silver item you might own) shiny and clear, just remember this: Derek Zoolander never would have become a modeling sensation if he hadn’t caught sight of himself in a shiny spoon and thought, “Wow, you’re ridiculously good-looking. Maybe you could do that for a career.”  

Because c’mon, do you think that would’ve happened if he’d been gazing into a tarnished spoon? Probably not, and our lives would never be the same. So thank you, polished silverware — we are in your debt.

Okay, so maybe Zoolander is fictional, but the need to polish silver is 100% real — and we’ve got some great tips on how to do it.

At-Home Remedies for Cleaning Silver

Aluminum Foil

When it comes to keeping your silver bright and tarnish-free, using aluminum foil is a sure bet. Bring a pot of water (about 4.5 cups) containing 1 tablespoon of baking soda and a piece of aluminum foil to a boil. Drop your silver in the pot for about 10 seconds (add a few more seconds for especially tarnished silver), then remove it using kitchen tongs. If you find that any tarnish buildup remains, you can make a baking soda mixture (1/4 cup baking soda and 2 tablespoons water) and rub it on the silver with a damp cloth or sponge, then rinse it off and let it dry. It’s super simple and it works like a charm!


Did you know that ketchup serves a purpose outside of making your French fries even more delicious? (BRB, gotta wipe the drool off of my chin.) It’s also an incredibly effective silver polisher, especially for your more tarnished pieces. To use it for polishing silver, simply squirt a small amount onto a paper towel. Carefully rub the ketchup along each tarnished spot on your silver. If the spot is particularly stubborn, let the ketchup sit for 15 minutes, then wipe it off and rinse it. As the old saying goes, easy peasy ketchup squeezy…or something like that. 

An array of tarnished utensils


Honestly, is there anything vinegar can’t do? (Besides, you know, hold me when I’m lonely? JK. Kind of.) To keep your silver looking lustrous, just soak it in 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of baking soda for 1–2 hours. Afterward, rinse it in cold water and let it dry.

Powdered Laundry Detergent

This cleaning method is very similar to the aluminum foil method mentioned before. To use powdered laundry detergent to clean your tarnished silver, grab a medium- to large-sized bowl and line it with aluminum foil. Next, fill it with hot water and mix in 1 tablespoon of the detergent. Soak your silver for 1 minute, then rinse it under cold water and let it dry. 

And while returning shine to your silver is fabulous, when it comes to sanitizing it, nothing is more effective than the HomeSoap. It’s big enough to fit your silverware, jewelry, etc., and it gets rid of 99.9% of germs — all at just the push of a button!

Tarnished forks

Can You Use Toothpaste to Clean Silver?

This question is a common one since it’s something all of us (we hope...*insert prayer emoji here*) have around the house — and the answer is yes! You absolutely can use toothpaste. However, here’s the caveat: you have to use a non-gel, non-abrasive toothpaste — so before you go squirting all your toothpaste on your silver, make sure it fits that description. To use toothpaste to clean your silver, just apply a tiny bit onto a soft cloth and rub it on the silver in circular motions (paying special attention to any tarnished spots). Let it sit for 5 minutes before washing it off under cold water. 

What tricks do you swear by for cleaning silver? Drop them in the comments down below!


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